Tony Romo: When Will The Cowboys Move On? ⋆
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Tony Romo: When Will The Cowboys Move On?

Dak Prescott, Tony Romo, Inside The Star

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Tony Romo: When Will The Cowboys Move On?

Dak Prescott and Tony Romo… these guys are taking over the news cycles lately. I thought about that, but I just don’t see anyone saying the things I’m thinking. The so-called quarterback controversy in Dallas; the situation is nowhere near as convoluted as some would have you believe.

Dak Prescott said it best; This is Romo’s team.

Like it or not, he’s not wrong.

But there is a lot to like about Dak Prescott, and not nearly enough to like about Tony Romo lately. Romo has taken snaps in what, half a dozen games since the 2014 Divisional Round in Green Bay? Give or take a couple of preseason games. And what a heart breaker that was, and continues to be. It only serves to further exacerbate the issues with Romo’s health. Tough to get the taste out of our mouths.

Dak Prescott has looked good — great at times — since he’s been with the Cowboys. And very few deny it.

I’m as hitched to the Dak-mobile as anyone. But I’ve also been a fan of Tony Romo’s since 2005. Yes, since before he took over for Drew Bledsoe. I’ve cheered and screamed, cursed and bit my nails… he’s made some seriously boneheaded plays over the years. Like Joseph Randle extending an unprotected ball over the goal line again boneheaded, or Terrance Williams staying in-bounds and killing any chance to salvage the game boneheaded.

But I’ve seen what he could be, always. All the trash throws, poor decisions, and heart attacks I’ve endured at the hands of Tony Romo, and I never lost sight of what he’s capable of. I’ve never lost faith.

Why? Because the man simply does what is needed.

He’s become smarter, more accurate, he maybe even added a little to his arm. He is the quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys. But damn; just a few games and a twice-broken collarbone and broken back. I’ve shaken my head over this from the playoffs to the signing of Butt-Fumble. It just doesn’t make sense for one man, in a sea of other men taking the same risks, to suffer so many injuries, does it?

There’s an argument to be had that he’s just old, that Tony has aged out of football. You could also say he’s taken such a beating over the years, his body is just done. I couldn’t tell you which is which, nobody could. His last three injuries were only highlight worthy because it was Tony Romo getting hurt. Nobody saw the hits and expected him to come up lame. But he did.

So now everyone is asking — and by asking, I mean speculating wildly, of course — what happens when Tony Romo returns?

Well, what does happen? Does Tony Romo take his job back, or has his absence done enough to warrant losing his job? I know if I don’t show up to work more than 5% of the time for over a year, my ass is canned. But I don’t work in the brutal environment of the NFL.

So when does Dak Prescott earn the right to boot Tony off the field?

The answer isn’t complicated. I can ask the question over and over again, but that’s just posturing for the medium here. Ask 100 Romo fans and they’ll mostly all say the job is still his. Ask 100 Romo haters and they’ll say he lost it when the Cowboys recorded a 4-12 season.

Right now, Tony Romo is the starting, franchise quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys. It would take retirement to change that. Or death. Dak Prescott hasn’t won anything, he’s merely done better than expected for his position, his experience, and in the spotlight of the Dallas Cowboys football team.

I’m excited to see him play each week, and I explode in cheers for things I was just used to Tony Romo doing every week.

And therein lies the problem. Complacency.

We dismiss Romo’s accomplishments out of complacency during the team’s longest Super Bowl dry-spell. We dismiss his steady hand, and quick thinking for the spectacle of watching a rookie QB not suck.

But when Dak Prescott takes a snap, more than half the excitement we feel is just newness, and novelty. We just haven’t seen him do these things before. That’s no reason to place the little he has done over the volumes of highlight reels bearing Tony Romo’s name.

No reason at all.

The fact of the matter is, Tony Romo was playing the best he’s ever played in 2014, and was sidelined due to injury. Did Patriots fans call for Tom Brady to be benched when he busted his knee? No.

Did Pats fans praise Matt Cassel as the new savior of the franchise when he won games while Brady was injured? Nope.

Romo has barely missed more time than Brady that year, so it’s a valid comparison. But maybe not. Brady suffered one injury, Romo suffered three. There’s certainly something to be said about the sense of fragility inspired by that little nugget.

Tony Romo has been a good player for this team, and he was nearing the top of his career’s mountain in 2014. Why else would we — as a fan base — take it so hard when he was first injured in 2015? Maybe we judge him a little harshly. Maybe we assign his credit to others too easily. Maybe we get too wrapped up in the excitement this rookie gives us by merely completing a pass.

And maybe Tony Romo’s body is done letting him play Superman for four months out of the year. But we don’t know that yet.

Dak Prescott has earned the right to be in the conversation, but Tony Romo has earned the right to end it. When he’s healed, Tony Romo will take to the field once more and captain this team. He’ll be given this shot because he’s spilled more blood for this team than most, and is still capable of playing high quality football. Perhaps his body isn’t capable of surviving the rigors of play, but he’s still got what it takes.

So he’ll be back, and we’ll all finally be satisfied the team has secured his replacement. We’ll be happy, overjoyed even, to see Dak training behind one of the modern era leaders at the quarterback position. For better or worse, Jerry Jones, Stephen Jones, and Jason Garrett make that a virtual certainty.

I accept that. You should too. Dak may have the skills and the poise, but no one can argue he has the experience, and that’s where Tony Romo beats him in this fictitious national competition we see each day. There is no competition. Knowing when to put the ball on a target still trumps being able to put it on the target.

But I will say this… If Tony Romo comes back and cannot last the remainder of the season without breaking a bone, his chances take a major blow.

If Tony Romo suffers another injury, misses any more games this season, in 2016, it is unlikely the team will continue to have confidence in his body to carry the weight of their investment. This team rests on his shoulders a little less this year, as long as Dak Prescott performs, but it’s still on Romo’s shoulders. That won’t change as long as he is able to do the job.

And all you must do to understand why, whether you like him or not, is look at what the man has done over the years. Look at him, look at the things he has personally done. From the botched snap against Seattle a lifetime ago, to the pass Dez Bryant failed to secure, and every pass, hand-off, dive, spin, shuck, and jive in between.

Tony Romo is still the quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys, and I accept that.

Bryson Treece

Nothing gives me greater joy than the experience of being a Dallas Cowboys fan come time to check another victory on the schedule every Sunday. I live Inside the Star everyday and blog on it occasionally, as well. Follow us on Twitter - @InsideTheStarDC

6 Comments
  • Jeff Cook

    I have also been a Romo fan since he took over as the starting QB and would love to see him come back healthy and lead the Cowboys to a SB victory because he really deserves a ring for all the blood and bones he has spilled for our team. That being said I have a bad feeling his body is telling him enough is enough and I have a feeling if Dak has another solid game and we beat the Bears Sunday then we will put Romo on IR with return which might not be a bad thing, that would allow him more time to fully heal and get ready for the playoffs plus that would give us another roster spot to bring in another pass rusher since Gregory is now gone for most of the season if not all of it

    • https://insidethestar.com/ Bryson Treece

      I have that feeling as well. If it hadn’t been broken bones every time, these last three, maybe it could just be coincidence and circumstance, but I think his body may be done taking the abuse. And I love Dak Prescott… the kid has something special. I didn’t want to make it sound otherwise in my article. This was the most exciting preseason I’ve ever witnessed, because of him. But I still believe in my heart that Romo has the job the day he’s ready to do it. I just don’t think he’ll be able to go long without another broken bone. I hope, though. Thanks for reading, Jeff!

  • Nick Brunson

    69.3 comp % / 7.5 yards per attempt / 96.8 passer rating
    62.7 comp % / 6.9 yards per attempt / 83.1 passer rating

    One of those stat-lines is Dak Prescott’s.
    The other is that of Brandon Weeden from last year.

    One of those guys got shut down in Dallas after three games.
    The other, we’re ready to handover the keys to the franchise.

    Here it is again, with an extra stat so you can guess who is who.

    69.3 comp % / 7.5 yards per attempt / 96.8 passer rating / 5 TDs 2 INT
    62.7 comp % / 6.9 yards per attempt / 83.1 passer rating / 0 TDs 0 INT

    Bryson, to echo some of your thoughts – Dak Prescott has played admirably for a rookie 4th rounder making his debut. He was thrown into the spotlight unexpectedly, and he’s handled himself very well. But he is still much more of a prospect than he is a starter. He represents hope for Dallas at the QB position beyond the Tony Romo era, that’s more than could be said a few months ago. But Dak is not yet a difference-maker.

    Sunday’s game at Washington mostly followed the same script as the week before, and the same script as 10 games from last year – Offense moved the ball well between the 20’s, but squandered red-zone chances, and the defense was unable to make key stops in the 4th quarter. But something went off-script against the Redskins that lead to Dallas winning that game – Defense. They stood up and made the key stops, including a red-zone interception. Defense was the difference maker, not Dak.

    Bottom line – when Romo is healthy, he still gives Dallas the best chance to win. And it’s actually a better scenario for Dak and his development. We don’t know how much quality football Romo has left, but whether it’s 2 games, 4 games, 10 games, or 2 years – the more Dak can watch Tony run this offense, the better he’ll be long-term.

    Time will be the teacher, as always. My prediction is that, when the Cowboys are 2-4 coming off the bye, as the Defense was not able to duplicate what they did in Washington, we’ll be pumping the breaks on Dak and we’ll be rooting for Tony once again. We’ll be excited to see him take the field because we know he’s a difference-maker, we know he has the ability to overcome poor defensive play (he’s done it his entire career).

    As a Cowboys fan, I’m excited that there’s now a plan for the next 10 years at QB, and I do believe Dak will develop into a difference-maker. But right now, still Tony’s team.

    • https://insidethestar.com/ Bryson Treece

      This all day. Thanks, Nick. Excellent comment.

    • Rick

      And what would Dak Prescott’s stat line and rating look life if Dez and Cole Beasley didn’t drop those 2 touchdowns he threw to them in week 1 Nick? It seems that the obsessed Romo fans (that can’t accept the fact that he will never be healthy for an extended period ever again) are desperately clinging to this Dak hasn’t thrown a TD pass yet nonsense. I’m seeing it everywhere. It’s so foolish! As if Dak completing a pass inside the 10 and handing off to Zeke or Morris for the touchdown isn’t worth the same 6 points as if he would have thrown it to them. As if when he ran the ball in Sunday it wasn’t worth the same 6 points as a TD pass.

      I guess these obsessed Romo fans must have hated Aikman. Since in the 90’s the team mostly ran the ball into the endzone (just like they have the first 2 games this year). Because Aikman didn’t get huge TD pass totals they must have thought he sucked. All Romo’s franchise record gaudy stats = 2 career playoff wins. Now the guy can’t go more than 2 games without breaking a bone. Nobody should have any faith in his health at this point. He couldn’t even last 3 drives into the preseason without getting hurt.

      Also analyzing stat lines after 2 games is laughable. Especially since Dak can’t catch the ball for the receivers. That was Dez and Beasley’s job in week 1. If they did their jobs in that game the team would be 2-0. You also wouldn’t be posting this ridiculous stat line comparison after week 2 if they just caught the passes they dropped. Romo will not last 3 weeks when he returns. How many more times do people need to see this guy get hurt before they accept the fact that he is done?

      • https://insidethestar.com/ Bryson Treece

        @Rick said: “can’t accept the fact that he will never be healthy for an extended period ever again”

        Really? Are you psychic? Because unless you are, the future is never a fact. You may very well end up being right about this, as I noted in my article, but because nobody knows what will happen next for a fact, the Cowboys are going to play him. The only fact is what you fail to grasp — these coaches are loyal to their players. Garrett may be too loyal, actually. So right or wrong, Romo will return when healthy.

        As for the rest of your comment… might help if you got past the stat line and focused on paragraphs surrounding it. Can’t bold in comments, and I won’t yell it, but “line” and “paragraphs” should be in bold.

        I appreciate the feedback, Rick. I just don’t think you’re looking at the big picture. The team will do what they want, not what they should. It’s not a secret what they want. Thanks for reading.

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