Dallas Cowboys

Weeden needs help to keep Cowboys’ season alive

Cowboys quarterback Brandon Weeden must try to manage things and keep the keep together in Tony Romo’s absence.
Cowboys quarterback Brandon Weeden must try to manage things and keep the keep together in Tony Romo’s absence. Star-Telegram

The Pope himself is scheduled to arrive in Philadelphia this week, so it might be good if Jerry Jones kept Tony Romo here a few extra days and arranged a meet and greet with the man himself.

And after the Pope is done blessing Tony’s busted left clavicle, he can squeeze in an extra papal session with Brandon Weeden, too.

The backup quarterback for your Dallas Cowboys is going to need all of the help he can find, up to and including extra time with someone that has the Batphone to The Almighty.

The NFL is a quarterback’s league, and it has been repeatedly proven that Weeden is, at best, an average NFL quarterback.

As Captain of the S.S. Optimism, the best the Cowboys can be without Romo is .500, and that will be a smashing success.

The Cowboys are 2-0 after Sunday’s neutering of the Eagles, 20-10, but this Super Bowl, or NFC title game, season now rests on a guy that the Cleveland Browns no longer wanted.

The latest version of the Dallas Cowboys’ Triplets is Brandon Weeden-Joseph Randle-Jason Witten; no word if that T-shirt is going to make it to the Cowboys Pro Shop by next week’s game against the Atlanta Falcons.

If somehow this team is two games over .500 or just a game over .500 whenever Romo does return, Weeden will have done his job. The NFC East is so bad that will be enough.

The Star-Telegram beat writers discuss the Cowboys' costly win in Philly.

Everybody in the Cowboys’ locker room knows the score — Just get through this.

“I’m excited for this opportunity but I hate it for Tony,” Weeden said after the game. “I told him I’m going to need his help and I’m going to need his input.”

What he really needs is Dez Bryant, but that’s not happening any time soon as his busted foot will require anywhere between three more weeks to three more years, depending on the latest rumor you choose to believe.

The defense and the offensive line will have to carry a quarterback who has demonstrated he is a younger version of Brad “Check Down” Johnson, only with an arm that is not officially dead.

Without Dez, the hope for Weeden is that he’s Mr. Third And Manageable. He will have to make about eight to 11 real throws per game to keep a defense honest. If he can’t ...

You can bag on the Cowboys and Jerry Jones for not trying to draft and develop a capable backup quarterback behind their bad-backed, big money QB, but no team has a good No. 2. The only way these situations work is if everybody else does a little bit more, and the backup can drive the bus without shooting the tires, blowing up the engine and running it into the Trinity River.

“Everybody just has to step up,” Cowboys tight end Jason Witten said. “Nobody has to do more than he’s asked; they just have to step up.”

The offensive line is good enough to dominate, and this defense may be good enough to pull this off. But Terrance Williams has to create space, and the running game has to be more than 3.5 yards and a cloud of underwhelming.

Against the Eagles, Weeden looked about as good as Weeden can look; he was 7-for-7 passing for 73 yards, including a nice 42-yard slant pass to Terrance Williams in the fourth quarter to bury the game.

It was similar to how Weeden played last season when Romo injured his back in an overtime loss against the Washington Redskins — he was pretty good.

It was what he did the following week in his lone start against the Arizona Cardinals that should have you reaching for the extra strength bourbon. He played like a guy the Cleveland Browns dumped, even with DeMarco Murray (remember him?) and with Dez.

He’s a backup for a reason.

What does Weeden do well?

He’s not hurt, which at this point is a real plus. Whomever the Cowboys sign as his backup should just be named Tackling Dummy.

Weeden is 31 and has started 21 NFL games, and he won a lot at Oklahoma State. He has a decent arm. He is a pro. He prepares. He’s been around and he knows what to do.

What does Weeden not do well?

He doesn’t feel the game, and he often locks in on one receiver. The real problem is that he is simply not good enough to make average players look better than they are ... like Romo.

That is what the top five or eight quarterbacks do so well; they can get star plays out of spare players.

Even against the Eagles without Dez Bryant, Romo was finding no wide receiver open other than his BFF, Witten. Their best deep threat was little Lance Dunbar out of the backfield.

Cowboys receivers quickly found there was no space; that Dez really does take two people with him on every snap. Romo had to put the ball in a receiver’s lap to complete a pass.

Romo can do that every time. Weeden can do that every now and then.

This was supposed to be a team that can reach the NFC title game, and if Romo is out for too long and the damage done in his absence is too great, forget it.

Romo suffered this injury early enough in the season that the Cowboys can get through this, but Weeden is going to need a lot of help. Maybe the Pope can lend a hand.

Mac Engel, 817-390-7760

Twitter: @macengelprof

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