IRVING, Texas (AP) — Matt Cassel will start at quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys after Brandon Weeden lost all three of his starts in place of the injured Tony Romo.
The Cowboys are also promoting rookie guard La'el Collins, a projected first-round pick from LSU who wasn't selected because his name surfaced in the investigation of a woman's death days before the draft.
Coach Jason Garrett said Wednesday the move to Cassel was an attempt to spark a team that needs to win at least once, and probably twice, in the next four games without Romo, who will be out at least that long with a broken left collarbone.
The Cowboys (2-3) are on their bye and have about a week and a half to get Cassel ready to face the NFC East-leading New York Giants on Oct. 25.
"We just felt like we wanted to give Matt an opportunity to be in this role and see if we can get our offense going a little bit more and get our team going a little bit more," Garrett said.
In Cassel, Dallas is picking someone with more experience — and more wins. Cassel made 71 starts for New England, Kansas City and Minnesota and has 33 wins to just five for Weeden, although both have losing records for their careers.
The Dallas offense has posed little threat down the field with Weeden, and the running game has struggled with extra defenders closer to the line of scrimmage.
In their 30-6 loss to New England last Sunday, the Cowboys went without a touchdown for the first time since kicking six field goals in an 18-16 win over Washington in 2011. Romo played that game with cracked ribs.
"This position has an impact on the entire offensive unit maybe more than any other position and certainly has an impact on how the team is performing," Garrett said. "Sometimes that's fair. Sometimes that's unfair. That's the nature of this position."
Collins will replace Ron Leary at left guard and make his second career start against the Giants. He started in Week 3 against Atlanta while Leary was out with a groin injury. Collins was inactive for the opener and the past two games because he didn't have the position flexibility needed for a backup.
The Cowboys signed Collins as an undrafted free agent a few days after the draft. The former LSU player picked Dallas over Miami.
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