Quarterback Tony Romo is three games away from returning to the reeling Dallas Cowboys.
But Romo will take a step forward this week by returning to practice on a limited basis for the first time since suffering a fractured left collarbone in Week 2.
Romo will do some light throwing in practice Wednesday and eventually work his way up to some scout-team work.
Matt Cassel will get all first-team reps in advance of Sunday’s game against the Philadelphia Eagles and the Nov. 15 matchup at Tampa Bay before Romo returns against the Miami Dolphins Nov. 22.
“We’re just talking about getting Tony some work in individual work, throwing the ball, maybe the scout team seven-on-seven. We haven’t firmed any of that up yet, but that’s what the preliminary discussions have been,” Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said.
“We’ll get into that as we go, but we’re trying to win the ballgame this week.”
The Cowboys have lost five consecutive games since Romo was injured against the Eagles on Sept. 20. He was placed on injured reserve/designated to return on Sept. 22. This is the first week he is eligible to practice. The earliest he can play is Nov. 22.
Romo has had no setbacks with his collarbone and he has been doing some light throwing on the side the past couple of weeks.
He will continue that in practice while ramping up his conditioning work.
The Cowboys have thrown three touchdown passes in the five losses without Romo, who threw three in the first two games.
Receiver Dez Bryant didn’t have the impact the Cowboys had hoped for with just two catches for 14 yards in his first game since suffering a fractured bone in the season opener.
But he played more than expected and should get better with more time on the field and more time with Cassel.
Not only did Bryant miss six games with the fractured foot, but his conditioning and timing are off.
He missed the majority of training camp with a hamstring problem and the entire off-season in a contract dispute.
“Anytime you haven’t played in six, seven months, there’s going to be some areas where you have to improve,” Garrett said. “Dez did a good job last week in practice getting better each of the days. He did some good things in the game. Hopefully he’ll benefit from that experience. Regardless how much you played, you still need to get yourself acclimated at playing in the game at this level again.”
The Cowboys came into the game planning to limit Bryant’s snaps. But after subbing for him early, the Cowboys let him carry a full load. Bryant played in 48 of 59 snaps against Seattle.
“We didn’t have a number in mind, but the biggest thing was for us to watch him and we all did that as a staff and substituted him when we thought it was important to do that, but he was handling the work fairly well,” Garrett said. “I think the encouraging sign for us was that he played as many snaps as he did.”
Byron Jones’ role
Byron Jones finally has a home as the new starter at free safety in place of J.J. Wilcox.
Jones, the 2015 first-round pick from UConn who came to the Cowboys billed as a potential impact player at cornerback and safety, started in place of Wilcox against Seattle.
Jones was one of four players on the team to play every snap on defense, recording three tackles and a pass deflection.
“He just does a lot of good things,” Garrett said.