IRVING, Texas -- Arm strength is Brandon Weeden’s best trait as a quarterback, which is why he’s surprised at all of the check-down talk from the Dallas Cowboys’ loss to the Atlanta Falcons last week.
Weeden completed 22 of 26 passes for 234 yards but none of those completions went to an outside receiver. Running back Lance Dunbar had 10 catches for 100 yards. Jason Witten had six catches for 65 yards. Cole Beasley was the only receiver to catch a pass with four for 49 yards.
“Obviously you guys are beating a dead horse, talking about throwing the ball underneath,” Weeden said. “That was our plan all along. You look back, was there a couple times I could’ve thrown a ball maybe to outside receiver given the plays that were called? Maybe one or two I could’ve thrown it out there. But those were the matchups we liked and that’s what they were giving us in coverage.”
As Weeden gets ready for the New Orleans Saints this week, he said their defense is at the other spectrum from what Atlanta does. The Falcons played a lot of single high defense and did not give many chances to throw the ball down the field.
The Saints are a blitz-happy defense under former Cowboys defensive coordinator Rob Ryan. Through two games they have given up six touchdown passes, have yet to pick off a pass and have given up two 300-yard passers.
“I never thought in my 31 years of life that I would be asked if I checked the ball down too much,” Weeden said. “That’s not how I play football. I was 22 of 26 with completions. I wanted to be efficient and get the ball to the right guy and I felt like that was my game plan and my mindset going into the game. Take a shot down the field or hit big in-cut on the backside, whatever it may be, be efficient and get a lot of completions tallied up and let those guys run.”
Last year the Cowboys put up 445 yards offense on Ryan’s defense, Tony Romo completed 22 of 29 passes for 262 yards and three touchdowns. The Cowboys ran for 190 yards, led by DeMarco Murray’s 149 yards.
But they had just two pass plays of more than 20 yards. Dunbar had one of those, for 24 yards. Williams had the other for 23 yards.
“If we got a drop-back pass with four verticals and a comeback, if they’re there, I’m going to rip them,” Weeden said.