While the Cowboys’ practices on Wednesday and Thursday are only a little more than an hour, they gave Cassel time on task that he has yet to have with the regular offense since being picked up in a trade with the Buffalo Bills.
“I think it’s a huge help for me to have one more week underneath your belt then to have the whole next week of practice is important because obviously I’m still growing in everything that we’re doing,” Cassel said. “Today was the first time I took snaps with the first team, the first time I threw the ball to Beasley and Witten and those guys since I’ve been here. Building that rapport, building that chemistry is important that I take advantage of the next few weeks.”
Cassel is in his fourth week of learning the Cowboys offense. It’s his third scheme in less than two years, having played for the Minnesota Vikings in 2014. But there is some carryover in what Norv Turner runs with the Vikings to what Scott Linehan uses with the Cowboys.
“You know what, I’m learning something new every single day and I feel like I’m caught up to speed, but at the same time every week brings new challenges with new defenses and the type of offense we are,” Cassel said. “You look at a defense and game plan a little bit, [but] you always have new challenges in learning new players.”
Coach Jason Garrett does not believe the Cowboys will go into their Oct. 25 meeting with the New York Giants with a limited plan because of Cassel’s lack of knowledge with the playbook.
“The biggest thing is his experience of running certain things with the guys who are here,” Garrett said. “Conceptually, he has seen most everything we have in our offense from the different offenses he has been in. He is a smart guy. He studies hard. He will have that kind of command. But it’s just the experience. There are a lot of nuances and subtleties that will have happen when you are playing that position and how you interact with other people in the offense. His time on task for doing that is a critical piece of it. He will behind a little in that area.
“But a couple of days of practice this week and practice next week will get him caught up and ready to play.”
Cassel is confident he can help the Cowboys break their three-game losing streak, but was quick to point out the outcomes will be decided by more than just how well he plays. Weeden was hurt in part because the rest of the offense struggled at times.
“I’m very confident,” Cassel said. “You know what, we’ve got a lot of great players in this room, in this building and so if I go out and do my job at a high level, then I think that everybody will be impacted for the better.”