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The Cowboys can still win without Tony Romo and Dez Bryant

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Brandon Weeden might not inspire much confidence under center, but the Cowboys can at least weather the storm while Tony Romo and Dez Bryant are out of commission.

The Dallas Cowboys are 2-0, but they will be spending at least eight weeks with Brandon Weeden at quarterback after Tony Romo broke his collarbone Sunday in a win over the Philadelphia Eagles.

Weeden, whose only extended experience as a starter came with the awful 2012-13 Cleveland Browns, doesn't just have to replace Romo -- he has to do it with limited weapons. Dez Bryant is expected to be out at least as long with his broken foot, and although Jason Witten is an outstanding tight end, he's also banged up.

"No one feels bad for the Dallas Cowboys because we've had a couple injuries," head coach Jason Garrett said Monday. "We don't even think about that. We just move on to the next task with the people we've got."

Team owner Jerry Jones, despite feeling "as low as a crippled cricket's ass" Sunday after Romo went down, is confident that the Cowboys can still win.

What to expect from Weeden

A 31-year-old in just his fourth season in the league, Weeden took over on Sunday when Romo went down with the injury. Weeden actually played well, completing all seven of his pass attempts for 73 yards and a touchdown, but is that the same guy the Cowboys will have going forward?

The last time Weeden saw significant playing time was with Cleveland in 2013, his second season in the league. He played in eight games, completing just 52.8 percent of his passes for 1,731 yards, nine touchdowns and nine interceptions. In his rookie season, he played in 15 games and completed 57.4 percent of his passes for 3,385 yards, 14 touchdowns and 17 interceptions.

Even with a paltry 5-16 record as a starter, it's worth noting that Weeden spent his time on a dysfunctional Browns team with a revolving door-like coaching staff. In his only start for the Cowboys last season, Weeden had an up-and-down day filling in for Romo, who was out with a back injury. Weeden went 18-of-33 passing for 183 yards and threw one touchdown and two picks as the Cowboys fell to the Cardinals, 28-17.

This time around, Weeden should have more time to get comfortable in the offense. It's his first chance to start more than one game since 2013.

"I think, given the time to reflect on it, I'm sure that Brandon has learned a lot from the experience he gained with the Browns," Garrett said Monday. "He's also gotten a lot of first-team reps in our system because of all the time Tony has missed in practices over the last couple years."

If he struggles, though, Dallas could turn elsewhere. Since the Cowboys were only carrying two quarterbacks on the roster, they'll have to find a new backup. For now, that doesn't appear to be former Cowboy Kyle Orton.

Orton was Romo's backup for two seasons and started one game after Romo underwent back surgery at the end of 2013.

What will Dallas' offense look like?

Weeden has a lot more stability than he did in Cleveland, and will be protected by one of the best offensive lines in the NFL. However, he faces the same glaring issues that Romo did at this point in the season: no Bryant and an uncertain running game.

Last season, Romo threw for 3,705 yards with 34 touchdowns and just nine interceptions. Bryant caught 88 passes for 1,320 yards and 16 touchdowns, while DeMarco Murray rushed for a league-leading 1,845 yards and 13 touchdowns. Now the Cowboys won't have any of them.

Weeden is working with skill players who can put up yardage, but are only effective some of the time. After boasting the second-best rushing team in the NFL last year, the Cowboys rank 20th at 94.5 yards per game in the early part of this season with Darren McFadden, Joseph Randle and Lance Dunbar at running back.

At wide receiver, Terrance Williams is currently the No. 1, with Cole Beasley and Devin Street next on the depth chart. Williams leads the way in receiving yards, but Beasley only has eight catches for 63 yards while Street has grabbed just one reception. Luckily for Dallas, Dunbar and Witten have been big contributors in the receiving game -- Witten leads the team with 15 receptions while Dunbar is second with 11.

Witten is a rock at tight end, but he's also a rock who's dealing with several injuries and is playing in his 13th season in the NFL.

"Jason hurt his ankle, then he hurt his other ankle, and then he hurt his knee, and I think he missed a play and a half," Garrett said. "He'd limp past us, we'd try to figure the right personnel package without him, and he'd run past back onto the field. He's a special human being."

If Witten can continue to be a major weapon in the passing game, he'll give Weeden a much-needed safety blanket.

The defense can help pick up the slack

It's still early, but the Cowboys' defense looks much improved from a year ago. In Week 1, the defense limited Eli Manning and the New York Giants to 193 passing yards and just 99 rushing yards.

The defense was even better in Week 2, holding Sam Bradford to 224 yards passing and a touchdown while intercepting him twice. The Cowboys also held former teammate Murray to just 2 yards on 13 carries. As a whole, the Eagles rushed for just 7 yards.

Through two games, Dallas' defense is ranked third in the NFL, a huge leap from its 19th-ranked unit in 2014. One major boost on that side of the ball has been the return of linebacker Sean Lee. A tackling machine, Lee has already recorded 23 tackles and a pick. If he stays healthy, they'll be in good shape against the run.

"Sean had 22 production points on Sunday, which is close to a record," Garrett said. "I don't want to get into the specifics of our grading system, but 22 points is an awfully good football game."

The defensive backs are also playing well, and the defensive line has shut down the run. This is despite the team being without top cornerback Orlando Scandrick, as well as top pass rushers Greg Hardy and Randy Gregory, due to injuries and suspensions.

Holding serve in the NFC East race

Despite the injuries, the Cowboys currently lead the NFC East with a 2-0 record. Both the Giants and Eagles -- the teams Dallas beat already -- are 0-2, with Washington owning a 1-1 record after a win over the St. Louis Rams in Week 2.

Romo's lengthy absence could have major implications in a division that has already looked a bit weaker than expected. Philadelphia is a mess after Chip Kelly made some questionable roster moves, Washington has Kirk Cousins at quarterback and the Giants can't seem to get consistent play out of their highly paid players. The division is nowhere near as strong as it was a year ago, when Dallas and Philadelphia both finished with double-digit wins.

It probably won't be smooth sailing for Dallas over the next two months. The Cowboys have a couple of winnable games on the horizon, but there are several tough contests left -- including against the New England Patriots, Seattle Seahawks and a rematch of the thrilling season opener with the Giants -- before Romo is expected back in November.

Yet, the Cowboys finding success with Weeden isn't totally out of the question. Behind a strong defense, a stout offensive line and in a down division, Weeden has more advantages than he's had in his entire NFL career. And he already has a head start with his team on top.

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