This is an exciting time to be a Dallas Cowboys fan. After last season, when the Cowboys could not by a win during Romo’s absence, they have been nothing short of dominant under rookie QB Dak Prescott. Dak is 4-1 as the Cowboys starter. He is eight interception-free passes away from Tom Brady’s record of most passes without an interception at the start of an NFL career. He has thrown 155 passes and has yet to be picked off. His 69% completion is fifth highest in the NFL. His threat as a runner helps to keep defenses at bay and opens lanes for fellow rookie sensation Ezekiel Elliott (who happens to be the NFL’s leading rusher).
Meanwhile, Tony Romo, the holder of most of the Cowboys’ records at the quarterback position and one of the league’s elite quarterbacks over the past decade, is on the mend. You have to figure he has the week 6 Eagles game penciled in as a possible return date. The Cowboys face off against the Packers this coming Sunday, then have a week 7 bye. Then, the Eagles.
Owner Jerry Jones has said that when Romo returns, he is the guy.
But there are rumblings and misgivings about that, what with the outrageous success Dak is enjoying. The kid is playing like a grizzled veteran with serious skills and a decision-making prowess. And he is winning. And winning. And…
So, what is Jones, Jason Garrett, and company to do? You can bet there would be serious backlash if they returned to Romo and lost a game, especially if Romo threw a crucial pick. Heck, there will be gnashing of teeth among Cowboys fans regardless the outcome.
Around the country, the growing sentiment is that the future is now and the Cowboys should just move on. Take this article from Nancy Armour in USA Today for instance:
Touching as Jerry Jones’ loyalty to Tony Romo is, it’s misguided.
Giving Romo his old job back has the potential to disrupt the Dallas Cowboys this season and would definitely hurt them in the long run. By sticking with rookie Dak Prescott and parting ways with Romo in the offseason, Jones would have the money to overhaul the Cowboys’ defense — the one thing keeping Dallas from being a Super Bowl contender.
Of course it’s unfair that Romo should lose his job through no fault of his own. But there’s no room for sentimentality in the NFL, and the reality is that his history, along with Prescott’s performance in his absence, has made Romo expendable.
Cameron DeSilva of Fox Sports is less committed to one answer or the other, as he lists four reasons to give Romo his job back and four reasons to stick with Dakota Prescott. He writes:
The rookie has certainly made the case for that to happen, but let’s not forget just how good Romo is when healthy. Sure, the Cowboys are 4-1 under Prescott, but Dallas won 12 games with No. 9 under center in 2014 with a similar game plan: run the ball and play bend-don’t-break defense.
What will Jerry do? I say “Jerry” because, let’s face it, this is his call. If he want’s Garrett’s opinion, he will give it to him.
I see but four possibilities.
As crazy as that sounds – and it does – there is actually some whispers along those lines. No less a source than the Dallas Morning News is stating that the Jets have floated the possibility of trading for Romo. They believe they have a playoff-caliber team, if only they had anything remotely resembling an NFL quarterback.
So after a bunch of ifs, here’s one more. If Romo were available, would the Jets be interested?
“If that becomes a possibility,” one league source told NJ.com, “yes. Absolutely. You have to. No questions asked.”
The Jets’ current starter Ryan Fitzpatrick has thrown 10 picks in four games. They also have Geno Smith, who has never shown he can be a reliable starter. Both are likely to be gone. NJ.com says: “That leaves the Jets with rookie Christian Hackenberg, and last year’s fourth-round pick Bryce Petty, as the only quarterbacks under contract heading into the 2017 season.”
I think Jerry’s greatest asset and most glaring weakness as a GM is his loyalty to star players. He would only trade Tony if Tony and he both felt it was a good move for Romo.
Keep Dak as starter, Tony as backup
Um, no. Not gonna happen. Tony is not going to be the rookie’s backup. Jerry won’t have it. Neither will Tony. They will just have to think of something else.
Insert Romo as starter and move Dak to backup QB
This is the second-most likely scenario. If Romo is cleared and declared healthy and ready to return, he will be reinserted as the starting quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys, with much thanks to Dak for holding down the fort while he rehabilitated his broke back. Dak will play the good soldier and say all of the right things, because, so far, he has shown that he is that kind of leader, that kind of man. And he will wait his turn.
Tony will nurse his injury while Dak plays out his hot hand
This, I believe, will be Jerry’s strategy. He will inform Romo that he is not healthy until, by golly, Dak comes back to earth. He will avoid the controversy altogether. If Dak has a rough landing, throws some bad picks, loses a game or two, then. voila, Romo will be healthy and ready to return. Like magic.
Not a minute before.
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