One of the questions that do not have to be answered this offseason by the Dallas Cowboys is who will be their starting quarterback. After one of his best seasons as a professional, quarterback Tony Romo is cemented as the Cowboys’ starter for the foreseeable future.
And for the first time in a long time, no one seems to be questioning whether the Cowboys’ will be looking to find Romo’s eventual replacement in the upcoming draft. In fact, it’s quite to opposite at the NFL Scouting Combine this week.
"“Obviously, we feel really good about Tony. He had an outstanding year for us last year,” Garrett told ESPNDallas.com on Thursday. “Brandon (Weeden) did a really nice job in his opportunities. If you look at what he did — he played in (four) games, (three) he came in relief for us and the one game he started we didn’t play our best game on offense. But it was against a really good defensive team in Arizona. We still feel like he’s a young player who needs to play more. He’s really growing before our eyes.”"
Now, this could simply be lip service by Garrett, who is supporting his player. But for my money, Weeden was a bust as the primary back-up last season. Even Garrett referenced that the 31-year old quarterback is still a developmental player. At 31? Really?
Weeden was brought to Dallas to be the third-string quarterback behind Romo and former primary back-up Kyle Orton. But Orton’s unfortunate exodus from Dallas prior to training camp last season forced the Cowboys’ to place the former first round bust for the Cleveland Browns in the back-up role prematurely.
In the above referenced game against the Cardinals, Weeden completed just 18 of his 33 passes for two interceptions and one garbage time touchdown to wide recevier Dez Bryant. His completion percentage of 54.5% was very reminiscent of his time in Cleveland.
Regardless of how you feel about Weeden, Garrett also had some great things to say about last year’s rookie quarterback, Vaughan. And this is where things could potentially get really exciting in Dallas upon Romo’s exit…whenever that will be.
"“We like what Dustin Vaughan did in the preseason. He is a smart kid. He is really conscientious. He wants to be a good football player and works very hard at it. He’s one of those guys, too, a young player and you can see him get better with every rep that he gets. He is going about it the right way. We think he’s got a future.”"
Undrafted out of West Texas A&M, the Cowboys signed Vaughan after a spectacular senior season where he set the NCAA Division II record for passing yards (5,401) on top of throwing a massive 53 touchdown passes. Although he played at a small school, and in a pistol/shotgun offense, Vaughan’s size (6-5, 235 lbs) and accurate arm make him an intriguing prospect.
And the fact the Cowboys opted to reserve an active roster spot for him last season, instead of exposing him to other NFL teams via the practice squad, says a lot about the potential Dallas thinks he has moving forward. The development of Vaughan is something all Cowboys fans should be watching very closely this year. Especially if he’s able to bypass Weeden as Romo’s primary back-up.