With Brandon Weeden taking over for Tony Romo, it was understood that the Dallas Cowboys would rely heavily on the run game to help the backup quarterback adjust to being the starter. Weeden performed very well in the first half of the game, focusing on running the ball and short passes to Joseph Randle and Jason Witten. That plan fell apart in the second half as the Falcons adjusted their defense. One Cowboys' player unhappy with the new offensive plan is Terrance Williams who went without a catch in Week 3.
Weeden's best friends in the game were Randle and Witten. Weeden's longest pass of the day went for 22 yards. He focused on short throws and dump offs to the running back. That worked well until the Falcons defense adjusted. It also meant that the team's top deep threat at the moment, Williams, went without a catch and was just targeted twice. He vented his frustrations on Twitter saying, "Talk [expletive] all you want about me all y'all want I'll REMEMBER IT."
Without Dez Bryant, Williams is the deep threat. That was the case with Romo at starting quarterback, but not with Weeden anymore. The Cowboys were conservative in their offensive play calling which still resulted in 28 points, but gave Williams nothing on the day. Could that become a trend for the Cowboys moving forward? It is telling that the top receiver for the day was running back Lance Dunbar who topped things off with 10 targets for 10 catches and 100 yards. Witten added 65 on the day while Cole Beasley had just 49 yards. With Weeden under center, that could be the new norm.
The Cowboys are hopeful that they get their injured players back sooner rather than later. Romo is predicted to come back by Thanksgiving. NFL.com's Kevin Petra is reporting that the Cowboys believe Bryant will be back by Week 7 after undergoing foot surgery. Bryant has been making it clear that he feels better and has been seen walking around without a boot on. Team vice president Stephen Jones believes Week 7 is a fair estimate for a return.
"Our prognosis has never changed," Jones said, via The Dallas Morning News. "I know there have been a lot of people who have doctors on their media staff and like to speculate on these things, but we've been pretty consistent from Day One. At first we thought maybe four to six (weeks) and that changed to six to eight. By the next day we were pretty much thinking six to eight. We really feel like it's a very fair goal to think that Dez will be back after the bye."
Until then, fantasy owners would be wise to invest in Randle and Dunbar and possible sit Williams out. Witten is the better option for the young quarterback moving forward.