Dallas Cowboys: Brandon Weeden Remains Best Option


There is no denying that the Dallas Cowboys offense has been lackluster during the first two preseason games. While fans do not seem to be overly worried about the preseason futility, a debate has arisen concerning the play of the Cowboys backup quarterbacks.

Behind starting quarterback Tony Romo, a competition has developed (at least in the minds of the fans and the media) to see who will be the second quarterback on the Dallas roster. While many are debating whether second-year signal caller Dustin Vaughan or rookie Jameill Showers should be the number two quarterback, the simple truth is that veteran Brandon Weeden remains the Cowboys best option if Romo goes down.

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Admittedly, Weeden has been uninspiring this preseason. He has completed only six of ten passes for 49 yards while leading the offense to no scores.

Even more concerning to most observers is the growing impression that Weeden has lost his competitive edge. After leaving the second preseason game with a concussion, Weeden did not respond like a Roman gladiator.

"Weeden told ESPN.com, “If you’re ankle’s hurt, yeah, I’m fine throw some tape on it. But you have a headache? Yes? All right, you want to be smart. I’m 31 years old and I don’t want to be 50 and not be able to know my kids’ names. To me that’s a lot more important than trying to play it out for one more series in a preseason game. It’s not worth it. Super Bowl? Little different deal.”"

What the 4th year veteran from Oklahoma State said is logical and reasonable but fans don’t want to hear logic and reason from anyone on the team other than head coach Jason Garrett. They also don’t want to see the backup quarterback make plays like Weeden did in the first preseason game, seen in the video below.

Even in games that don’t matter, Weeden’s lack of effort on this play was not acceptable. These are not the actions of a leader, a role Weeden might have to assume at any moment during the season.

Yet, despite the perception of Weeden’s complacency, he remains the best option the Cowboys have if Tony Romo were to go down.

If Dallas loses Romo for an extended period of time, 2015 will be lost regardless of who replaces him under center. There is no Tom Brady ready to ride to the rescue of the Dallas Cowboys.

But if a backup is need for a game or two, ask yourself who gives the team the best chance to be competitive: Weeden who has played in 28 career games or one of the combination of Vaughan or Showers, neither of whom has ever appeared in an NFL game.

Weeden has been a disappointment as a former first round pick but he is a mediocre NFL quarterback, which is all a team can expect of its backup. Compare Weeden’s career stats with those of other NFL backups and you will find that almost no team in the NFL has a backup capable of leading his team to a championship.

The Cowboys backup has a career 72.5 passer rating. In three years he has thrown for 5,419 yards, 26 touchdowns and 28 interceptions.

The Cowboys primary rivals for the NFC East title, the Philadelphia Eagles have 7th year pro Mark Sanchez at backup quarterback. His career passer rating is 74.1 and his completion percentage in the NFL is 56.3% compared to Weeden’s 56.0%.

Meanwhile, compare the Cowboys situation at backup quarterback to that of their week one opponent, the New York Giants. They must chose between fourth year pro Curtis Painter (51.6 completion percentage in 14 career games) or second year signal caller Ryan Nassib who has thrown a grand total of five passes as a professional.

Many have a higher perception of Washington Redskins backup quarterback, Kirk Cousins than his stats warrant. In 14 career games, his passer rating is 77.5 and he’s thrown 18 touchdowns to 19 interceptions.

If the Seattle Seahawks have to turn to backup quarterback Tarvaris Jackson or the Green Bay Packers must play Scott Tolzien under center, will they be in better shape than Dallas would be with Weeden? The fact is that backup quarterbacks do not win championships.

If any contender loses its quarterback for more than a few games, that team will cease being a contender. It is no different in Dallas.

And while Weeden has been awful this preseason, remember that he has been playing with second and third team players, many of whom will not be on the final roster. Put Weeden behind the starting offense and give him weapons like tight end Jason Witten and wide receiver Dez Bryant and he is capable of being serviceable and winning a game or two in a pinch.

Do not be fooled by Vaughn or Showers’ decent performances against sub par competition. If a quarterback other than Romo must face real game action for Dallas, Brandon Weeden is as good of an option as almost any team in the NFL has.

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