Brandon Weeden excited for challenge of leading Cowboys

PHILADELPHIA -- Brandon Weeden, the car keys are yours.

With Tony Romo out for eight to 10 weeks, according to a source, because of a fractured left collarbone suffered in Sunday’s 20-10 victory against the Philadelphia Eagles, Weeden will be the Dallas Cowboys' starting quarterback.

“I have a lot of confidence in Brandon,” coach Jason Garrett said. “More importantly his teammates have lot of confidence in him. We’ll start getting to work on that on Wednesday.”

Weeden’s performance in filling in for Romo offers the Cowboys some hope going forward. He completed seven of seven passes for 73 yards and clinched the game with a 42-yard touchdown pass to Terrance Williams with 4:13 to play.

“I’m excited about this challenge,” Weeden said. “I hate it for Tony. I really do. He’s obviously a close friend, but he’s also put a lot of work in for this football team and has for many years, so I hate it for him. I told him I’m going to need him. I’m going to need his help and input and what better guy to have as a guy that can kind of help you and get you through this thing. I’m lucky to have him on our side.”

Weeden’s one start in 2014 did not go well. He completed just 18 of 33 passes for 183 yards and a touchdown and two interceptions in a 28-17 loss to the Arizona Cardinals.

Romo’s absence then was two transverse process fractures that kept him out only for one game. This absence will be much longer.

“Whenever Tony did go down, Brandon didn’t panic,” Williams said. “He came in, called the plays that were going on and we got it done.”

Weeden will not have Dez Bryant, as he did in last year’s start against the Cardinals, but he feels like a different quarterback now compared to then. For the first time in his career he has operated in the same system in consecutive years.

In the first two weeks of the season he continued to get first-team snaps on Wednesdays with Romo sitting out to preserve his back.

While many will focus on the strike to Williams in which he faced pressure and still made a perfect throw, he was more pleased with a check-down to Lance Dunbar in his first series of work that didn’t get a first down.

“Maybe three or four years ago we’re down a couple of scores and I may try and force the ball in there and bad things happen,” Weeden said. “That dump down to Lance, that was the play. It didn’t look good and probably won’t remember it, but it was a smart football play and you move on to the next one.”

The Cowboys considered adding a more veteran presence behind Romo in free agency, but talks with Shaun Hill and Matt Schaub never really took off. They worked out more quarterbacks in the pre-draft process than they have in years, but they did not take one. They have Kellen Moore, who has experience with offensive coordinator Scott Linehan from their time together in Detroit, and Jameill Showers on the practice squad. Moore, however, is likely to get the call up with Romo’s injury.

But there is no mistake the Cowboys are going with Weeden.

“I think Brandon’s got a lot going for him,” executive vice president Stephen Jones said. “Obviously he’s not going to win games the same way Tony wins games. We’ve got a lot of confidence in Scott and Jason and our offensive staff that we’ll figure out the best game plan to give us the best chance to have success. We still have a lot of good football players out there, as you saw tonight.”