Saturday, November 12, 2016

The longer Tony Romo remains below the threshold for a starting quarterback fitness, the better for the Dallas Cowboys, who can avoid the situation of having to choose between Romo and Dak Prescott, so far leading the team to the best record in the NFC.

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Who would have imagined a no-Romo Cowboys team doing so well? In seasons past, Romo not playing was almost like a death sentence to the team’s season. But after a narrow loss on opening day against the New York Giants, the Cowboys haven’t stopped winning. Ezekiel Elliott has been the best running back in the league behind that helpful offensive line, the defense has done a very good job in the bend-but-don’t-break tradition, and the Cowboys seem to be adjusting the gameplan week in and week out with terrific results. Oh, and a soft schedule hasn’t really hurt.

Against the Pittsburgh Steelers tomorrow (Sunday) it’ll still be Prescott. Romo still isn’t 100% from his preseason back injury. Every day there seems to be a story about how Romo is on the verge of coming back, but that may be more about the media and reporters trying to stir some s*** up with the team that’s always more interesting than everyone else. For now, despite being back in practice, Romo is listed as questionable, and it’ll be very surprising if he makes an appearance against the Steelers. After that game (in Pittsburgh), we’ll probably be treated to more Romo or Prescott music.

While earlier in the season the words coming out of the Cowboys brass made it clear this was Romo’s team once he was back, things have changed drastically. Prescott has become a lot more than a rookie quarterback who just hands off the ball to Elliott & Morris or keeps things simple. He’s running more, he’s taking more risks, and the Cowboys keep winning. Prescott has a fantastic 104.2 passer rating and 82.8 QBR according to ESPN, throwing 12 touchdown passes to just two interceptions. He has also run for 4 touchdowns out of his 31 carries.

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Now, it looks like the Cowboys are preparing Romo for a backup role through the media: Any athlete who has played a team sports wants to contribute. At the same time Tony’s the consummate team player and I think if it meant as part of the process with Tony going into games as a backup then, I don’t want to speak for him, but my guess would be that he would.

The arguments are clear for both sides. Romo might be the franchise quarterback, but why tinker with something that has been working so well? Still, there are many who think that a healthy Romo gives the Cowboys the best opportunity to succeed in the playoffs this season. Even if he is fragile, his ability to make plays and his overall experience give him an edge over Prescott. Prescott has proven he can be the next QB for the Cowboys, but once Romo is healthy, he should make way after doing well beyond anything anyone imagined when they drafted Prescott, at least this soon.

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