IRVING, Texas -- What do you think Jerry Jones was thinking if he was watching the Houston Texans move into first place in the AFC South on Sunday with a win against the Indianapolis Colts with Brandon Weeden at quarterback?
Do you think the Dallas Cowboys owner and general manager wondered if the team did the right thing in cutting Weeden on Nov. 17?
When the Cowboys lost Tony Romo on Sept. 20 against the Philadelphia Eagles, Weeden was their starter. The Cowboys went 0-3 in Weeden’s three starts and the coaches moved on to Matt Cassel as the starter. Cassel is 1-6 as the Cowboys’ starter and lost his job in the second quarter of Saturday’s loss to the New York Jets.
It’s easy to place blame on Weeden for where the Cowboys are now, but he directed the offense to their only touchdown in the win against the Eagles (a 41-yard throw to Terrance Williams). The Cowboys scored 28 points in his first start -- all in the first half -- against the Atlanta Falcons on Sept. 27. They have not scored more points in a game this season.
Weeden completed 71 of 98 passes for 738 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions for the Cowboys this season. He was sacked eight times.
The Cowboys went to Cassel in part because he would throw the ball more down the field. An argument can be made that Weeden wasn't doing that because he was following the coaches’ instructions. He also did not have Dez Bryant for his three starts. Nor did he have the running game that has come together since Darren McFadden became the every-down back.
Cassel has averaged 6.3 yards per attempt. Weeden averaged 7.5 with Dallas.
The Texans claimed Weeden because Brian Hoyer had suffered a concussion.
He got into Sunday’s game against the Colts after T.J. Yates suffered a knee injury. Houston trailed 10-0 at the time. The Texans left with a 16-10 win, their first in franchise history in Indianapolis.
Weeden completed 11 of 18 passes for 105 yards and threw the game-winning touchdown pass -- an 8-yarder to Jaelen Strong -- in the fourth quarter to cap a 10-play, 90-yard drive. Weeden completed four of six passes for 44 yards and received the benefit of a 22-yard pass interference penalty on the game-winning drive.
"He's a pro, he acts like a pro, he carries himself like a pro, he is a pro," Houston coach Bill O'Brien said after the game. "Look, I'm not sure he has the whole offense down pat, but I think he has enough that he can go in there and function."
As the Cowboys have lost eight of their 10 games without Romo, Jones has continued to wonder what could have happened if Cassel had the benefit of an offseason and a training camp as the team's backup quarterback.
He never once said publicly the Cowboys erred in moving away from Weeden.
Perhaps he should and perhaps he should ask the coaches why Weeden could get it done in Houston but not with the Cowboys.