Insiders

NFL AM: Time For A Change In Dallas?

on

Is It Time To Replace Brandon Weeden?

Coming into this season, the Dallas Cowboys were supposed to be contending for an NFC Championship; however, injuries to Dez Bryant and more importantly, Tony Romo, have put those thoughts on the afterburner.

Since Romo’s injury, the Cowboys offense has been anemic to say the least. They have managed to average just 18 points per game since Brandon Weeden took over, which has resulted in three straight losses.

Some point to the fact that Weeden has completed 72.4 percent of his passes as a reason why the blame shouldn’t really fall on his shoulders; however, that is ignoring the fact that he also has passed for the least amount of yards through the air among qualifying quarterbacks, which basically means passing yards minus yards made after the catch, with just 337 yards, a full 105 yards behind the next quarterback Teddy Bridgewater per Pro Football Focus.

This means that Weeden is not stretching the defense, which allows them to crowd the box and defend the run without fear of getting beat deep. This has led to the Dallas offense stalling out on many of their drives, which puts the defense in bad positions.

With Tony Romo not returning until at least late November, the Cowboys’ playoff hopes are teetering on its axis. The Cowboys must right the ship soon or they risk being out of the playoff hunt by the time Romo returns.

The best way for the Cowboys to shake things up is to make a change at quarterback. It is blatantly obvious that Weeden is not the quarterback who can guide this team to multiple wins; therefore, it is time to see if Matt Cassel is a guy who can. He did it with the New England Patriots back in 2008; let’s see if he can recreate that magic in 2015.

Are the Seattle Seahawks in Trouble?

Despite a 17-point lead in the fourth quarter, the Seattle Seahawks were dealt a heart-breaking loss at the hands of the undefeated Cincinnati Bengals. This was the third time this season that the Seahawks squandered a fourth-quarter lead and ended up losing the game.

Seahawks Head coach Pete Carroll stated that he there wasn’t really a common theme among the three squandered defeats. “It’s common that we’re not getting that done. That’s all. We’re looking hard at it,” Carroll said.

The most troubling aspect of this loss is that it the defense was the main reason for the defeat. In the past, a 17-point lead was insurmountable for opposing teams because Seattle’s suffocating defense would eliminate any opportunity for them to come back.

This season, the Seahawks defense has shown some kinks in their armor. Normally, the Seahawks’ simplistic defensive play design eliminates most of the miscommunications that occurs for defenses on Sundays; however, the Seahawks has a few miscommunications result in touchdowns for the Bengals offense. Now, could this be an indication that Seattle misses former defensive coordinator Dan Quinn? Only time will tell, but it’s something to monitor as the season progresses.

Furthermore, some of Seattle’s stars on defense have not been playing to the level that everyone is accustomed to seeing. Richard Sherman hasn’t been the shutdown cornerback that he has been for his entire career. Earl Thomas hasn’t been the ball-hawking safety covering the deep middle and Bobby Wagner has had a lot of struggles in pass coverage.

Of course, you can’t put the Seahawks’ bad start on the defense as the offense has had a ton of issues of their own. The offensive line is among the worst in the league, which has caused the running game to struggle mightily for most of the season thus far, and they have struggled to find their star tight end, Jimmy Graham, on a consistent basis.

There is still plenty of time for the defending NFC champions to turn it around, but it looks like the climb to the top will be much harder this year than in year’s past.

Pittsburgh Proves How To Win With a Backup Quarterback

One of the hardest things to do in football is to win games with your star quarterback out with an injury; however, the Pittsburg Steelers accomplished that feat with a thrilling 24-20 win over the San Diego Chargers on Monday night.

Even though they got the win, Michael Vick wasn’t great; he went 13-for-26 for 203 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Nevertheless, he made the plays when it mattered as he led the Steelers down the field with his legs and arm for the game-winning score as time expired.

To get to that point, the Steelers had to rely on another stellar performance by running back Le’Veon Bell and some stellar defense for the majority of the game. Bell finished with 111 rushing yards on 21 carries and a touchdown as he steadily made the most out of each of his runs. Furthermore, the defense stifled for Chargers for much of the night and even contributed points as Antwan Blake picked off Philip Rivers and took it back for a touchdown.

With the NFL’s shortage of capable quarterbacks who can lead teams to victories on a consistent basis, it is unlikely that a backup will come in and be the reason the team wins the football game. Instead, it is important that the backup quarterback is efficient and doesn’t make many costly mistakes. Moreover, the team needs to get stellar contributions from the defense and running game to stand a chance, which is exactly what Pittsburgh got.

The Steelers put out the blueprint on how to win without their star quarterback, it will be interesting to see if they and other teams can replicate it going forward.


About John Owning

John Owning

John Owning is a NFL columnist for Football Insiders. He has years of experience covering the NFL, NFL draft and NCAA football. John's work has been featured on the Bleacher Report and DraftBreakdown.com