No worries if it's Weeden

— -- IRVING, Texas -- Quarterback Brandon Weeden is 10 games under .500 as an NFL starter, and he has more career interceptions than touchdowns.

But if the Dallas Cowboys need him to play in place of Tony Romo on Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals, all hope is not lost.

Actually, it's better than that. He can succeed.

That's not to say you should expect a flawless performance. Or that he won't throw an interception or make a few poor decisions.

It means these Cowboys have enough quality offensive players that Weeden can play without any burden of winning the game on his arm alone.

He will benefit from the Cowboys' game strategy: Dallas is throwing the ball 50.5 percent of the time.

That wouldn't have been the case last year, when the Cowboys threw the ball 64.9 percent of the time.

These Cowboys rely more on DeMarco Murray and the offensive line than the right arm of Romo, who is recovering from a back injury sustained Monday against the Washington Redskins.

Murray is in the midst of a historic season and has a league-leading 1,054 yards on 206 carries.

"I've got great players around me, and that makes things a little easier," said Weeden, "because when you have so much confidence in the guys around you to make plays, it helps.

"When you get one-dimensional and you can't run it and you can't throw it, it's tough to win in this league. The nice thing about this team is we're pretty much 50-50 run-pass, and we're explosive in both of them."

Should the need arise, the Cowboys will ask Weeden to make some big plays in the passing game off run fakes and understand the adage that at any possession that ends with a kick is all good.

In Cleveland, Weeden briefly was deemed a savior as a first-round draft choice in a city that has been a quarterback graveyard for decades. (When Otto Graham, who last took a snap in 1955, easily remains the best quarterback in franchise history, it is an indication of how much the franchise has struggled to find a quality player at the most important position in team sports.)

Cleveland tried to give Weeden a running game with Trent Richardson, who was taken with the third overall pick in the same 2012 draft as No. 31 pick Weeden.

The Browns even gave Weeden a receiver, selecting troubled but talented Josh Gordon in the second round of the 2012 draft with a supplemental pick.

But there was considerable dysfunction within the Browns organization, and that almost never leads to success for an inexperienced quarterback.

So we shouldn't really be surprised Weeden was deemed a failure and released after just two seasons and posting a 5-15 record with 23 touchdowns and 26 interceptions.

But if Romo can't play Sunday, Weeden now is as prepared to play as well as he can possibly play, because he's probably getting more practice time than any backup quarterback in the league.

Romo has had two back surgeries in the past year, which is why he spends Wednesdays doing back strengthening exercises instead of practicing with the team.

That means Weeden gets a full practice once a week. More important, he's had a lot of time throwing passes to Dez Bryant, Terrance Williams and Jason Witten because he's not just doing scout team work.

Weeden's work in practice and his performance in 10 snaps against Washington -- he completed 4 of 6 passes for 69 yards and a touchdown -- has given his teammates real confidence that he can run the team if Romo is out.

"I liked his poise," Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said of Weeden's performance against Washington. "I thought he handled himself and the rhythm of the game well. He went in there, called the plays, handled the line of scrimmage, got into the right things and he looked like he was comfortable dropping back and making the throws. He handled the defense and threw to the right guys.

"He needs to play. He's 31, but he's still a young quarterback."

Weeden, a second-round pick of the New York Yankees, spent five years playing pro baseball before opting for football at Oklahoma State.

His age and life experience are why such moments shouldn't be too big for Weeden. All he has to do is trust his star-studded cast and let them make plays for him.