Count Dallas Cowboys legendary quarterback Roger Staubach among those who feel the organization should stick with rookie quarterback Dak Prescott for the time being.
Staubach has been one of the most vocal supporters of Tony Romo, but Prescott’s 4-1 start is too hard to ignore to make a change at this point. Staubach compared it to his playing days when he and Craig Morton were in a similar situation.
Staubach had led the Cowboys to a Super Bowl championship in 1971 and he separated his shoulder in the 1972 preseason. Morton entered and played well, which meant Staubach didn’t regain his job initially when healthy.
“When I came back healthy probably eight, nine games later, that was a 14-game schedule, Craig was winning,” said Staubach, who spoke Friday morning to about 600 Air Force cadets at AT&T Stadium.
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“We were winning as a team and I understood it. The momentum was there, you don’t want to mess around with the quarterback position and Craig was playing very well. So I didn’t really play very much until the playoff game against the (San Francisco) 49ers that year and I understood it. I understood I was still a good player and they’re still hopefully going to need me at some time.
“Tony’s going to heal. He’s going to be ready to play when they need him if something happens to Dak. I think Tony wants to win and he’ll do what it takes to win. If they keep Dak in there, if they keep the momentum going, I think he’ll understand that.”
Staubach paused briefly and smiled, adding: “[Romo] hasn’t told me that, by the way.”
Still, it’d be difficult to bench Prescott at this point. He has yet to throw an interception and is eight pass attempts shy of breaking Tom Brady’s record for most pass attempts without an interception to start a career.
Prescott has completed 69 percent of his passes, throwing for 1,239 yards with four touchdowns. He has also rushed for 61 yards and three touchdowns.
“I have some friends at Mississippi State that said, 'You guys hit a home run.' They said, 'You got Dak in the fourth round and he should have been in the first round,'” Staubach said. “I said, 'I don't know him,' and they said, 'Well, you wait and see.' And man, that was before the exhibition season, so they were right.
“What I see on the field is exceptional. He has great poise. He can sense what's going on out there and that's what's hard. Going from the college to the professional level, you really don't know for sure what a quarterback can do in those few seconds has to make a decision. Dak is very good at that and he's obviously a great athlete.”
But this debate isn’t going away anytime soon. Romo is getting closer to returning after sustaining a compression fracture in his lower back in the third preseason game at Seattle.
For Staubach, though, the decision wouldn’t be difficult with the way Prescott is playing. Ultimately, it is in the hands of the coach Jason Garrett and his staff.
“They know get a feel for the team and what the attitude is and what’s going on in that locker room,” Staubach said. “They don’t want to change that if it’s really good, and I’m sure it’s really good now cause we’re 4-1. So you just don’t mess around with that. You try to keep it really good and keep that momentum going.
“I think those decisions are going to be made based on that momentum and that feeling that is in the locker room. Right now, the momentum is great, evidently the attitude is good and we have a great quarterback in this young rookie named Dak Prescott. He’s a very exceptional football player.”