IRVING, Texas – Matt Cassel got to Dallas last week in time for two practices before being the inactive third quarterback this past Sunday against the Falcons.
A week since his trade from Buffalo, the 33-year-old Cassel should have a better grasp of the Cowboys' offense as the days and weeks go on.
"He's working hard at it," head coach Jason Garrett said when asked about Cassel's introduction to the scheme. "He's a smart guy. He's an experienced guy. I think it comes to him quickly."
On Sunday, the Cowboys kept Kellen Moore active over Cassel as the only backup to starter Brandon Weeden, who's replacing an injured Tony Romo (fractured collarbone). It's uncertain whether the team will carry two backups on the 46-man game day roster this week against the Saints.
This is Cassel's fifth team in 11 seasons, so he has adjusted to new systems before.
How does the coaching staff gauge his progress?
"Just a lot of different ways. You ask him to call plays – 'Give me a play call,' 'What's the adjustment?' – like you're a teacher," Garrett said. "You're constantly asking him questions, and you're trying to put him in situations as best you can to see what he knows. (He) did a lot of work with the two-minute stuff with the coaches last week during the defensive period, those kinds of things.
"He's run a lot of these plays. He knows these concepts. As much as anything else, it's learning the terminology and learning the nuances of the system."
Moore is adjusting to the scheme, too, having initially joined the Cowboys' practice squad the first week of September after the Lions waived him. He spent two years working under Cowboys offensive coordinator Scott Linehan (2012-13) in Detroit.