It has not exactly been the start to the NFL season that the Dallas Cowboys and their fans had hoped for. Not including the playoffs, it has already been two weeks into the grueling 17 week long campaign, and “America’s Team” has already lost their top wide receiver, Dez Bryant, and their star quarterback, Tony Romo.
After a 12-4 turnaround 2014 season with a run into the divisional round of the playoffs, many fans started to believe that Romo and company could bring home a Super Bowl ring this season.
While the Cowboys are off to a perfect 2-0 start, these losses are a real blow to their campaign. Bryant is expected to miss between 10 and 12 weeks of the season, putting him back in action for the final 3-5 games of the season, and Romo will be out for at least the next 7 games.
The biggest concern about these losses is who the franchise will turn to. The Cowboys back-up quarterback is Brandon Weeden, who is best known for his puzzling interceptions and disappointing tenure with the Cleveland Browns who drafted him 22ndoverall in the 2012 NFL Draft. He was already 28 years old when he was drafted then and in his career he has had 27 touchdown passes and 28 interceptions.
These are staggering numbers which accurately depict the type of quarterback he has been throughout his career. Now at age 31, he is receiving an unexpected opportunity to prove to himself and others that he can still play in the league.
However, it is a worst-case scenario for both Weeden and the franchise as their number 1 receiver is sidelined. Weeden will have to turn to aging TE Jason Witten, who suffered minor injuries in the week 2 win over the Eagles, and to inexperienced WR’s Devin Street and Terrance Williams, who are both in their 2ndand 3rd seasons, respectively.
The Cowboys may have gotten off to a 2-0 start, but Weeden and company will have to see what they are truly capable of in the upcoming weeks.
They will see both of last year’s Super Bowl contenders and conference power-houses in the Eagles, Falcons, Giants, and Saints. By the time Romo steps back onto the field, the Cowboys could be 2-8 and out of playoff contention.
Nonetheless, their defense has taken a major step-up. Making key stops in week 1’s comeback win over the Giants and shutting down Chip Kelly’s Eagles in week 2, they could and very well should be the corner-stone of the team for the next two months. This defense could keep the Cowboys from falling 2-8, and instead to staying a very competitive 5-5 or 5-6.
What does the Dallas fan base think of their chances with Weeden? Texas Governor Greg Abbott has already tweeted saying that the Cowboys should sign quarterback Tim Tebow, who was released from the Eagles after failing to make the 53 man roster after the pre-season.
There are also a number of other options available for the Cowboys if they choose to bring in someone else. Rumor has it that Washington is looking to trade Robert Griffin III, their accident-prone franchise quarterback.
The Cowboys front office is nonetheless staying optimistic with owner Jerry Jones saying in an interview, “You won’t see a more gifted passer than Weeden.”
While it may sound ridiculous, after Weeden entered the game against the Eagles, he obtained a perfect passer rating, did not throw an incompletion, and threw a touchdown pass.
Will Weeden be able to continue this record in the weeks to come? Will this Cowboys team be able to weather the storm? For now, only time will tell.
-Blake Saathoff ’17, Junior Sports Editor