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QB Matt Cassel - Dallas Cowboys

6-5, 230Born: 5-17-1982College: USCDrafted: Round 7

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Photo: Kevin Hoffman, US Presswire

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Week 12: vs Carolina Panthers

All QB vs CAR

Mark and Joe say: Tough matchup. Tony Romo got back under center last week, and the Cowboys won a game! He wasn't perfect (18/28 for 227 yards passing, two TDs and two interceptions thrown) but he was good enough to get the 'W'. Terrance Williams (four targets for 4/79/1 receiving) and Dez Bryant (nine for 4/45/1) celebrated his return with TDs, while Jason Witten glided to a three for 2/27/0 performance as Romo threw to the wideouts mostly in Week 11. We'll see how the passes are distributed here in Week 12, but at least the passing game has some vertical element in Dallas again. The Panthers' pass D is ranked seventh in the NFL averaging 228.3 net passing yards per game, and they have more interceptions (15, best in the NFL) than TDs allowed (12). The Panthers have 31 sacks, tied for third-most in the NFL, while Dallas is tied for 16th in the NFL with 22 sacks allowed. Over the past four weeks (four games), this team is ranked in the middle of the NFL regarding fantasy points allowed to opposing quarterbacks (20 on average, 18th in the NFL); 15th in fantasy points allowed to opposing tight ends (9.3); and is 19th in the league in fantasy points given out to opposing wide receivers (20). Last week, Kirk Cousins managed 22/30 for 172 net passing yards, one TD and one interception while taking five sacks for -35 yards. This is a tough matchup for the Cowboys' reborn passing attack.

Recent Stats and Projections

8 vs SEA 59 13 25 97 0 0 4 43 0 0 9.15
9 vs PHI 78 25 38 299 3 1 2 17 0 0 25.65
10 at TB 54 19 29 186 0 1 1 2 0 0 7.5
12 vs CAR PROJ-Tremblay * 0 0 * * * 0 * * * *

Recent Game Summaries

2015 Week 10 vs TB (19 / 29 / 186 / 0 / 1 pass, 1 / 2 / 0 rush)

In what was likely Cassel's final start before Tony Romo returns in Week 11, the field continued to shrink for the veteran backup against Tampa Bay. Cassel rarely looked downfield, opting to throw underneath, play it safe, and avoid the back-breaking mistake. The run game was not a successful focal point, putting Cassel consistently in obvious passing situations. Two quality throws stuck out for Cassel, both to tight ends on intermediate routes. Cassel found Gavin Escobar down the seam to convert third-and-long. Also, Cassel converted another similar situation to Jason Witten on a deeper out route. The rest of the game Cassel struggled to be a positive influence. On a rare Dallas opportunity in the red zone, Cassel held the ball on third down, taking a sack, and forcing a field goal. Late in the game Cassel had a pass tipped at the line of scrimmage and the fluttering ball dropped by a defender - an easy interception. As Dallas had one last gasp to win the low-scoring affair, Cassel targeted Dez Bryant deep in the end zone, against one-on-one coverage, only to have Bryant lose track of the ball and an interception end Dallas' chances.

2015 Week 9 vs PHI (25 / 38 / 299 / 3 / 1 pass, 2 / 17 / 0 rush)

Cassel limited his mistakes compared to previous outings, but periodic errors and missed opportunities cost Dallas a win against Philadelphia on offense. On the bright side Cassel made a Tony Romo-like off-script play, finding Terrance Williams for a long touchdown after spinning away from a sack attempt. An offensive pass interference penalty unfortunately negated the play. In critical moments, however, Cassel continues to be a limiting factor of the offense. Cassel stared down a receiver on the perimeter, leading to an interception returned for a touchdown. Earlier Cassel killed drives with a third down sack and throwing behind an open Dez Bryant on a routine crossing route. Dez Bryant's impact was a significant boost, but Tony Romo's return in the coming weeks is the missing piece to unlock the Dallas offense for any potential playoff push.

2015 Week 8 vs SEA (13 / 25 / 97 / 0 / 0 pass, 4 / 43 / 0 rush)

Cassel continued to struggle as the Cowboys starter. This week against Seattle saw the return of Dez Bryant, but the impact was minimal. Cassel continued to shrink the field with short-range passing within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage and consistently throwing in front of the first down marker. Dallas' offensive line performed well in pass protection and Cassel even scrambled for two sizeable gains in the game. Cassel and the offense stalled in field goal range regularly, but had an opportunity to win on the final drive with one minute remaining with a field goal. Cassel took a critical sack on third down followed by a failed jump ball attempt to quietly end the game. Cassel will be the limiting component of the Dallas offense until Tony Romo returns.

2015 Week 7 vs NYG (17 / 27 / 227 / 1 / 3 pass, 1 / 4 / 0 rush)

Brandon Weeden ran his course as a limited option under center for the Cowboys. Against the Giants, Matt Cassel did not prove to be any better. The offensive line exceled, paving running lanes reminiscent of last year's dominant performances, but Cassel struggled. His lack of arm strength was noteworthy as even intermediate throws required a clean pocket and loading up to get the ball to the perimeter. All three of Cassel's interceptions resulted from poor decision and arm strength limitations. The most glaring came on an ill-advised deep shot to Terrance Williams, floating short like a punt. On another occasion, Cassel made a poor comeback route throw to Williams resulting in an interception returned for a score. In the middle of the game three straight Dallas drives ended with a Cassel interception. Cassel rebounded, keeping Dallas in the game late, with two accurate throws outside the pocket on a touchdown drive. He found Williams then Devin Street rolling out salvaging an otherwise lackluster performance. Without a strong run game, Dallas loses this week soundly has Cassel, like Brandon Weeden, limits the passing game, shrinks the field, and hurts the team routinely with poor decisions and execution.


Latest News

Cowboys | Matt Cassel practices in full Friday (Fri Nov 13, 04:35 PM) - Dallas Cowboys QB Matt Cassel (knee) fully participated in practice Friday, Nov. 13, and he is listed as probable for the Week 10 game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

link to story   

Cowboys | Matt Cassel fully practices (Thu Nov 12, 08:02 PM) - Dallas Cowboys QB Matt Cassel (knee) fully participated in practice Thursday, Nov. 12.

Our View: Cassel isn't great but he's not bad—and is a nice QB2 start this week against an improving Tampa Bay defense.

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12vs Carolina Panthers
13@ Washington Redskins
14@ Green Bay Packers
15vs New York Jets
16@ Buffalo Bills
17vs Washington Redskins