As the Dallas Cowboys continue to thrive and win with rookie quarterback Dak Prescott starting in place of the injured Tony Romo, it makes one wonder if the team can be more patient with Romo’s return from a fractured bone in his back.
Romo is expected to miss at least the first six games of the season and hopefully return against the Philadelphia Eagles following the bye on Oct. 30.
That would put them right in the 8-10 week range that was initially diagnosed following the initial injury on Aug 25.
Romo’s health and the healing of the bone will be the major determining factor. But owner Jerry Jones allows that Prescott’s surprisingly strong play allows the Cowboys to be more conservative with Romo if necessary.
The Cowboys are now 2-1 under Prescott following Sunday’s 31-17 victory against the Chicago Bears. Prescott completed 19 of 24 passes for 248 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions. His quarterback rating of 123.6 was a season high.
He has now thrown 99 passes over the first three games with no interceptions.
“We can be, but that has several aspects to it,” Jones said. “One, we can be sitting here with more wins because Dak has played.
“And so those wins will give you a little more conservative time frame if you looked at Tony’s condition. Under no circumstances would he go out there if there was risk. Let’s get that real straight. But as far as the ability to give him more time, medicine wants more time, and they’ll tell you, well, he’ll be better off two months from now than he is today. Medicine says that and we all accept it. But I think the fact that he’s playing well, and if playing well gives us a chance to have another win that we wouldn’t have had if he wouldn’t have played well, all of that would enter into the decision.”
The Cowboys are riding a two-game winning streak under Prescott and could stretch it to three games against the San Francisco 49ers (1-2) next Sunday.
The key games are Oct. 9 against the Cincinnati Bengals and Oct. 23 at the Green Bay Packers.
If the Cowboys can get to the bye with 4-2 record or better then there will be need to rush Romo back.
Jones said Romo will play when he’s ready but acknowledged Prescott’s play means “You can be more conservative as to when he’s ready.”
Jones said Romo is improving every week and the Cowboys will be have a better feel for the healing over the bone over next few weeks.
“We want to make sure that he’s risk-free from anything permanent,” Jones said. And that should be relatively soon. And that’s it.
From that point forward it’s just how it’s functioning and how it feels.The first and most important thing is he risk-free as to this particular injury – as to any long-term injury. You hear such things as bone heals and such. The minute you get that then it will be just up to his ability to function.But we’re very strong on the first part, and should be, and he is too but we wouldn’t dare put him out there with a risk.”
While Prescott’s play has those outside the Cowboys wondering if there is a chance the rookie quarterback can keep the job even when Romo returns, that is not consideration inside the organization.
The Cowboys are just happy they are winning games without Romo, considering they went 1-11 without him last year and are now 12-24 without him since 2006. Prescott is keeping them in the race and is giving them a chance to make a run when Romo returns.
“I think we’re different than we were last year,” Jones said. “But the two guys that were pump-fisted in the training room a minute ago was me and Romo, be because we’re getting some wins in that win column, so when he gets back we won’t be looking uphill at it as much as we experienced last year.”
“I just hope that he would just continue to play like he’s playing,” Jones continued. “And I mean he’s just playing better by any account in my mind than he did the proceeding week. I just think that you couldn’t have a team be in better shape in the NFL if you had a serious luxury of having two quarterbacks that you could really be successful with.”