There is no truth to the rumor that Tony Romo arrived from on high into the locker room to meet the media Wednesday for the first time since suffering a fractured collarbone Sept. 20.
The Pro Bowl quarterback said he has no intention of playing the role of savior for the reeling Dallas Cowboys, who have lost seven consecutive games in his absence.
Yet, he refuses to back off the notion that his return for Sunday’s game against the Miami Dolphins (4-7) offers the Cowboys (2-7) a chance for a new life in what is seemingly a lost season
I think I want everyone to know we’re not done yet.
“I think no one thought we’d be in this position and, you know, we are,” Romo said. “You just have to accept that and understand where we are, and from here it’s mostly about winning one game, winning this week.
“I think right now we just need to understand that we’re getting started, and we’ve got to go do our job and do it to the best of our ability and start getting this thing on the roll.”
The task facing the Cowboys is daunting. No team has started 2-7 and made the playoffs.
But the Cowboys have hope in the mediocre NFC East, where they stand 2 1/2 games behind the division-leading New York Giants (5-5), and they have faith in Romo.
Getting a win against the Dolphins and getting on a roll with a strong finish would put them back in the playoff hunt. Romo has done his best to convey that message to his teammates.
That’s the main reason why he tweeted out a clip from the movie Major League on Tuesday. The lead character tells his similarly slumping team that “there’s only one thing left to do. Win the whole ... thing”
We certainly don’t want him to feel like he has to come in and save the day. When you have a great competitive spirit, sometimes you want to do more.
Cowboys coach Jason Garrett
“I think I want everyone to know we’re not done yet,” Romo said. “If I go out and do all of the small, little things to give me a chance not to be as rusty when you come back, I think that will allow me to play hopefully a decent game that gives us a chance. From there, I think our team gains confidence if you’re lucky enough to win and you keep going. Sports is a great thing. That’s it.”
Romo knows he can’t try to do too much in his first game back from the broken collarbone. There might be rust and timing issues that come with being off for seven weeks.
Coach Jason Garrett has Romo back on his Wednesday-off practice schedule. He’s also having conversations with Romo daily about not trying to play the role of Superman or savior.
“We certainly don’t want him to feel like he has to come in and save the day,” Garrett said. “When you have a great competitive spirit, sometimes you want to do more.
“He just needs to play quarterback for our football team. He’s done that well for us in the past. We anticipate him doing that on Sunday.”
The offense has sputtered and floundered the past seven games with Brandon Weeden and then Matt Cassel at quarterback.
The Cowboys averaged 322 total yards, including only 196 passing yards, in the seven games without Romo. Cassel and Weeden passed for fewer than 200 yards in three of those games. They have failed to score a touchdown in three of the seven games and have averaged only 17 points per game in Romo’s absence.
You win one or two games and guys are committed to their craft and playing as hard as they are, things can happen and it can happen quickly.
Romo’s return has already given the Cowboys an emotional boost in the locker room.
“I think he can energize us,” tight end Jason Witten said. “There’s no question he’s an elite player, and when you play that position, he does a lot of dynamic things with the ball.”
Cornerback Brandon Carr said Romo’s return definitely put some pep back in the Cowboys.
“He’s been gone a substantial amount of time and we’re just excited in the locker room to have our signal-caller, our playmaker back on the field and hopefully get some things going for us,” Carr said.
Romo said he felt helpless watching the Cowboys struggle without him. He also said the season can get turned around quickly.
“I don’t think that anyone in this locker room thinks by any means that the season is over,” Romo said. “You can tell by the way they play.
“You win one or two games and guys are committed to their craft and playing as hard as they are, things can happen and it can happen quickly. We have a great opportunity to still go out and accomplish the goals. We just have very little room for error.”
Cowboys at Dolphins
Noon Sunday, KDFW/4