When you’re a backup quarterback in the NFL, you go into every game knowing that you’re probably not going to play, but that you’re one play away from having all 52 of your teammates counting on you to lead the team to victory.
Such was the case for Brandon Weeden this past Sunday.
“It is tough. It is tough,” the Dallas Cowboys quarterback said on CBS Sports Radio’s The Doug Gottlieb Show. “I’ve been a starter my entire life. It’s a different mindset. I think the positive is you really don’t have time to get nervous. You don’t have time to put too much pressure on yourself. I mean, when he goes down, it’s find a football, throw on your helmet, get some snaps, make a few throws and you’re in. You don’t have time to get that nervous feeling. So for me, it’s a situation I’m put in as a backup quarterback. I know it’s a tough role, especially being behind a guy like Tony. He’s one of the toughest quarterbacks I’ve ever met, and so you never know if he’s hurt or if he’s going to get up. And unfortunately yesterday, he didn’t. Again, it’s my role. I’ve been doing it for a couple years now, so I’m getting a little more comfortable (with it), but it’s still challenge.”
Romo, of course, broke his left collarbone in a 20-10 win over the Eagles in Philadelphia and will be out 8-10 weeks. Weeden, who has 27 touchdowns and 28 interceptions in 29 career games, will start for Dallas in the interim.
“My heart sunk for him,” Weeden said of Romo. “I hate it for Tony. He had a great year last year and he started off the season strong this year. I hate it for him. Then he came out of the locker room and I saw he had the sling on, so that’s never a good sign. It sucks. It really does. I hate it for him. It’s just a situation like last week when we lost Dez. Those two guys are hard to replace. Myself and the rest of the guys are going to have to do our part and try to pick up the slack.”
Weeden did that against the Eagles, going 7-of-7 for 73 yards and a touchdown in mop-up duty.
And yet, there are those clamoring for the Cowboys to go out and get Robert Griffin III. Or Tim Tebow. Or Kyle Orton. Anybody but Weeden, who struggled as a starter in Cleveland.
Weeden’s response? Let’s just see what I can do.
“I got rid of Twitter when I got in the NFL, and that was probably one of the smarter decisions I’ve made,” Weeden joked. “But I realize there’s going to be people out there (who doubt me). We didn’t have the success that maybe we had hoped for in Cleveland. It was tough sledding. We just couldn’t get it going. We changed systems after the first year and never really had an identity and it was tough. It was extremely tough. The good thing for the situation I’m in, we got a really good football team. The defense is playing extremely well, (we’ve got) a great staff, a great play-caller, and I’m in the same system for back-to-back years, which is always a plus.
“Am I going to do a lot of the things that Tony’s able to do?” Weeden continued. “No way. He’s a Pro Bowl quarterback, an elite quarterback in this league. He has some stuff you can’t teach in the pocket, avoiding stuff – that’s hard to do. But I’m just going to try to go out and not put any added pressure on myself. There’s already pressure there. So I’m just go out and play and take advantage of the weapons around me.”