Gil LeBreton

Weeden a sure stand-in? Owner Jones is dreaming again

Midway into my exhaustive Matt Cassel research Thursday, a lightbulb blinked and I felt compelled to ask, “Why bother?”

I mean, if quarterback Cassel, after 11 professional seasons, still possessed the skill set to consistently win NFL games, he would have been doing it full time for somebody, instead of being a backup in Buffalo to a guy named Tyrod Taylor.

Correct?

An inspiring Matt Cassel bio can be found elsewhere, therefore. Feel free to read all about Matt’s grandfather, who raised horses in West Texas, and Cassel’s late father, who grew up in Lubbock. Pay particular attention to the note about his wife, Lauren, who is about to give birth to their fourth child.

Lauren Cassel, by the way, was captain of Southern Cal’s 2002 NCAA champion volleyball team. So at least one of them got off the bench for the Trojans.

My neighbor, the Cowboys nut who smiles like Rowdy every Monday when the team wins, seems convinced that Owner Jones just made the greatest quarterback acquisition since the Baltimore Colts signed that guy the Steelers cut — a guy named Unitas.

Tap the brakes, though. Cassel did fill in adequately in New England for an injured Tom Brady, but that was seven years ago.

Barring a complete Brandon Weeden meltdown, therefore, Cassel doesn’t seem to be here to save the season and slay the dragons of the NFC East. (Did I say dragons? I meant lizards.)

The job is Weeden’s. The season — and the 73rd year of Jerry Jones’ life — is in Weeden’s hands.

The knee-jerk response has been to proclaim Weeden perfectly adequate for returning the Jones family Cadillac to the garage in one piece. But I’m not quite so sure.

Before the season, who would you have named as the Cowboys’ two most irreplaceable players? Tony Romo and Dez Bryant, right?

Add free agent departee DeMarco Murray from last year’s crew, which seemed like a budding five-year contender, and the Cowboys’ firepower has been snuffed significantly.

Yet, Owner Jones would hear nothing of the sort Thursday, as he told reporters at Valley Ranch.

“I’ve been one of the biggest daydreamers that anyone has ever seen,” Jerry said. “Growing up I could play a complete football game in my front yard with just me, and I could play a complete World Series in the back yard with just me and a broom pole and a ping pong ball.

“I know how to daydream. This is the kind of thing that fits itself, dreaming about the story we could have here. I can write the story.”

Oh, that Jerry. Doesn’t he know they have medicine for dreams like that?

Romo. Bryant. Gregory. Still no Hardy. Murray gone to the Eagles. Witten banged up in only Week 3.

If you’re an opposing defense, do you even bother double-teaming any of the Cowboys’ remaining receivers?

Probably not, which means the Falcons can put an extra defender in the box Sunday — to stop the Cowboys’ running game that still sputters.

Weeden isn’t likely to be asked to throw the ball downfield, anyway. Look for plenty of quick slants and crossing routes, especially when they can get Lance Dunbar matched on a linebacker again.

But if Weeden has to throw 40-plus passes in any of the coming games, Jerry’s dream probably isn’t working.

Cowboys fans, like my neighbor, seem to think it will suffice for the team to go merely 4-4 until Romo and Dez both return, and then the ’Boys can march through the playoffs.

Two problems there, though. There is no guarantee that a Romo-less, Dez-less, running game-less offense will be able to go 4-4. And making the NFC playoffs without a homefield advantage is not the suggested route to the Super Bowl.

Even in Jerry’s growing-up dreams, he was playing in his own yard.

Gil LeBreton, 817-390-7697

Twitter: @gilebreton

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