After the 2015 season ended, it was clear to all that the Dallas Cowboys needed to have a better contingency plan in place should something happen to Tony Romo. In January, I wrote about four possible scenarios the Cowboys could face that were influenced by the combination of whether or not Romo was able to stay healthy and how good the rookie quarterback ended up being. As we reflect now, the Cowboys sit in great shape as they fell into scenario #2 where Romo went down to injury, but the rookie quarterback, Dak Prescott, ended up being something special. The team finds themselves in great position as they have reached 13 wins on the season, with one game still to play. And to add some icing on the cake, it appears they have found their franchise quarterback for years to come. It’s a great feeling.
The breakdown I did at the beginning of the year provided some perspective. It outlined some pros and cons that could result from each choice. With the possibility of Romo seeing some live action on Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles, it would be interesting to analyze some of the possible outcomes of such a decision. While it is unclear how many snaps Tony will get, here are four possible scenarios that could happen.
Scenario #1 – Sit Romo
What can you possibly gain by throwing Romo into a cold weather game in the exact same stadium he suffered a broken collarbone last season? The Cowboys have nothing to play for. With a third-stringer starting at left tackle to protect his blindside, so many things are stacked against him. It’s a recipe for disaster. Jordan Hicks would be licking his lips.
The mystique of Romo is great and all, but eventually you’re going to want to know how much value that ace in the hole actually has. Maybe he’s great. Maybe he’s not. This entire Cowboys football team is preparing themselves to get to a level where they can win a Super Bowl. Tony Romo is part of this team too so shouldn’t he also prepare? Can they just throw him in cold turkey and expect him to play at a high level. Maybe, but it’s possible that the extra work could have value.
But if they choose to sit Romo, there is one thing that is certain – he’ll enter the playoffs healthy. And in season’s past, that would be a huge luxury for the team and be music to our ears.
Scenario #2 – Romo plays and he tears it up
For over a month now, there have been many people who feel strongly that Tony Romo is the better quarterback. It’s very easy to accept such a claim. Romo finished with the best quarterback rating of the 2014 season and could come back and play the best football of his career. If that happened, what would that mean, exactly?
Well, it would mean that you have two quarterbacks that are playing great. It would also shake up the hornet’s nest that has been bothersome to Cowboys Nation all season. Why would you want to do that after things have finally simmered down? Fortunately for the Cowboys, all this chaos that has followed this QB ordeal is just outside noise. Jason Garrett calmly goes about his business when he decides what’s best for the team. And he would continue to do so. Romo showing signs of great play may create the appearance of throwing a wrench into things, but in reality it just would strengthen the team’s ability to make a deep run. It would be a good thing.
Scenario #3 – Romo plays and he stinks it up
This one is not as bad as it seems. For starters, a poor outing from Romo would add more confidence in the coaching staff that they’ve been right the whole time in sticking with Prescott. The chances are favorable that Prescott would be able to stay healthy during the playoffs to where the team wouldn’t even need to turn the keys over to Tony. But even if they did, Romo could just as easily light it up in the playoffs. You don’t have to reach too far to convince fans that Romo can have moments where he struggles only to suddenly flip a switch and play light’s out football. We’ve seen this first hand. So even a “rusty Romo” doesn’t mean that is what the team would be getting if he had his number called on in the playoffs. And if it is rust, it would be much better to knock it off in a meaningless game versus a crucial playoff game.
Plus, even if there is rust, having to resort to Romo is always going to give fans hope. There are a lot worse quarterbacks to have to rely on. Matt McGloin, Tom Savage, and Matt Moore to name a few.
Scenario #4 – Romo plays and he gets hurt
In Romo’s last five games he’s started, he’s suffered three different injuries that has caused him to miss significant time. That’s some incredibly bad luck. The “injury prone” term isn’t something that should be tossed around lightly, but with that type of bad luck and the fact that he’s 36 years old, it is not unreasonable to slap an injury risk label on him. Should he get hurt in limited action on Sunday, then there are only two possible reasonable explanations – he’s either fragile and can’t handle the physical nature of the game or…he’s the recipient of some type of Jessica Simpson revenge witchcraft sorcery shenanigans. Either situation means he’s not a quarterback that can be counted on. People will curse Coach Garrett for letting him go out there in a meaningless game, but you can’t blame coaches for people getting hurt in a game, especially in a game as brutal as football.
Everyone has their opinion as to what the team should do with Romo. As the team continues to work for ways to get better, it could mean throwing Tony out there to get some meaningful reps. It’s a risky move, but winning a Super Bowl is hard and it’s going to require the team to keep the foot on the gas if they are going to have enough speed to finish this race on top.