The Dallas Cowboys will take on the San Diego Chargers in their preseason opener Thursday night, and Tony Romo, as expected, will not play. Instead, Dallas will start Brandon Weeden, who will serve as Romo’s backup this year.
That’s right. If Romo, 34, gets hurt this season, Dallas will start Weeden, 30, who has more interceptions (26) than touchdowns (23) on his resume.
Can you imagine the drama that would unfold in Big D if the Cowboys had to count on Weeden?
“It’s like any situation: If your starter goes down, there’s not many backups that are going to win in this league right now,” Fort Worth Star-Telegram Cowboys writer Clarence Hill Jr. said on Ferrall on the Bench. “Romo went out last year and Kyle Orton couldn’t take them to the playoffs. Weeden is certainly another lightning rod because he was a bust in Cleveland. The Cowboys think he has some upside for the future and he’s actually done okay in camp. It’s (just a question of) how he’s going to look when the live bullets are going. That’s where he’s had his problems – because he can throw the ball really well.”
“But if something happens to Romo – you see what’s going on with Tiger and his back; Romo’s had back surgeries the past two offseasons and he’s 34 years old – they’re being very cautious with him. He’s not going to play in a preseason game, but you never know with a back. They just signed him to that big contract, they passed on Manziel in the draft and there’s some uncertainty regarding how long Romo can go with his back.”
Even with Romo, the Cowboys have been the definition of mediocrity, finishing 8-8 in each of the last three seasons.
But let’s get back to Johnny Manziel for a second. Why does Jerry Jones keep talking about him? Why does he keep talking about how the Cowboys almost drafted Manziel but didn’t? At this point, who cares?
“Jerry’s here for the ride,” Hill Jr. said. “Instead of focusing on Romo and what he has and this season, he keeps acknowledging and talking abut it because he likes talking about it. He did like Manziel. He’s a Texas guy, he went to Texas A&M, he’s from Tyler, Texas – which is about an hour or so outside Dallas – and certainly if you saw the way he likes to party and the way Jerry likes to party, they’re kindred spirits in that regard.”
But there’s no way Jones was drafting Manziel, especially not after giving Romo a six-year extension in 2013.
“There’s no way he could bring Johnny Manziel in,” Hill Jr. said. “Romo’s already got his detractors, and the first interception, the first bad pass, the first loss – everybody (would have been) clamoring for Johnny Manziel. It wouldn’t have been a good environment for the Cowboys to succeed. And remember, they’re in a win-now mode. Jason Garrett’s in the last year of his contract. You couldn’t bring a rookie quarterback in here and expect to win now. So there was no way they could do that anyway.”