Dallas OK without Romo?
Prescott, Elliott set up to lead out of the gate
When Tony Romo writhed in pain on the turf at CenturyLink Field, a collective pucker occurred all over the MetroPlex, however with Prescott Mania sweeping just as fast, many in Dallas feel they will be just fine.
After an MRI revealed Romo sustained a compression fracture of a vertebrae, sidelining him for 6-10 weeks, the reigns to the Cowboys offense were turned over to rookie quarterback Dak Prescott and first round draft pick running back Ezekiel Elliott. While much pressure will land squarely on their young shoulders, a veteran offensive line, and All Pro targets Jason Whitten and Dez Bryant will only help their learning curves.
No one every wants to lose the a franchise quarterback to an injury, but the timing could not have been much better. Prescott had already seen a majority of the snaps in preseason games, and now that he is the signal caller, Dak will get all of the remaining first team reps in practice.
Looking ahead to the Cowboys schedule, Dallas is fortunate regardless of who is behind center. A relatively easy schedule awaits. Assuming Romo is out six weeks, Dallas could benefit from waiting until their bye week to transition back from Dak.
Beginning Week 1 at home against a Giants team with a rookie head coach. Eli Manning adds another weapon in rookie reliever Sterling Shepard, and gets Victor Cruz back in the lineup. Even with Romo, this rivalry game is always a coin flip.
Week 2 at Washington, Dak’s first road start. FedEx Field isn’t exactly a hostile environment, and I suspect the Redskins will have a slight regression from 2015. Very winnable game.
Week 3, Dallas hosts the Chicago Bears who have looked like they have zero identity without Matt Forte, and the rest of the team has looked like warm garbage. Not even “Hot Garbage”, like room temperature garbage. Primetime matchup. I am sure NBC is loving the fact they have this game. Win.
Week 4 a trip out west to take on the 49ers. Speaking of garbage. Woof. Bad bad bad team right now. Win.
Week 5 home for Cincinnati. This is like the fifth consecutive “Make or Break Year” for Andy Dalton and Marvin Lewis, but the Bengals remain competent enough to remain relevant. Cincy will be down without Hue Jackson calling the plays, but this is a game Romo would usually shine. Probably a loss.
Week 6 at Green Bay. ARod and Jordy are back. Lacy is slimmed down but still a beast. The “Dez Caught It” memes will be out in full force, but so will the L’s that Dallas will catch here. Loss.
So going into the bye week, Dallas with Dak Prescott at the helm, is at worst 2-4, but 4-2 is not off the table thanks to some very winnable games against familiar opponents.
IF Romo is cleared to play, that Week 7 bye is a solid time to reintroduce him back into the lineup.
But what if Dak is lighting it up? Would Jerry Jones and the Cowboys sit a hot QB because the face of their franchise is back? We saw how it worked for the Denver Broncos in 2015, but then again Tony Romo is not Peyton Manning, and while very good, this Dallas defense is not Denver.
I was not really a fan of Prescott’s game at Mississippi State. That may just come from my udder distain for the SEC and schools who openly cheat, but in short spurts, he can contribute at this level. I don’t ever see Dak being a starter at the NFL level, nor do I picture him having long term success. Think Tim Tebow, flash in the pan, but if he is your plan, you better have a plan B ready.
Personally, I think it is time for Tony Romo to hang ’em up.
Romo went from undrafted to a multiple time Pro Bowler, but at 36, he simply cannot endure another 30+ sack season like he did in 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014 (technically only sacked 29 times that year, but still, that’s a lot of hits).
This marks his third back injury in four seasons, suffering a herniated disc in 2013 that required surgery, fractured his transverse process in two places in 2014 missing only 1 start, and now this compression fracture.
It is hard to tell someone when to walk away, but after 13 seasons, Tony Romo has little to prove to anyone. Sure there are haters, myself included, who will say, “He never won the big one”, few can debate he has been a star in this league and one that the Cowboys will have a hard time replacing.