IRVING, Texas– One thing Jason Garrett rarely does is give comparisons. Whether it's two players, two games or two seasons, the Cowboys' head coach always refrains from comparing.
But it'll be hard for even Garrett to ignore the similarities that face his team moving forward.
The franchise quarterback goes down in Week 2 of the regular season with a fractured collarbone, forcing the backup into action for more than a handful of weeks as the Cowboys try to keep their heads above water until the starter can return.
What the Cowboys are facing now is actually nothing new, and it's extremely memorable for Garrett.
Although he called it "lifetimes ago," Garrett actually was the quarterback that came in for an injured Troy Aikman in Week 2 some 17 seasons ago. Aikman missed six weeks, and just five games, of that season, prompting Garrett into action.
The Cowboys went 3-2 in those games with both losses (at Chicago, vs. Oakland) finishing with 13-12 scores. Garrett casually remembered all of his games, including an impressive Monday night road win over the Giants that included two touchdown returns by Deion Sanders, who also hauled in a long pass from Garrett. In addition, the Cowboys defeated Carolina at home and Washington on the road.
"I remember I was playing, excited about the opportunity," Garrett said, referring to five of his nine career starts. "So, I love playing football. We were better with the other guy playing, though. I've got to admit it. He's pretty good."
And just like Aikman was a better option for the Cowboys, the same obviously goes for Tony Romo. But just as the Cowboys had no other choice but to turn to Garrett in 1998, the club has to now rally around Brandon Weeden, who came in Sunday to complete all seven passes, including a 42-yard touchdown pass to Terrance Williams.
Last year, Weeden played well in a backup role against the Redskins when Romo went down with a back injury. But in his first and only start of the season, he struggled against the Cardinals, completing just 18-of-33 passes for 183 yards, one touchdown and two picks (55.5 passer rating).
"The Cardinal game wasn't a great game for us, and that was collectively," Garrett said. "And they were a good football team. They were playing well at that time. He was part of that loss, but he wasn't the reason for that loss. So you try to look at the whole body of work, what we liked about him coming in, what he did for us, and you say, 'We like Brandon Weeden.' And we wanted to give him more opportunities to be in this offense. I think he grew in the offseason. I think he grew in the preseason. He played well with his opportunity (Sunday)."