Cowboys Are Set Up To Fail This Season
by Zach Doleiden
Aug 02, 2014 2:55 PM EDT
It seemingly happens in the NFL every year – circumstances beyond control force at least one team to enter the season with a lack of – how do I put this…respectable – depth at the backup quarterback position.
This can prove to be quite a risky move, especially if the organization brave enough to tempt fate has a starting quarterback that is older or has a history of injury.
Such is the case with the 2014 Dallas Cowboys.
At age 34, QB Tony Romo is not getting any younger, and is entering a dangerous time when the number of hits he has taken throughout his career will begin to catch up with him. As a matter of fact, we have already seen this begin to take place over the past few seasons.
After getting off to a rough start in 2010, the Cowboys were dealt a major blow when Romo suffered a broken left clavicle that forced him to miss 10 games. In Romo’s absence, the team turned to veteran backup John Kitna. Dallas went 4-5 down the stretch and finished the season 6-10.
Romo then battled through a broken rib, punctured lung and a severely bruised hand in 2011 before failing to get the Cowboys to the playoffs for the third straight year in 2012.
Despite the lack of success, however, Romo was rewarded with a six-year contract extension. To his credit, Romo actually turned in a strong performance during the 2013 season when many professional athletes would normally pack it in, having earned their big pay day in the twilight of their career.
Unfortunately for Cowboys fans, the injury bug struck again when Romo went down with a season-ending herniated disk at the end of the year. As a result, Kyle Orton was given the task of leading Dallas against the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 17 with a possible playoff berth on the line. Orton failed to deliver and the Cowboys finished 8-8, missing the postseason for the fourth year in a row.
Fast-forward to two weeks ago.
Orton – a decent backup option with starting experience – did not show up to offseason workouts while he contemplated retirement, so Dallas decided to make his decision easier and released him.
Not to worry. The Cowboys had a plan on how to replace a serviceable backup like Orton, right?
Perhaps I gave them too much credit.
The team responded by signing 30-year-old QB Brandon Weeden, a first round pick just two years ago who was already given up on by the Cleveland Browns.
With Romo’s career increasingly being interrupted by nagging injuries – or more severe ailments that cause him to miss chunks of playing time – I don’t see how the Cowboys can feel confident heading into the 2014 season with Weeden serving as the primary backup.
During his brief career in Cleveland, Weeden started only 20 games, compiling a morbid 5-15 record with an unimpressive 55.9 percent completion rate. He also threw just 23 touchdowns compared to his 26 interceptions.
If the Cowboys were smart, they’d take another quick look before training camp is over to see who else is out there. Personally, I’d feel more comfortable with a veteran such as Seneca Wallace or David Garrard on the depth chart. Even Rex Grossman makes some sense, as he at the very least has playoff experience and spent the past few seasons as a member of the division rival Washington Redskins.
Or, should Orton decide to continue his playing career, Dallas should quickly swallow its pride and do its best to bring him back into the fold. He is familiar with the guys in the locker room and a reunion – should the opportunity present itself – is a no-brainer.
The way things stand right now, I shudder to think how the offense will fare with Weeden at the helm should something happen to Romo.