The Dallas Cowboys have continued to thrive without Tony Romo, and have found themselves with a controversy on their hands as to when, or even if, the veteran play-caller will return to his starting job to replace Dak Prescott. Recently, the signals from the team seemed to point to the game against the Cleveland Browns as the earliest time he could see the field, and many believed that was now being targeted for the decision to be made. But a report on Sunday from national NFL writer Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports states that Romo is still not cleared for practice, and would take even longer to be ready than recent expectations.
While Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo has made considerable progress in his return from a preseason back injury, he has yet to be cleared to practice fully and could require another MRI to do so, according to sources. To this point his MRIs have pointed to on-target healing, but given Romo's prolonged absence, more time will be required.
The logic here is that it will take more than one week of practice for Romo to get ready to play after sitting out so long. And the team still has to get Prescott ready for any game in the meantime, so it may require more than one week of taking basically second team reps to have him ready for a full week of game prep.
This would not be without its benefits, of course. The success of the team in Romo’s absence means that there is absolutely no pressure to rush him back, something that clearly happened in 2015 when he came back as soon as possible to try and salvage something from the season, which turned out to be a foolish and costly idea. (Admittedly, he was fully on board with coming back as soon as he could.) But now, the team can afford for him to not only be completely healed, but take the time for him to work off as much rust as he can in practice. Meanwhile, every game Prescott starts just adds to his experience base, which should pay off in the future.
There is a major caveat here, however. This is from a national writer and the local media has been stating that Romo was expected to start practicing this week. There is also a strange factual error in the piece.
Sources said there is no expectation Romo would be active even in a backup role for the Week 9 contest vs. the Eagles, and following that game, if the veteran is still on target, then coach Jason Garrett will face a decision on how he divides QB reps with the starting offense in practice.
The Philadelphia Eagles game is week 8, not week 9. If there was some confusion by La Canfora about just what game Romo was not going to be ready for, he may have things mixed up here. Without knowing exactly what his sources are, there is no way to know if this report is indeed accurate.
However, if Romo is indeed not cleared at this point, then the decision on who starts may be kicked down the road another week or two. And as long as Dallas keeps winning, that is not a bad thing at all.