Brandon Weeden better option over Matt Cassel
The Dallas Cowboys acquired quarterback Matt Cassel on Tuesday, a necessary, but concerning, transaction to provide depth behind Brandon Weeden due to Tony Romo’s injury. Neither QB rates highly, and between the two of them, they have four total starts in the past year.
Weeden’s lone start in 2014 came against Arizona, finishing with an overall grade of -5.1. In his five game appearances last year, he only threw left of the numbers twice (38 total attempts). While the Cowboys offense usually shows balance in regards to pass dispersion, cutting the width of the field by a third makes coverage much easier for defenses.
Turning to the newest member of the Cowboys, Cassel started the first three games last year for the Vikings and had a cumulative -7.5. In that same span, he was the third-worst QB, ahead of only Geno Smith and Jake Locker.
Looking at the past two years of accuracy rates, it’s a toss up—Weeden has hovered around 68.0 percent, while Cassel is a bit higher at 70.5 percent. Unfortunately, both of those rates are below average in terms of NFL quarterbacks, and the difference between the two is negligible.
Dallas has been in the top-10 in O-line pass-block efficiency the past two seasons, and currently rank ninth in that category. Due to their above average pass protection, the Cowboys can get away with Weeden holding the ball slightly longer at 2.7 seconds per attempt than Cassel at 2.40 seconds.
Historically, Weeden only uses play-action about 13–14 percent of the time, whereas Cassel is much higher at around 24 percent (14.0 percent for Romo). Already mediocre at best, Cassel’s reliance on play-action in order to get wide receivers open looks to be the tipping point. Neither QB is flashy, but Weeden should, and rightly will, get the nod this week.