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Cowboys News: How The Cowboys Plan On Winning With Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott

It's Dak Prescott Time in Dallas; how Prescott will benefit from Cowboys' Romo-friendly offense; why an elite run game will carry Cowboys to the playoffs.

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Tony Romo's MRI reveals broken bone in back, could miss 6-10 weeks for Cowboys - Jared Dubin, CBSSports.com
The Cowboys will once again be without their starting quarterback for an extended period of time.

Jason Garrett announced on Saturday that Tony Romo had an MRI taken of his back after sustaining an injury on the third play of Dallas' third preseason game on Thursday night, and the MRI revealed a broken bone in Romo's back.

According to CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora, Romo is expected to miss 6-10 weeks. Coach Jason Garrett, however, did not rule Romo out for the Cowboys' Week 1 game against the New York Giants.

Cowboys confident in plan to ride with the rookie - David Moore, SportsDay
Tony Romo will return this season but, but that will likely be six to ten weeks from today. In the meantime, Dak Prescott is the starter, without a question.

"We're early in this thought process as to totally how we'll respond, but not as to whether or not he's a starter," jerry Jones said.

Stephen Jones points to the team's offensive line, which he calls arguably the best in the league, along with receiver Dez Bryant, tight end Jason Witten, rookie running back Ezekiel Elliott and others as the offensive support that can help Prescott succeed. He stressed the importance of the rookie quarterback not turning the ball over or trying to do too much.

"I think it's the best option we have,'' Stephen Jones said of Prescott becoming the first rookie to start a game for the Cowboys in 14 years. "We're confident he'll go out there and do a good job with this football team.

"It's a great opportunity for him. He has good energy, a good chemistry with our football team. I just think he's the right answer for us right now.''

Cowboys believe in Dak Prescott, but can they finally win sans Romo? - Clarence Hill, The Star-Telegram
The Dallas Cowboys have a history of poor performances without quarterback Tony Romo, Hill explains, but they believe that will change this season because of Dak Prescott and the team they are building around him.

Credit Prescott’s sensational play in training camp and the preseason as well the team the Cowboys are building around him as the basis of their hope that they will finally be able to win games without Romo.

"Our success without Tony hadn't been good up to this point, but we fully expect to change that this year," vice president Stephen Jones said. "We fully understand why everyone will question that, but we feel good about Dak. We think our team feels good about Dak. The chemistry is there with the players and that's what we're going to focus on, but we totally understand there's going to be question marks, people are going to question whether we can get that done."

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Welcome to the Dak Prescott era, Cowboys; he's no backup - Matt Mosley, SportsDay
No two ways about it, Prescott will the Cowboys' starter in Week 1.

Prescott's future is now. Whether it was great scouting or pure luck, the Cowboys have acquired a rookie quarterback who is poised for a breakout season. Can you imagine how differently things would feel if the Cowboys were turning this over to Kellen Moore today? Prescott was a four-year starter in the mighty SEC. His transition was supposed to take awhile because he operated out of a spread offense. Instead, he's looked extremely comfortable in three preseason games. He is the unquestioned heir to Romo at this point.

If Prescott continues to shred defenses with his arm and legs in the regular-season, there's no reason Garrett should guarantee Romo his No. 1 status.

Jones and Garrett will lay out an optimistic timetable for Romo out of respect for him. But they know for better or for worse, this is Prescott's team.

Cowboys in better shape with Dak Prescott - Lorenzo Reyes, USA Today
Reyes argues that while the Cowboys have to turn to their backup QB once again, they're much better off this time.

But aside from Prescott's stellar August play, there are other reasons to think the Cowboys — they have several ingredients which are ideal in supporting a rookie quarterback — can survive another lengthy stretch without Romo.

Dallas boasts arguably the best offensive line in the NFL. It has dynamic playmakers in receiver Dez Bryant and tight end Jason Witten. And rookie running back Ezekiel Elliott should eat up chunks of yards on the ground and will get plenty of help from veteran backs Alfred Morris and Darren McFadden, who have combined for five 1,000-yard rushing seasons during their NFL careers.

All those factors should prevent Prescott from having to shoulder too much burden. And if he can effectively distribute the ball, that should allow Dallas to limit the amount of time a suspension-riddled defense spends on the field.

It’s Dak Prescott’s Time in Dallas - Danny Kelly, The Ringer
Kelly explains how the Cowboys plan on winning with Prescott.

Ezekiel Elliott represents the Cowboys’ capstone piece to five years of building the league’s best offensive line. Dallas won’t just use the run game as the foundation of its offense — the ground attack will be the offense.

Prescott’s athleticism will allow the Cowboys to add the read-option to their already-ridiculous arsenal of runs. Romo’s injury shouldn’t cause a recurrence of Dallas’s 2015 nightmare, when the crew led by Darren McFadden and Matt Cassel, Brandon Weeden, and Kellen Moore ranked 31st in offensive DVOA. That group had a great offensive line, but with Elliott and Prescott operating behind the same blockers, we’ll get a chance to see a fascinating football experiment: Just how far can an elite run game take you?

It’s easy to get caught up in the hype around Prescott’s excellent preseason performances, but he’s a rookie, and the Cowboys will design an offense that limits what he has to do in the passing game. When they’re not moving the ball on the ground, they’ll run a lot of their passing game through shotgun looks and simplify Prescott’s progressions, giving him quick and clear reads that he can hit in rhythm.

Dak Prescott to benefit from Cowboys' Tony Romo-friendly offense - JJ T, ESPN
The Dallas Cowboys have made an effort to surround Tony Romo with top-flight offensive personnel. That should help rookie Dak Prescott get acclimated, Taylor writes.

The Cowboys have enough good players on offense that Prescott shouldn't feel any pressure to be the team's savior. All he has to do is get the ball to the Cowboys' playmakers and let them go to work.

Two years ago, the Cowboys ran the ball 50 percent of the time. With Ezekiel Elliott -- the fourth player taken in the draft -- and veteran Alfred Morris, the Cowboys could run the ball even more this season.

The goal is to create short-yardage situations on second and third down so Prescott won't have to deal with the complicated defensive schemes teams use on third-and-long.

As long as Dez Bryant is healthy, Prescott will have a playmaker at receiver. On third downs, Prescott should feel equally comfortable throwing to tight end Jason Witten or slot receiver Cole Beasley.

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Why Cowboys will still make playoffs despite Tony Romo's injury - Tim Cowlishaw, SportsDay
Cowlishaw notes that there is no panic in the streets of Dallas.

Oh my, if this team has confidence in Prescott, you can at least double that regarding the expectations for Elliott and this running game. In fact, the belief that the Cowboys can lead the NFL in rushing has plenty to do with the absence of panic over Dak.

But somehow, with little beyond the addition of two draft picks, a team that was devastated by Romo's absence a year ago is ready to march into the regular season with confidence and perhaps even the odd notion of a little rookie swagger.

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Examining The Cowboys' Options For QB Depth Behind Dak Prescott - David Helman, Dallas Cowboys
The Cowboys started training camp with four QBs. Now down to two healthy QBs, they are looking to get some help, via the waiver wire or via trade.

"There’s a lot of ways to acquire players," Stephen Jones said. "There’s quarterbacks that are out there and don’t have a home right now, and then there’s quarterbacks that other teams have right now – of course we can’t talk about those players."

"We’ll look at what our options are," Jones said. "It is something that we’ll look at, in terms of looking at a veteran-type quarterback."

Which QBs are still available? | SportsDay
The DMN rounds up a decidedly unexciting list of veteran backup options for the Cowboys.

Trade targets: Josh McCown (CLE), Shaun Hill (MIN), Josh Johnson (BAL), Alex Tanney (TEN).

Free agents: Mike Vick, Jimmy Clausen, T.J. Yates, Matt Flynn, Tavaris Jackson, Josh Freeman.

Salary cap wise, here’s what happens if Tony Romo retires in 2016 - KD Drummond, Cowboys Wire
Drummond raises the possibility of Romo retiring after the season and looks at what that means for the Cowboys' salary cap. It won't be cheap, but it's manageable from a cap point of view.

Romo has $19.6 million remaining of unamortized signing bonus. If he outright retires, that would accelerate onto the 2017 ledger, meaning the Cowboys would save $5.1 million of space on next year’s cap. That would also clear up $25.2 million of 2018 space that is currently earmarked for Romo, and $23.7 million of similar 2019 space.

[As a June 1 cut], only the 2017 prorated bonus amount ($10.7 million) would hit the cap next year, giving Dallas the savings of Romo’s entire 2017 base salary, $14 million. That would mean the Cowboys would save $10.6 million on the 2018 cap, and still the same $23.7 million in 2019 space.

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