Weeden Taking First Team Snaps

Day two of the Dallas Cowboys mandatory mini-camp and back-up quarterback Kyle Orton is still a no show. Orton is 31 years old and has been sacked 132 times. No telling how many times he has been hit after delivering the ball. Brandon Weeden is 30 years old and the former Oklahoma State quarterback and former first-round NFL pick has played in 23 games and has been sacked 55 times.

The question begs how much tread wear has there been on each quarterback's set of tires?

"I feel 24 and I don't have any trouble getting out of bed and I'm feeling good every day," Weeden said after the first day of mini-camp in Dallas.

"I think he has made a lot of progress, Brandon is a guy, you know his history he played professional baseball for five years before going to Oklahoma State," Dallas head coach Jason Garrett added. "So even though he is 30 years old, he is someone that is still young as a quarterback."

The other big difference between Orton and Weeden is cost. Orton will cost Dallas close to $3.5 million in salary, plus he is holding onto a big chunk of Dallas owner and general manager Jerry Jones' money in the form of a signing bonus that if he chooses to retire a big chunk will need to be returned to Jones.

Weeden is playing for a reported $570,000 this season and $660,000 in 2015. Of course, that is all made more palatable by the fact that the Browns still owe Weeden $2.1 million.

Jones is not into cost-cutting measures, he is into winning and his franchise needs to do so soon. The Cowboys fans are aching for their team to get back to the playoffs and advance to a Super Bowl.

Orton was insurance last season that almost paid off. You can't blame him much for the last game loss to Philadelphia that was for a playoff spot. Weeden did not win much in his stint in Cleveland, but Peyton Manning or Tom Brady would not have won in Cleveland the past two seasons.

Weeden feels his change of address has gone well and getting the first team reps in the OTAs and in the mini-camp has been huge for his development.

"I would say so. There are a lot of unknowns as far as what was going to happen with Tony and Kyle (Orton) and who else was going to be here," Weeden explained to a group of reporters around his locker including ESPN's Jeannine Edwards, a familiar face as she is married to Oklahoma State defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer.

"None of us knew that. Before I could sign I didn't know that. To sign and come in and take all of the reps with the ones up to this point has been huge for me. I have really built off each rep I have taken. All I can control is what I do each play and if I go out and correct each mistake I make and get better each day that is all I can do."

"He just needs snaps and the opportunity that he has been getting because Tony hasn't taken those live snaps has really benefitted him and benefitted our team," Garrett added. "I can see him getting better each and every day.

"The big thing for guys like him is there are certain levels of confidence and he needs to keep getting to that next threshold of confidence. Understanding the offense, getting plays called and getting in and out of the huddle, and the confidence you have with that offense going against that defense, and getting to the point that you are so confident that you are just cutting it loose and playing," said Garrett.

"Brandon's done a good job, you know," said Romo. "I think he is really a young quarterback in some respects even though people talk about age, but age is sometimes about the number of hits you've taken and the actual time you've been in the sport.

"He's doing a good job and had a good offseason and continues to develop. He asks a lot of good questions and as he learns the nuances of the offense, I think he is going to have a great future."

Weeden gives Romo a lot of credit because basically Romo has given Weeden a lot of answers and in turn a lot of advice.

"We have a great working relationship and I try to learn as much as I can while we're out there," Weeden stressed. "I ask a lot of questions and when we're not out there we talk golf and talk all of the other things we're both ate up with. We were talking during stretch and this is 12 years for him, so I would be stupid not to ask a lot of questions."

The media attention is likely to continue and maybe increase before training camp. Romo is coming off the back surgery. If Orton stays away and even retires then Weeden becomes a major focus in the NFL and reporters will continue to hover. It helps when one is a friendly face like Edwards.

"She had talked to him earlier in the week and Brandon is great and he knows Jeannine and he was really nice to us when we got married and all," Spencer said.

"Just the fact that there are six of our guys down there is special. Jeannine was trying to get a picture of all those guys, Brandon, and Joseph (Randle), Dan (Bailey), Tyler (Patmon), Orie (Lemon), and Dez (Bryant). How about that, six guys down there?

"I wanted to pull that off and guess who had to go to the trainer's room when they had everybody together? Dez. They lost Dez to the training room. If I can get that picture then I'll show that in recruiting to those Texas kids."

Isn't that just like a college coach, never stop recruiting. You have to admit, it is a pretty darned good idea.

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