The Dallas Cowboys would have caused the internet to explode had they drafted Johnny Manziel two weeks ago. Thankfully, that didn’t happen and the Cowboys showed that they are truly all in on Tony Romo after the big contract they gave him.
Personally, I love Romo and don’t irrationally hate him like the the rest of the country seems to. But, I do have a legitimate concern about the quarterback position for Dallas, particularly the backup spot.
Romo is 34-years old and coming off two back surgeries. I think Romo will look good next year, but now anytime Romo hits the ground our first thought will be “PLEASE DON’T LET HIS BACK HAVE GIVEN OUT!” We don’t know if Romo can stay healthy for a full 16 game NFL season, and for that reason the Cowboys need to have a reliable backup quarterback.
Kyle Orton‘s future remains in doubt, and my gut tells me that he’s not going to play this season. For that reason, I thought the Cowboys should have spent one of their late draft picks on a quarterback like Tajh Boyd, A.J. McCarron or Aaron Murray. They weren’t able to do that and the Cowboys will instead go into the season with Brandon Weeden, Caleb Hanie and undrafted free agent Dustin Vaughan behind Romo on quarterback. None of those scream reliable. In fact, looking at those names make me cringe.
Let’s start with Weeden, who was a first round pick of the Cleveland Browns in 2012. He had a great career at Oklahoma State when he and Justin Blackmon created a lethal offensive duo, but was just awful as a Brown. It seems like the Cowboys see him as a developmental quarterback, and, if Orton decides he’s thrown his last pass, he’ll likely be the second string quarterback.
That pains me to just think about it. Someone that has thrown 23 touchdowns to 26 interceptions with a 55.9 career completion percentage is someone that I don’t trust to help win a game if Romo goes down. As far as Weeden being a guy the Cowboys want to develop, everyone seems to forget that he’s 30 years old. Romo is just four years older than Weeden and we are worrying about when the end of Romo’s career is going to be. A 30-year old, even if he’s only entering his third season, isn’t a developmental project.
Then there’s the 28-year old Hanie who has bounced around from Chicago to Denver to Cleveland and now to Dallas. He has a a career total of 679 passing yards and has thrown three touchdowns to 11 interceptions in his career. Let’s face it, if Caleb Hanie is in behind center at any point this season then the Cowboys are probably in a bit of trouble to say the least.
Who knows what the Cowboys have in Vaughan out of West Texas A&M. He seems to have talent by all accounts and perhaps could make the roster, but he’s still an unknown and there’s no guarantee he’ll even be a successful backup.
If this is what the Cowboys go into the season with at backup quarterback, then all of Cowboy Nation better be praying to the football gods that Tony Romo doesn’t go down with an injury or that his back issues don’t resurface. Perhaps the Cowboys can find another veteran to bring in at quarterback, or maybe Orton will end up coming back.
But if not, the backup quarterback spot remains a hole on this team, and hopefully it’s one that doesn’t rear its head.