The thing that fans had hoped wouldn't happen has happened for the Dallas Cowboys. Franchise quarterback Tony Romo has a broken bone in his back and sources are estimating that he will miss from 6-10 weeks. That means on the optimistic side he might miss only a month if these sources are to be believed. Pessimistically, he could miss much more. And if he comes back, will he be able to hold up or will it inevitably happen again? So let's break this down into three questions.
QUESTION #1: Is Tony Romo Injury Prone?
This one is interesting because there are two schools of thought and people will try to sell you their own narrative.
FACT #1: Besides last season, Tony Romo has only missed two games in the previous four seasons.
FACT #2: Over the past three seasons, Romo has been hurt four times with only one of those instances being minor (2014, back injury – missed one game).
Yes, he had a rough season last year, but does that mean he’s a fragile quarterback who can’t stay healthy? Or is he just a victim of some fluky hits? But then when you examine the past three years, you’ll find that it might be a bigger problem than the data indicates. Sure, he only missed one game in 2013, after he suffered from a herniated disk against Washington, but that’s only because there was just one game left to play. Romo needed back surgery. Had that injury happened earlier in the year, he would have missed much more time.
Romo himself will try to convince you he’s okay, but it's hard to trust him. In the Washington game in 2014 he was given the "all clear" and returned to the game late in the fourth quarter, but it was obvious he was in no shape to play. Romo wants to be out there and believes he’s just fine, but the condition of the body often times calls the shots. Is he really okay or is he just being like Boobie Myles and trying to persuade the coaches to let him back in?
As for how much faith should be put into Romo’s ability to stay healthy, it's hard to know anymore. It’s getting to the point where fans are mentality preparing themselves for Romo not being around. Maybe I’m late in showing up to the party that has accepted this as the new reality for some time now.
QUESTION #2 : Should the team bring in a veteran backup quarterback?
While it's easy to feel content with how well Dak Prescott has played, he is now the team's starting quarterback. And with Kellen Moore also hurt, that leaves only Jameil Showers on the roster as the team's current backup quarterback. That's not a good situation. If you were worried about the Cowboys backup situation prior to watching Dak perform, you can't be feeling very good right now. It's back to square one.
The front office looked around a little bit after Moore was hurt, but they didn't find a quarterback they liked at the right price. There hasn't been anyone new to enter the equation since, so the pickings are still slim. However, the Cowboys depth chart has taken a hit so now the team might look for a player that can offer more as a backup than Showers
It should be interesting to see what transpires regarding this situation. Dak Prescott is a young player so he doesn't pose a huge risk to injury. Plus, for all intent and purposes, Romo could be back mid-season so the team only needs to count on Prescott for a set amount of games. Dak does likes to take off running and on any given play, he could get hurt so the Cowboys need to have a backup plan for their backup. Certainly, the don't want to relive the heinous ordeal that happened last season.
QUESTION #3: Can the team still win without Tony Romo?
If you have big expectations for your team winning a Super Bowl, they are going to have be fortunate in the health department. Teams that suffer big losses usually don’t go deep into the playoffs. And if that player is a franchise quarterback that is instrumental to the team’s success, it’s even that much more difficult. And that’s the Cowboys situation.
But that doesn’t mean the season is over if he gets hurt. Dak Prescott has played well and there is certainly hope now that something has happened to Tony. But that’s all it is – hope. We don’t know what Prescott will be like in the fourth quarter of games. Will he wear down? Can he perform under pressure? What is he going to be like under adversity? These are questions that we know the answer to as they pertain to Tony Romo, however it is a huge grey area for Dak.
Prescott is a playmaker. While he may not replicate the performance of Romo, he will be able to have success in this offense. He’ll have a full complement of weapons, including guys like Dez Bryant, Ezekeil Elliott and Jason Witten, He'll also be playing behind a stellar offensive line. And let's not forget, Dak brings the ability to run the ball into the equation. It's quite possible that Dak could keep the team afloat while Romo is gone.
How do you think the Cowboys will do with Romo missing the first half of the season?