The Dallas Cowboys are already facing an uphill battle to make the playoffs. No team since 1990 has started the season 2-6 and reached the playoffs.
The Cowboys are hoping to become the first, and feel the best way to do so is by having Tony Romo return as early as possible from a fractured left collarbone. That remains the Nov. 22 game at Miami, and owner Jerry Jones made it clear that he sees no reason why that won’t happen.
Even if the Cowboys lose at Tampa on Sunday, extending their losing streak to seven games and falling to 2-7, Romo is expected to return on schedule.
“When he gets on the field against Miami, and it most assuredly will be at this juncture, there’s no set of circumstances that we wouldn’t play him and play him with hopes of winning that game and winning the rest of the ballgames,” Jones said on 105.3 The Fan on Tuesday. “I think not only our game but sports in general, if you’ve got an opportunity, if you got a chance to win this thing, then you take it.
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“I know I’m talking in generalities, but specifically, we have a team that could really, from the standpoint of the personnel that’s on the field, really be a top team as we get into the last half of this season. We want to show our fans that.”
The Cowboys started the season 2-0 with a healthy Romo, who was coming off a career year in 2014. But they have been a reeling team without him, losing four one-possession games over their six-game skid.
But the hope remains that the Cowboys can make a late-season push and win a weak NFC East division. They are two games out in the loss column against the division-leading Giants (5-4), and are also two games back in the loss column to the Eagles (4-4). They are one game back of the Redskins (3-5).
“We haven’t looked at the rest of the league, but we’ve been doing math as far as the rest of the division,” Jones said. “Your players aren’t doing that. Your players are aware, but they are focused on the preparation for Tampa in this case.
“But certainly to the extent that we know if we won out or win a significant part of these games, we know that the same things have impacted us could impact any of these teams ahead of us. But all of that is conjecture. You know, teams have injuries. Teams have various challenges along the way and that could happen to anybody that’s ahead of you right now, New York or some of those, and they could start playing at a level that gives us a shot.”
The reports on Romo, meanwhile, have been positive. He continues to make progress and will take part in practice for the second consecutive week, most likely beginning Thursday.
Romo worked with the scout team in team drills last Friday, and is expected to do so again when he practices this week.
“We’ll probably keep him limited and not throwing three consecutive days,” coach Jason Garret said on Monday. “But we should get a couple good throwing days in. He had a good practice on Friday.”