Matt Ryan and Julio Jones have Atlanta on the kind of roll that Tony Romo and Dez Bryant were enjoying with Dallas before long-term injuries sidelined both and clouded the team’s hopes of defending an NFC East title.
The Cowboys managed to win each time after Bryant went out in the opener with a broken right foot and Romo was lost a week later with a broken left collarbone that will cause him to miss at least seven games.
Ryan and Jones, meanwhile, are leading the NFC in yards passing and receiving for the Falcons, who didn’t get their third win until November last year after waiting even longer in 2013. But they have a shot to get there Sunday against a depleted Dallas offense.
That depleted offense is a potential opportunity for former Boise State quarterback Kellen Moore, who could be activated for his first NFL game. Brandon Weeden, who has lost eight straight starts, is expected to start, while media reports indicate Moore will play backup while recently acquired Matt Cassel learns the offense.
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“Kellen’s been working hard to get himself ready,” offensive coordinator Scott Linehan told the Dallas media. “All this news with the new QB we’ve acquired (the trade with Buffalo for Cassel) we’re excited about but the guy we acquired three weeks ago we’re excited about, too.
“We’re excited to see (Moore) be in position to play as well. We’ll see how that shakes out weekly.”
Terrance Williams is the Cowboys’ top receiving target with Bryant out. Williams and Weeden paired up for a clinching 42-yard touchdown after Weeden came on in the third quarter of last week’s 20-10 victory at Philadelphia.
“I think his command is significantly better, I think he learned from his experiences playing last year,” coach Jason Garrett said. “He had a really good offseason for us, a really good training camp. I think a lot of that has to do with his comfort level with the system and with the guys around him.”