Tony Romo has missed all six games this season. Dez Bryant has missed three games. Orlando Scandrick has missed four games.
The Dallas Cowboys missed the three of them last season. This season, the Cowboys haven’t missed a beat.
“Yes, I’m surprised that we’re playing as well as we’ve played,” Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said after Sunday’s 30-16 victory over the Green Bay Packers. “I’m very surprised, but I’m happily surprised, and I want to give all the credit not only to the players, but of course, I’m particularly pleased with the job Jason Garrett is doing.
“We just want to keep this thing going forward, knowing in the NFL that the wheels could come off at any minute. So don’t want to get smug about this thing, but it feels good to see these young guys out here.”
The Cowboys played a combined 35 games without Romo, Bryant and Scandrick in 2015, when they went 4-12. This season, they are 5-1 heading into their bye week despite having had Scandrick for only two games — and not at 100 percent — and Bryant for three.
They also have played two games without starting left tackle Tyron Smith, three games without left guard La’el Collins, who is on injured reserve, and four games without defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence, who served a suspension to start the year.
“Every team is different, and you want to build the team the right way,” Garrett said Monday. “When you talk about building the team, it starts with the people you have and then what you do with them each day and the environment you try to create. You just try to strengthen your team by everything you do.
“But it starts with the guys you have on the team. You want to make sure you have the right kind of guys and you want to somehow, someway, build the bonds, get them mentally tougher to handle the different adversities that are inevitable in life and certainly the NFL. So we’re always striving to do that.
“What I thought we did a really good job of last year as a team was I thought we fought. I thought we battled; I thought we played hard. But ultimately we didn’t do what we needed to do to win ballgames. There was a lot for all of us to learn from that experience, and we’re still learning. We were determined to come back in the early part of this off-season, build the team that could handle and withstand the adversities that are inevitable in the NFL. We’ve tried to do that and will continue to try to do that each and every day.”
The Cowboys’ rookie class has answered the whistle. Fourth-round pick Dak Prescott ranks fifth in passer rating at 103.9; first-round pick Ezekiel Elliott leads the league with 703 rushing yards; and sixth-round pick Anthony Brown has held his own as the nickel corner.
“These young players have gotten plenty of opportunities, both in the preseason and the early part of this season to play,” Garrett said. “I think you have seen them get better day by day, week by week, and that’s an ongoing process. That’s our objective each and every day is to be better than we were yesterday. That’s what we try to put in front of our players, and they’ve responded well so far.”
The Cowboys should return from the bye closer to 100 percent.
Bryant, who returned to practice last week, had a scan on his injured right knee Friday and expects to play when the Cowboys return to action Oct. 30.
Lawrence had an MRI exam on his shoulder Monday.
Scandrick and Romo continue their rehabs this week.
Philadelphia at Dallas
7:30 p.m. Oct. 30, KXAS/5