The Dallas Cowboys are leaning toward playing Tony Romo in Sunday’s game, but injuries to the offensive line will help make the final determination, sources said.
Left tackle Tyron Smith will not play against the Eagles after aggravating his right knee against the Lions on Monday night. Smith, who also has played through a back injury, made it through 42 of 57 snaps last week. Emmett Cleary, who has 20 career offensive snaps, likely plays left tackle.
Left guard Ron Leary, who didn’t practice this week, is questionable. Joe Looney, who has served as the extra offensive lineman this season in the team’s Jumbo package, would start in his place.
The Cowboys promoted Ryan Seymour off the practice squad, and he said he has worked at center, guard and right tackle this week. He has taken 169 career snaps.
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Thus, the Cowboys want to be cautious with putting Romo — injured in three of the past five games he has played, including the preseason — behind a makeshift offensive line.
ESPN reported Friday morning that Romo would play for the first time since Thanksgiving Day 2015.
Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said coaches will meet Saturday to formulate their final plan for playing time.
“Tony, like with all of our players, we haven’t made those determinations,” Garrett said. “The team has done a really good job of staying locked in on what we need to do.”
The Cowboys will make all three quarterbacks active for the first time this season, with Dak Prescott making his 16th start of the season. Third-stringer Mark Sanchez, inactive the past six games, also is expected to play.
“Tony got some work; Sanchez got some work; Dak got some work,” Garrett said of practice reps for the quarterbacks this week. “Guys at other positions got a lot work.”
Romo fractured his left collarbone for the second time in 2015 during the Thanksgiving Day game against the Panthers. In the third preseason game, on Aug. 25 at Seattle, Romo fractured a bone in his back.
You get to go against an elite quarterback in practice, and it makes you better. To see him back and playing, it’s fun and it’s infectious.
Cowboys linebacker Sean Lee, on going against scout-team quarterback Tony Romo in practice
During Romo’s nine-game absence this season, Prescott won the starting job. Romo has served as Prescott’s backup the past six games, working as the scout team quarterback during the week.
“He’s been unbelievable,” linebacker Sean Lee said. “It’s so fun to go against him every day in practice because of how good he is, how savvy he is. You get to go against an elite quarterback in practice, and it makes you better. To see him back and playing, it’s fun and it’s infectious.”
Garrett said there’s no question about whether Romo wants to play.
“He’s a great competitor,” Garrett said. “I’ve been around him for a long time. You see him compete in practice. He loves to play football.”