Cassel Could Be Playing For His Job Against Buccaneers
There are occasions when a six-game skid makes the importance of winning and losing more than just about the standings. For Matt Cassel, Sunday’s matchup in Tampa Bay against the Buccaneers promises to be one of those times.
In addition to all the obvious news about Cassel needing to help his team keep pace in a muddled division race, Cassel has an ulterior motive for playing well in what will be his fourth start under center for the Cowboys. With likely only one game remaining until Tony Romo reclaims his job as the Dallas starting quarterback, the clock is ticking on not only Cassel’s time remaining on the field, but, quite possibly, his tenure as a Cowboy.
For some, it may seem only fitting that the quarterback of a 2-6 team currently in a freefall be on the hot seat. But this has more to do with than just the Cowboys’ six-game losing streak. This is all about numbers, as in two.
The fact that the Cowboys are a team that only carries two quarterbacks on their game-day roster means either Cassel or Brandon Weeden, who was benched after a Week 5 loss to Patriots in favor of Cassell, will become expendable when Romo is cleared to return in a week. The assumption is that head coach Jason Garrett will choose to keep the more valuable quarterback before Dallas’ Nov. 22 meeting with Miami, while cutting ties with the other.
That, on the surface, sounds promising for Cassel, who has thrown twice as many touchdowns as Weeden managed to in three starts, and has shown good command of the offense. But while there is certainly evidence that he is a superior field-general to his predecessor, it’s hard to make a bulletproof case for Cassel since he has the same amount of victories (zero) as Weeden had before him. The fact that two of his four interceptions have been returned for touchdowns is also another mark against Cassel.
While the eye-ball test is certainly important, the NFL, at its core, is a production-based business. If Cassel can’t lead the Cowboys past a Bucs team that owns a rookie quarterback and a porous defense this weekend, then when will he? Such an event will also make for a much tougher decision for Garrett on the following Monday than he would probably like it to be.