IRVING, Texas – Unlike the first two games he's been with the team, veteran quarterback Matt Cassel expects to be in uniform Sunday when the Patriots come to town.
Cassel, a former backup to Tom Brady who once won 10 games during the 2008 season for the Pats, wouldn't speculate his exact role for this week, only that he won't be in street clothes.
"I'll be up this week. I don't know exactly how they're going to place me in the depth chart," Cassel said. "I felt I had a great two weeks. It was a good lead-in. I feel like I'm capable of running the offense at this point."
For the last two weeks, Cassel has been the third quarterback, and inactive against the Falcons and Saints. Kellen Moore has been the primary backup to Brandon Weeden as the Cowboys continue to play without injured starter Tony Romo.
After a week of practice, the word around Valley Ranch is that Cassel will be the backup to Weeden.
Cassel, who has 72 career starts, including 47 during a four-year stint with the Chiefs (2009-12), continued to run some of the scout-team plays this week, mainly because of his familiarity with the Patriots offense and Tom Brady.
Cassel also spoke of the first few seasons of his career when he backed up Brady, who was coming off three Super Bowl wins in a four-year span.
"He's a great mentor for me, especially as a young guy who didn't start at all in college," Cassel said. "To have a guy like that mentor you and teach you, it was huge for me. It helped me as a player. There's some guys who focus on the task at hand. It's hard to get in and help a young guy. He just came off his third Super Bowl, but he really took the time to explain things and bring me along."
While Cassel is hardly a young player now, he's still new to the offense. So he's been able to pick up some things from Romo.
"Well, he's been in and out, obviously rehabbing," Cassel said of the Cowboys' starter. "But I've picked up a lot just listening to what he's had to say in meeting. He's a smart player who has been in this offense for a long time."
Nick Eatman is the author of the recently published ****If These Walls Could Talk: Dallas Cowboys***, a collection of stories from the Cowboys' locker room, sideline and press box, with a foreword written by Darren Woodson.*