Stephen Jones: Weeden should throw downfield more

Brandon Weeden has completed 29 of his first 33 passes in 2015. The quarterback's 87.9 completion percentage is tops of any quarterback to throw 30-plus passes.

Those passes, however, have almost all been short. Weeden has thrown just two balls more than 15 air-yards (0-2). The Dallas Cowboys' quarterback is averaging an NFL-low 4.8 air yards per pass attempt.

Executive vice president Stephen Jones knows that in the coming weeks, the veteran quarterback will need to push the ball vertical more to keep defenses honest and stop corners from sitting on short routes.

"I think Brandon is going to have to step up and show them that he'll go downfield with it and go to the outside receivers," Jones said during an interview on the Cowboys' Special Edition show on the team's official website. "I think there were some opportunities there for him in the second half (vs. Atlanta) that he conservatively decided to pass on that we're probably going to need to start going to as we move forward or we're going to continue to see it get tighter (inside the box).

"He's got the skill set to do it. Brandon's got a really live arm. He's definitely got the skills to do it."

Captain Checkdown has throw 42.4 percent of his passes to running backs through two games -- compared to Tony Romo's 25 percent in 2015. Weeden has targeted his receivers on just 27.3 percent of passes and tight ends on 30.3.

Owner Jerry Jones believes receiver Terrance Williams and tight end Gavin Escobar should both have bigger roles in the offense moving forward with Weeden under center. Jones specifically mentioned that Escobar should be part of any solution with Dez Bryant still on the shelf.

"Escobar does it differently, but he's got a huge (catch) radius, which means a wide way to throw it," Jerry Jones said, via the Dallas Morning News. "Escobar, at 6-7, with a significant leaping ability and those arms should be able to contest balls right and left. That answers your question right there.

"He's certainly got the speed to get in the routes, so yes, I've always thought the real best answer for not having Dez out there is a combination of things, but included Escobar."

Weeden will face a dismal Saints defense with a banged up secondary Sunday night. If he's going to cut loose this season, this week would seem like the time to get started.

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