Steve Beuerlein: ‘The Cowboys Are Desperate’

After losing three straight games with Brandon Weeden as their quarterback, the Dallas Cowboys have made a change: Matt Cassel will get the nod against the Giants in East Rutherford on Oct. 25.

So the Cowboys are going from a 32-year-old backup quarterback to a 33-year-old backup quarterback.

What does this change?

“Well, there’s no telling what it changes,” NFL on CBS analyst Steve Beuerlein said on CBS Sports Radio’s After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “You’re talking about a guy in Matt Cassel that hasn’t been able to hold down a starting job in a few years. There’s a lot of unknowns about him – how he’s going to fit into this offense. Dez Bryant is not available to him, so he’s going to be working with the same weapons that Brandon Weeden had been working with, so there’s a lot of question marks. But the bottom line is the Cowboys are desperate. Losing three straight games with Weeden, they’re trying to find some way to pump some kind of confidence, some kind of new-wave thinking into their locker room and into their fan base and overall mentality and they’re hoping that Cassel can provide it.

“So we’re going to see,” Beuerlein continued “You can’t consider it to be a huge upgrade in terms of when you look at what’s happened the past few years, but Matt Cassel has starting experience. He has won at different places, and I think he does bring more credibility than Brandon Weeden, who lost 11 consecutive games. So I think Jason Garrett is hoping that Matt Cassel can find the magic and get the confidence level of his teammates up and hopefully ride the wave for a few weeks until Tony Romo is ready to come back.”

The Steelers, meanwhile, were also struggling to win with a backup quarterback – that is until Michael Vick led them to victory over the Chargers on Monday Night Football. Vick came alive in the fourth quarter, throwing a 72-yard touchdown pass to Markus Wheaton and leading a 12-play, 80-yard drive in the final minutes to give Pittsburgh a 24-20 win.

Beuerlein wasn’t surprised.

“If you let a team hang around long enough, these guys are professional football players and lightning can strike at any point,” he said. “The long touchdown pass was the key. Right after San Diego had taken control of that game, Michael Vick comes back on the first play and they throw a 70-yard touchdown. Then he makes a couple of great runs that set them up for the later scores. He just got his confidence level up, he got his teammates believing in him and they managed to make the plays they needed to make to win that ball game. If you look back at it, there were a lot of opportunities that San Diego had. You could see the frustration on Philip River’s face. You’ve been around long enough in the NFL, you know that if you don’t cash in when the opportunities are there and you do let a team hang around, usually you’re going to end up paying the price at some point and that’s what happened to San Diego. They deserved to win that game – except for the fact that they didn’t deserve it by not making the plays that they had available to them.

“I commend Michael Vick,” Beuerlein continued. “He stepped up big. I felt great for him because of all that he’s been through the last few years and all the negative attention that he’s been getting because of his inability to find a way to lead a team. And here he is in crunch time in a big game, national TV, and he steps up and does it. So you could see the relief on his face when it happened. I was happy for him.”

The Steelers (3-2) host the Cardinals (4-1) this Sunday at 1 p.m. ET.

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