Tony Romo returns to the Dallas lineup when the Cowboys play at Miami on Sunday.
He hasn’t played since fracturing his left collarbone against Philadelphia in Week 2.
Without him, the Cowboys (2-7) lost their next seven consecutive games.
Digital Access For Only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
Is it too late for Romo to rescue the Cowboys?
1. The Romo factor
The Cowboys found out how difficult it is to win in the NFL without a quarterback. That changes this week with Tony Romo, who will try to keep the team’s dwindling playoff hopes alive. There might be rust and timing issues that come with being off for seven weeks, but his emotional lift for the team might be enough for a start.
2. Backfield in motion
Running backs continue to come and go. Darren McFadden remains the starter, but expect to see more of rookies Rod Smith and Trey Williams. Newly acquired tailback Robert Turbin could be an option, too, but he’ll likely need more time to get acquainted with the offense.
3. Dez watch
Dez Bryant had a forgettable game last week in Tampa Bay. He dropped a critical third-and-1 pass and also didn’t give a strong effort on the final offensive play that turned into an interception. Bryant has to become the difference-making receiver everybody knows he can be, especially if the Cowboys want to make a serious push for the playoffs down the stretch.
4. Defense matters
Sean Lee returns to the lineup and should give the defense a boost. But the bigger question is, how will the Cowboys fare should cornerback Morris Claiborne not be able to go? Claiborne has been a pleasant surprise this season, and much of his duties will fall to rookie Byron Jones.
5. More takeaways
The Cowboys finally got two takeaways last week when safety Jeff Heath found himself in the right place to catch a couple of deflected passes. Those two takeaways weren’t enough, but it’s certainly a step in the right direction. Takeaways remain the top priority for a defense that has only gotten six so far this season.