The Cowboys must make three major changes now
Jun 17, 2014; Eden Prairie, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer speaks with quarterback Matt Cassel (16) during practice at Winter Park. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports
Change Number One: Quarterback
Nobody is saying quarterback Matt Cassel is in the vicinity of Tony Romo. But Cassel is not, I repeat, not Brandon Weeden.
If you take away all those check downs and swing passes, Weeden’s numbers dwindle quite a bit. This is where Cassel steps in.
The 33-year old will re-engineer Dallas’ metabolism. He will move the ball. He will throw to the left side. He will find the receivers, thread the needle, and hit his target. In other words, he will do what Weeden cannot.
Cassel will walk into Week 7 with experience. He has played in 92 games, dating back to 2005. He has passed nearly 2500 balls. He needs only 273 passing yards to hit the 16,000 mark. He has 34 wins as a starter. He has 96 touchdowns to 70 interceptions, with a career quarterback rating of 80.1.
The final verdict: Cassel in, and Weeden is out. The only thing Weeden will be doing from here on out is holding a clipboard, or practicing check downs — on the sidelines.
Change Number Two: Running Back
That little six-yard run by Christine Michael against the Patriots was something. After he dashed for the first down, Michael got up and extended his arms while staring the sidelines down, as if to say, “Hey guys, guess what, I’m pretty good.”
What I didn’t realize until later was that he was facing the Dallas sideline. Nice.
And Michael, we hear you.
Look, this running back by committee experiment isn’t working. The Cowboys might fancy the work from three backs, but I’m afraid we can’t piece meal the running game and call it a good days worth of work.
It’s not working.
For one, the offensive line is struggling. Asking them to cater their protection to different running back styles is complicating things. One guy hits the hole this way, the other guy this way.
The way to add up the extra yardage, particularly in the fourth period, is to hand the load to one back. And that running back needs to be Christine Michael — not Joseph Randle or Darren McFadden.
In five games, Randle has 289 rushing yards on 74 carries, with four scores. He is averaging 3.9 yards per carry. He has not had a 100 yard game. I don’t care what anyone says, that’s got to play with a running back’s head (read: confidence).
Michael, who played college ball at Texas A&M, has 259 rushing yards in 16 games played. His average yards per carry sits at 4.8.
Michael is a change-up, a wake-up call. The 24-year old back is hungry and fresh. The former second rounder wants a shot, and he wants it on his native Texas soil (born in Beaumont, TX).
The Cowboys didn’t draft a single running back in last year’s draft. Maybe Michael makes up for it.
Next: Cowboys Major Changes #3 & Final Thoughts