Just as things return to normal for Tony Romo, the schedule is about to change everything.
The Dallas Cowboys play two games in five days and three in 12 days, with concern from outside the locker room about how the quarterback’s injured back will hold up.
Romo, though, has bought into Jason Garrett’s mantra of one day at a time, one practice at a time, one game at a time. Next week is next week, Romo said.
“It’s really about this week and getting ready for the Giants,” he said Wednesday of Sunday night’s game at New York. “Once that game is over, I’ll set up a different plan and talk to trainers and coaches, and we’ll go from there. But this week, it’s not about thinking about next week at all. You’ve got to get yourself ready to play in this one game and against the Giants. This is a very important game, a big game for us.”
While the Cowboys returned to practice after their bye week, Romo stuck with his usual routine and used Wednesday as a rehab day after the morning walk-through. He expects to practice Thursday after an 11-day break since the team’s last game.
“In some ways, you’re always going to have a routine you have to do just for coming off the back surgery,” Romo said. “I’m constantly having to do the things to give me the ability to do the stuff that I want throughout the week and play in the games on Sundays. Anytime there’s another thing that’s added just always makes little things here and there a little bit more challenging. I think you just understand that, and you go and figure out a way to get it done and get yourself ready to play.”
Romo, who had surgery Dec. 27 to repair a herniated disk, fractured two transverse processes in his back Oct. 27 against the Washington Redskins. He missed the loss to the Arizona Cardinals the following week but was back on the field for a 31-17 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars in London.
Romo went 20 for 27 for 246 yards, three touchdowns and a 138.8 passer rating in London, prompting Giants coach Tom Coughlin to proclaim Romo healed.
“The 138 quarterback rating in the last game will do that for you,” Coughlin said in a conference call Wednesday.
The fractures in Romo’s back aren’t fully healed, and Romo couldn’t put a percentage on where it is. He’s not 100 percent, but he’s better.
“It’s improving,” Romo said. “I don’t think you pinpoint a day that says, you know, ‘It’s completely changed,’ but it just continues to evolve and change each day that goes by. Hopefully, it will be a nonfactor here shortly.”
As big a factor as running back DeMarco Murray has been to the Cowboys’ 7-3 start, they need Romo. The loss to the Cardinals showed them as much.
Romo hasn’t gotten nearly enough credit for the Cowboys’ success, with his 107.2 passer rating ranking second in the NFL to Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers.
Romo’s numbers put him on pace to rank in the top five in Cowboys’ single-season history in completion percentage (68.8), average gain (8.34), touchdowns (18) and passer rating.
“He’s had a really good year,” Garrett said. “He’s responded well with the adversity with his back. We talk about being your best regardless of circumstances, whatever circumstance he’s been in, somehow he’s found a way to fight through it. He’s led our team well.
“I think he functions really well in this scheme. Any of the evolutional part in our offense, has been positive. He’s embraced that. Obviously, we’re a better offensive unit around him. We’re better on the offensive line. We’re running the ball better. All of those things are good. But he’s had a huge part in orchestrating all of that.”