Why the Cowboys should use their bye to say goodbye to Brandon Weeden

Patriots annihilate Tony Romo-less Cowboys

Tom Brady throws for 275 yards and two touchdowns in the Patriots' 30-6 win over the Cowboys.

IRVING, Texas -- Coach Jason Garrett refused to endorse Brandon Weeden as the Dallas Cowboys' starting quarterback after the team lost its third consecutive game. Neither did owner Jerry Jones.

Heck, Weeden wouldn't even endorse himself.

"I don't want to talk about it. I'll let my play do the talking," Weeden said when asked about his job security.

"I think that I played well coming in at Philadelphia, then I played well against Atlanta and New Orleans. Today wasn't my best day, but I have to put that behind me. That's [the coaches'] decisions. That's what their role is. My role is to play football and be ready, so I'm going to play like I always do."

The Cowboys, though, need something better than what Weeden has given them, which is why Garrett, Jones and virtually everybody else at the club's Valley Ranch training complex understands it's time to give Matt Cassel a chance to play.

Dallas has a bye this week, so Cassel, who was acquired in a trade from Buffalo after Tony Romo broke his collarbone, can get first-team reps and have two weeks to prepare for a pivotal NFC East game on the road against the New York Giants.

In Sunday's 30-6 loss to New England, the Cowboys went three-and-out six times in 12 possessions and failed to score an offensive touchdown for the first time since the third week of the 2011 season.

"Of course I am going to take a lot of the blame," Weeden said. "That's just part of playing this position, and right, wrong or indifferent, that's just the way it works. I won't let it faze me. I left everything I had out on the field."

The quarterback's job is to lead the offense to points, and Weeden hasn't done it. We can talk about injuries to Dez Bryant and an abject run game. We can talk about disappointing performances from Joseph Randle and Terrance Williams that show they're much better cast as role players than future stars. Or we can talk about the offensive line that has been vastly overrated based on the totality of its performance in the first five games.

Guess what? None of that matters. All we know is that with Weeden in charge, this offense has no spark, no consistency and no chance.

In the past 10 quarters, the Cowboys have scored 26 points -- four field goals and two touchdowns. Remember, this is a team that averaged 29.1 points a game last season and scored more than 40 points three times.

It's not that Weeden has been awful. He hasn't been. He has completed 71 of 98 passes for 739 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions.

The problem is that Weeden hasn't been part of the solution either. He refuses to attack downfield whether its because the coaching staff has threatened him or he doesn't trust his eyes.

Either way, he's afraid to make a mistake. You can't play scared in the NFL. There's no future in that.

Against New England, running back Darren McFadden led the Cowboys with nine catches for 62 yards. Against Atlanta, running back Lance Dunbar led the team with 10 receptions for 100 yards.

That's not a positive trend. Every meaningful rule in the league favors the offense. Teams must produce big plays in the passing game to score points.

Against New England, only one of Weeden's 26 completions went for more than 20 yards -- and that occurred in the fourth quarter when the game was out of hand.

"Brandon didn't play well enough. We didn't play well enough. We're going to watch the tape and evaluate each guy and each unit to see how we can play better," Garrett said. "That's just the process we go through each week. Ultimately, we didn't score enough points. Brandon was a part of that, but everybody else was a part of it too."

For those clamoring for Cassel, who's on his fourth team since 2012, you might be sorely disappointed in a couple of weeks when you discover that he has many of the same issues Weeden has displayed. There's a reason the Cowboys got him for a late-round draft pick.

Since 2011, Cassel is 10-17 as a starter with 30 touchdowns and 34 interceptions. Plus, he has had the playbook for only three weeks, so his understanding of the offense is fairly rudimentary.

But we've seen Weeden, who has lost his past 11 starts. We know he's not the answer for the Cowboys. Cassel might not be a huge improvement, but their season is going nowhere with Weeden at quarterback.

It's time to give Cassel an opportunity to start. Maybe he can help the Cowboys win a couple of games before Romo returns.