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Tony Romo to Injured Reserve: Pros and Cons

Jess Haynie

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Cowboys Blog - Tony Romo Discusses Faith And Football With The Village Church

There is plenty of debate swirling around quarterback Tony Romo and how the Cowboys should handle his latest injury. The recovery period for his fractured vertebrae has been given everything from 4-10 weeks.

Cowboys Blog - With Tony Romo Hurt, Should Brandon Weeden Start?The Cowboys have the option of putting Romo on Injured Reserve but then bringing him back after eight weeks. They could also just leave him on the 53-man roster, inactive on gamedays, and keeping the option to bring Romo back at whatever point he can go.

There are plenty of a factors to consider when determining how you want to handle Romo's status. Here is a summary:

Roster Spots

If Dallas doesn't put Romo in IR then it will tie up a roster spot. It means one of your other positions won't be as deep, or that you may have to risk losing a talented young player from off your practice squad.

Consider one of their raw talents like running back Darius Jackson or tight end Rico Gathers. Dallas would probably like to keep both on the roster to avoid another team poaching them. But that roster spot occupied by a recovering Romo would likely cost one of them that protection.

Cowboys Headlines - Jameill Showers Won't Go Away QuietlyQB Conundrum

As of the writing of this article, Dallas has yet to add any new quarterbacks. Right now they only have Dak Prescott and Jameil Showers active and able to play. They held a workout with free agent Austin Davis yesterday, but not deal has been made yet.

If Dallas wants to keep Romo off of IR then, early in the year, they may actually have to carry four quarterbacks! Prescott would start and then Davis or some other veteran would be added. However, they may then need to keep Showers on the roster while the veteran addition has time to learn the offense.

Personally, I have no problem with Showers being Dak's backup now and going forward. I think he's shown himself to be a capable player and his style of play would make for an easy transition if he had to come in for Prescott.

Last year, Dallas traded for a veteran backup QB who checked every single box. Matt Cassel was as good a backup option as you could ask for on paper, but we all saw how that turned out. It's hard to ask any player to just walk in and play without spending one training camp or preseason with a team.

Conservative Treatment

Last year we saw what happened when Tony Romo tried to come back quickly from an injury. He lasted one-and-a-half games.

Of course, this is an entirely different injury to a different part of the body. One has nothing to do with the other. However, it's still a glaring reminder of what can happen if you try to rush things.

If Romo is placed on IR then he would miss at least seven games. He would be out for Week 1-6 and then be able to start practicing. Week 7 is Dallas bye, essentially giving the team a bonus game with Romo once he returns.

If they think Romo needs at least 8-10 weeks of recovery then there's no question that you put him on IR. It would be a waste of a roster spot otherwise.

The only question is how much everyone feels he can really come back closer to that 4-6 range. If he only has to miss a quarter of the season, or even less, then you probably want to leave you options open.

Cowboys Headlines - Schedule Breakdown For Dak Prescott Through The Bye

Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

The Dak Factor

At this point everyone agrees on one thing; Dallas may have something really special in Dak Prescott. Maybe they want use this time to see just what the kid has.

A couple of games may not tell you everything. The aforementioned Austin Davis or a guy like Matt Flynn have all made millions off a few great games. But increased exposure reveals the truth.

Seven games is plenty of time to learn what Prescott is. You will know for sure if you need to keep scouting mid-round quarterbacks in the next few drafts or if you already have the future in place.

What's more, seven games is enough time for Prescott to potentially earn the starting QB job from this point forward. If Prescott is a rookie phenom and the team is winning with him, how do you justify bringing Romo back in? Seven games of evidence is enough to sell the majority of people that you're making the best decision for the franchise.

Obviously, none of us are rooting against Romo. But ultimately we root for the Cowboys and whatever's best for the team. Ask a Patriots fan if they lose any sleep over what happened with Drew Bledsoe and Tom Brady.

~ ~ ~

The decision to be made here is difficult. It has multiple layers; medical information, loyalty to players, team performance, and others.

Cowboys Headlines - Tony Romo to Injured Reserve: Pros and ConsWhat scares me is the idea that Romo will push to come back. That could be for his love of the game and desire to play, but also the fear of being the new Drew Bledsoe. Romo has already been quoted that he sees himself playing a few more years. We assume he wants those years to be in Dallas, and Prescott is now a threat to that goal.

Putting Romo on Injured Reserve would mitigate that risk. It would give him a full 10 weeks between the date of his injury and the earliest point that he could play again, with nine games still to go in the season.

What's more, if takes a huge monkey off the back of Dak Prescott and the coaches as they try to get through the games during his absence. It would eliminate the "when's Tony playing" question from everyone's minds, setting a firm timetable. As much as I believe in Prescott's ability to handle pressure, why pile on?

Granted, I don't know how realistic the possibility of Romo coming back by Week 3 or 4 truly is. If they think there's a legitimate potential then I guess I can't fault them for wanting to keep the option open.

However, if the 8-10 week recovery time is the more realistic timetable then I think the team's best decision is to put Tony Romo in Injured Reserve. Relieve some of the pressure off your rookie QB and force your veteran to put his health over all other concerns.

Clearly, it's not an easy choice.



Cowboys fan since 1992, blogger since 2011. Bringing you the objectivity of an outside perspective with the passion of a die-hard fan. I love to talk to my readers, so please comment on any article and I'll be sure to respond!

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Michael Jackson Could Make Things Interesting at Nickel Corner

Matthew Lenix

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Michael Jackson Could Make Things Interesting at Nickel Corner

In a passing league, you can never have too many bodies in your secondary. By the fifth round of the NFL Draft in April, the Dallas Cowboys had addressed both their offensive and defensive lines, as well as the backup running back position. It was time to add more depth at cornerback and with the 158th pick Michael Jackson was selected.

Currently Anthony Brown has the inside track to be the lead dog at that Nickel Cornerback, but his play has dropped off before in the past. Jourdan Lewis is right behind him still trying to find his place in the team's defensive system. Jackson is in the perfect position to make his move up the depth chart, and here are a few reasons why.

First, he has all the measurables needed to succeed in the Cowboys defensive scheme. At 6'1 210 pounds, with a 40.5-inch vertical, 32.5-inch arms and 4.4 speed he's definitely an early Christmas present for Defensive Coordinator Rod Marinelli, and more specifically Defensive Backs Coach and Passing Game Coordinator Kris Richard. Long and physical corners are what built the infamous "Legion of Boom" in Seattle under his watch.

His ability to be effective in press coverage is a huge tool in his bag. He does an excellent job jamming receivers at the line of scrimmage. So much so, that quarterbacks only completed 5 out of 18 passes on go routes against Jackson last season at Miami. Good for a passer rating of 54.4 and a completion percentage of 27.7, with no touchdowns allowed.

Lastly, his versatility brings his skill set full circle. In addition to playing in the slot, he can also line up on the outside. This gives the Cowboys insurance if something catastrophic happens to the team's starters Byron Jones and Chido Awuzie. It doesn't stop there, however, as his stature gives him the added bonus of transferring to safety if need be. So many possibilities to work with.

The rookie hasn't wasted time impressing Kris Richard as the preparations for the upcoming season have kicked off.

"Very pleased with him. Intelligent. Picks up a lot of things quick. I think he's got corner and nickel combo ability for us. Obviously, the more you can do, the more value you present for yourself," Richard said.

As training camp approaches, Michael Jackson has his opportunity to compete. Every snap must be played like it's his last if he wants to be a big contributor in 2019. There's no lack of skill, only experience, and reps, which he'll get plenty of in late July until the season starts. The stage is set for him to possibly add his name next to starting Free Safety Xavier Woods as another late round steal for the Cowboys secondary.



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Michael Gallup is Primed for Breakout Sophomore Season

Matthew Lenix

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Michael Gallup is Primed for Breakout Sophomore Season 1

Heading into the 2018 season the Dallas Cowboys had big questions at the wide receiver position with the departure of Dez Bryant. They elected not to go for the flashy names like Maryland's D.J. Moore or Alabama's Calvin Ridley, but instead took Colorado State Wide Receiver, Michael Gallup 81st overall.

Even without the hype of other bigger named receivers coming out of college, Gallup's resume was enough to impress Head Coach Jason Garrett. "There's a lot to like about him. He's big, he's athletic, he plays the game the right way. He's been a productive player for them, doing a lot of different kinds of things. We feel like he has real upside, too. A lot of qualities that you want in a young receiver, in a developmental receiver. But a lot of production, too. He had opportunities there and took advantage of them throughout his career," Garrett said.

Once the season started, however, it was apparent that it would take some time to build the chemistry and trust with Quarterback Dak Prescott. The lack of a true number one receiver wasn't doing the first talent any favors as he tried to figure out his role on the team. Gallup would be targeted just 15 times in the first 5 games, only registering 6 receptions. But fortunately for the newbie, help was on the way.

During the team's bye week in October, they acquired Amari Cooper from the Raiders in exchange for a first-round pick in the 2019 draft, and it worked wonders for Gallup and his development. Weeks 11 through 14 saw him targetted 27 times. This was significant considering the Cowboys were in the midst of a 5-game winning streak after a 3-5 start. Prescott's trust and belief in Gallup were starting to come together as the team made a run at the NFC East crown and a playoff berth.

He would finish with 33 receptions for 507 yards and 2 touchdowns. Once the postseason rolled around Gallup had firmly established himself as the team's second option behind Amari Cooper.

Gallup would make his first playoff start in the divisional round against the Rams in Los Angeles. Although the Cowboys season wouldn't survive this contest, one of the positives was the play of the first year pass catcher. He finished with 6 receptions for 119 yards, and a tidal wave of momentum heading into 2019.

There's a major change coming to the Cowboys offensive philosophy this season, thanks to newly promoted Offensive Coordinator Kellen Moore. The new puppet master of the offense has made it clear he's open to listening to suggestions from the players and staff on what they feel will take the offense into another orbit. "At the end of the day, work together with everyone. I think that includes the coaching staff, obviously coach Garrett and the rest of his staff. I think you also got to get some input from the players. It doesn't mean you have to go down those roads all the time, but I think it's important that when a player believes in something and they're pretty convinced on it, usually they find a way to make it work," Kellen Moore said.

With a season already under his belt with Prescott, and an open-minded first-year offensive coordinator willing to abandon the prehistoric ways of the Scott Linehan era, Gallup's development will only improve with each snap.

Unlike the beginning of his rookie season, Michael Gallup knows exactly what his role with the Cowboys is going forward. Amari Cooper is the main option, and with him drawing double teams regularly, the opportunities for Gallup to have a major impact in year two are endless. Not to mention, the added addition of Randall Cobb to the Cowboys passing game just made life even easier for him. Now teams not only have to roll coverage to Cooper, but the threat of Cobb in the slot creates a lot of one-on-ones on the outside for Gallup.

The size, speed, and athleticism are all there for this young man. Now, with a more innovative offensive scheme coming into play, and growing trust between himself and Dak Prescott, the 2019 season is shaping up to make Michael Gallup a household name.



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Is Amari Cooper the Most Important Contract for Cowboys to Finalize?

John Williams

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Amari Cooper has Final Say on Trade Compensation in Cowboys Win 3

Most of the offseason contract chatter, once DeMarcus Lawrence's contract was signed, began to focus on the next group of stars due for big-time money, most notably Quarterback Dak Prescott. For good reason as the quarterback is generally regarded as the most important player on the team. While Prescott has been important to the team's success over the last three seasons, few players made as much of an impact on the 2018 Dallas Cowboys than Amari Cooper.

The Dallas Cowboys front office is working on deals for Prescott and Cooper. Both will get new contracts at some point before they're scheduled to hit free agency in March of 2020, but one could argue that getting Amari Cooper's deal done is more important than Dak Prescott's.

Prior to the arrival of Amari Cooper, the Dallas Cowboys offense struggled and was inconsistent. In the seven games prior to the trade that brought Cooper to Dallas, the Cowboys went 3-4 and scored more than 20 points only three times. In wins over the New York Giants, Detroit Lions, and Jacksonville Jaguars they averaged 28.67 points per game, highlighted by a 40 point outburst against the Jaguars in week six. In their four losses on the season they averaged 13.5 points per game. Over the first seven games, they averaged 20 points per game.

In the nine games, the Dallas Cowboys played with Amari Cooper, the Cowboys averaged 22 points per game. They scored more than 20 points in all but three games; losses to the Tennessee Titans and Indianapolis Colts and a win over the New Orleans Saints.

If you remove the 40 point game against the Jaguars from the scoring average over the first seven games and the shutout loss to the Colts from the scoring average over the final nine games, the scoring average changes dramatically. Without the Jaguars game, the Cowboys only averaged 16.67 points per game in the other six contests, decreasing their scoring average by more than three points per game. Conversely, if you remove the shutout loss to the Colts from the scoring average over the last nine games, the Cowboys averaged 24.87 points per game. That's nearly a three-point difference.

Even if you remove the best (week 17 against the Giants) and worst (week 15 against the Colts) games of the final nine games from the scoring average, the Cowboys averaged 23.3 points per game. removing the best (week six against the Jaguars) and worst (week one against the Panthers) games from the first half of the season, the Dallas Cowboys averaged only 18.4 points per game in the other five games.

So Amari Cooper was worth between two and 4.9 points per game. That may not seem like a lot, but that's a huge difference in a league where so many games come down to a single score.

Amari Cooper has Final Say on Trade Compensation in Cowboys Win 1The impact offense as a whole is noticeable, but what about on Dak Prescott.

Dak Prescott only averaged 202 passing yards per game and had a passer rating of 87.4 with eight touchdown passes and four interceptions in the first seven games prior to Amari Cooper's arrival. Prescott only completed 62.14% of his passes in the first seven games of the season.

Over the final nine games of the season, Dak averaged 274 passing yards a game, threw for 14 touchdowns and only threw four interceptions. Prescott had a passer rating of 103 and completed 71% of his passes.

In the first half of the season, Prescott only had a passer rating over 100 two times, while he had a passer rating under 90 three times. Over the final nine games with Amari, Prescott had a passer rating over 100 six times and had only two games with a passer rating under 90.

Not only did Amari Cooper make a significant impact on the passing game, but the running game led by Ezekiel Elliott saw a dramatic increase in his production once Amari Cooper arrived.

In the first seven games of the season, Ezekiel Elliott averaged only 19 carries a game and 88.4 yards rushing per game. He was averaging 4.69 yards per carry. Through the air, Elliott caught 3.6 passes per game for only 25 yards with seven yards per reception.

After Cooper's arrival, Elliott got more opportunities and found more room to run as well. he averaged 21.5 carries per game, rushed for 101.9 yards per game. He more than doubled his receptions per game with 6.5 and averaged 49 yards receiving per game, nearly doubling his first half of the season totals.

It's no coincidence that the run and pass games saw increased production after bringing in one of the better young receivers in the NFL. The overall impact of Amari Cooper led to the Dallas Cowboys going on a 7-2 run to finish the season to win the NFC East. Prior to the trade, the team looked dead in the water. After the trade Dak Prescott looked like a completely different quarterback. The team was hitting big plays, converting on third downs, and scoring tons of points on the way to winning lots of games.

Dak Prescott is going to get his contract finalized, of that, I have no doubt. While I feel good about his upward trajectory as a player, I feel a lot better about it knowing that Amari Cooper is about to get a contract too.

Amari Cooper is an excellent talent. His route running precision makes opposing defensive backs look foolish and the separation he creates makes a quarterback's job that much easier. Cooper is like having Cole Beasley in Dez Bryant's body with sub-4.4 speed.

Just turning 25 years old, Amari Cooper is one of the bright young stars at the wide receiver position and is about to enter his prime. Unlike players like Dez Bryant, who rely on physicality and athleticism, Cooper is going to age much more gracefully as route running is one of those things that doesn't drop off near as quickly as athleticism. Just look at Jason Witten.

The Dallas Cowboys need to not mess around with Amari Cooper. Because having him for his prime and for the same timeframe that you are extending your franchise quarterback will make the next six years of their respective careers much more productive. The best way to take care of your franchise quarterback is to give him an offensive line to protect him. The second best way is to give him a wide receiver that can get open for him.

Amari Cooper is a quarterback's best friend and will be worth every penny he gets in a contract extension. In the Cowboys 2018 run to the playoffs, there were few players as important to that success as Amari Cooper. In this offseason of contract extensions and signings, few still, are as important to the Cowboys success as Amari Cooper.

Get him signed, so he can go play football.



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