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Tony Romo: When Will The Cowboys Move On?

Bryson Treece

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Dak Prescott, Tony Romo, Inside The Star

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.



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

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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.

Player News

Cowboys WR Terrance Williams Facing Multi-Game Suspension

Jess Haynie

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Terrance Williams
Ric Tapia via AP

An arrest last May for public intoxication may finally result in a suspension for Dallas Cowboys Receiver Terrance Williams.

David Moore of the Dallas Morning News, who reported the pending suspension, outlined the details of Williams' case. Charges were ultimately dropped once Terrance completed an alcohol education course and paid damages to the city.

David Moore on Twitter

Sources: Cowboys WR Terrance Williams faces suspension stemming from May arrest for public intoxication https://t.co/3RmwQOllim via @sportsdaydfw

However, as Cowboys fans know too well, the NFL reserves the right to suspend players under the Personal Conduct Policy regardless of legal outcomes. The 2017 season was marred by the league's persecution of Ezekiel Elliott for domestic violence despite no arrests or charges coming from any legal or police entity.

In Williams' case, there's no dispute of his guilt. It is unlikely he will appeal any decision the NFL makes.

The potential that Terrance will be missing for 2-4 games helps explain the Cowboys' move earlier this week to bring back WR Brice Butler. With both currently active, Dallas has an unusually high seven receivers on their 53-man roster.

It's already Friday, so the suspension is doubtful to come for this week's game in Seattle. But Terrance could easily be one of the seven inactive players on game day, having received the fewest snaps of any Cowboys WR last week against the Giants.

We'll see soon enough, likely as soon as next week, just what the league has in store for Terrance Williams.



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Report: Dallas Cowboys to Sign Free Agent Wide Receiver Brice Butler

John Williams

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5 Bye Week Adjustments Cowboys Hopefully Made

The Dallas Cowboys look to be making a move at the wide receiver position as they attempt to bring some life to the position. No they aren't trading for Cleveland Browns Wide Receiver Josh Gordon, but bringing back former Wide Receiver Brice Butler.

According to a report from Saad Yousuf from The Athletic, the Dallas Cowboys are set to resign the former Dallas Cowboys wide receiver but first have to release someone from the 53-man roster.

Saad Yousuf on Twitter

Cowboys officials are in the process of signing wide receiver Brice Butler, multiple sources tell @TheAthleticDFW. The team has to make a roster move to bring Butler onto the 53 and is trying to decide whom to release to make room for Butler before a final decision is made.

Brice Butler was signed in the offseason by the Arizona Cardinals but was released after training camp. It was a surprising move for the Cardinals. They don't have a ton of wide receiver depth aside from future Hall of Famer Larry Fitzgerald.

Butler's caught 73 passes on 133 targets for 1,177 yards and eight touchdowns in his five career. In 36 games with the Dallas Cowboys Brice Butler caught 43 passes on 81 targets for 794 yards and six touchdowns. In his time in Dallas, he averaged 18.5 yards per reception.

He never really got a lot of playing time with the Dallas Cowboys who had Dez Bryant, Cole Beasley and Jason Witten on the team for the duration of his time in Dallas. The Cowboys coaching staff placed a higher premium on Terrance Williams' run blocking than Butler's big play ability.

To the coaching staff's credit, Butler was never a consistent enough player to be relied upon week in and week out. In 2017, his last season in Dallas, Brice Butler was never targeted more than three times a game and he never caught more than two passes a game. Butler, however, only played 24.51% of the Dallas Cowboys' offensive snaps in 2017.

If the Dallas Cowboys do make this move it's at a curious time. Sources tell 247 Sports' Mike Fisher that the Dallas Cowboys have zero interest at the moment in Cleveland Browns Wide Receiver Josh Gordon. You'd think their lack of interest would be because they still like the wide receiver room as it is.

If they do complete the signing of Brice Butler, you'd have to expect that Deonte Thompson would be the wide receiver on the chopping block. They cut him at the end of the preseason and then brought him back during week one.

This signing is unlikely to have an impact on the Dallas Cowboys week two matchup with the New York Giants, but will probably be completed early Monday to get Butler to Frisco to begin preparing for their week three matchup.

✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭

I don't think this is a move that makes a lot of sense for the Dallas Cowboys. They've been down that road before and haven't received the results they wanted. Brice Butler does offer some big play ability, but it was thought that is why they brought in Deonte Thompson and Tavon Austin. Is it possible the Dallas Cowboys are already down on those two players after one game? They wouldn't be bringing Butler back if they didn't have plans for him.

Good or bad, do you think bringing Brice Butler back is the right move for the Dallas Cowboys?



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Cowboys, 49ers Are WR Josh Gordon’s Preferred Teams in Trade/Free Agency

Sean Martin

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Cowboys, 49ers Are WR Josh Gordon's Preferred Teams in Trade/Free Agency

It's Sunday morning and the Cleveland Browns are expected to make a questionable decision by tomorrow, which is far from news for a Dallas Cowboys team waiting around for a crucial Sunday Night Football home game tonight. With Cleveland expected to part ways with troubled wide receiver Josh Gordon though, the Cowboys have understandably been linked to Gordon, even more so now with the talented pass catcher stating his own interest in America's Team.

Ian Rapoport on Twitter

As teams discuss potentially trading for outgoing #Browns WR Josh Gordon, I'm told he's got his eye on two in particular: The #Cowboys and the #49ers.

Before looking into this any further, it's necessary to point out an all-important missing detail. Without any reports of the Cowboys own interest in Gordon, the soon-to-be free agent is simply the latest player to say he'd like to play for the Cowboys - hardly anything new for the Jones.

The Cowboys need for a player like Gordon has never been more evident though. Heavily criticized throughout the offseason for how they handled their wide receivers, the Cowboys passing game was a non-factor in the team's 16-8 week one loss.

Signing or trading for Gordon could do little to fix this, but the risk may also prove worthwhile for Dallas. The Baylor Bears product did put up 1,646 yards in 2013 with minimal talent around him, and has a career 17.3 yards per reception.

His ability to take the top off a defense is something the Cowboys are sorely missing. What they won't miss from not acquiring Gordon is the off-field trouble, taking on a player that missed all of 2015 and 2016 due to suspension.

Last season,  Gordon was reinstated for the Browns final five games.

The NFL is, at least cautiously, easing their policy on players suspended for marijuana usage. Look no further than the Cowboys own Randy Gregory to prove this, as Gregory has already become a success story for the league by being with the Cowboys this season.

Whether or not Gregory plays on Sunday night (officially listed as DOUBTFUL) after suffering a concussion in his long-awaited return last week is yet to be determined. So too is Josh Gordon's future as the latest player on his way out of Cleveland.

Ian Rapoport on Twitter

From @gmfb Weekend: The #Browns plan to release Josh Gordon after he showed up late, injured his hamstring during a photo shoot, and in general completely lost their trust. https://t.co/cX2HGZPBXi

I'm of the belief that Gordon won't last long on the open market, meaning this won't be the latest Cowboys story/non-story to drag through the presses. Any fan looking to pass time between now and kickoff against the Giants could probably find me saying the same about free agent WR Dez Bryant however.

Thanks to Bryant still being a free agent along with former Cowboys kicker Dan Bailey, the team has looked smarter than expected in the long-term on moves like these.

If there's a smart way to bring on Josh Gordon, Dallas should be considering that too.

Tell us what you think about "Cowboys, 49ers Are WR Josh Gordon’s Preferred Teams in Trade/Free Agency" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!



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