Rookie QB Dak Prescott has a seven-game track record that should be more than enough to secure him the starting job. Yet the Cowboys are still taking things week by week, refusing to make the choice until there actually is a choice. Prescott will be the starter next week against the Browns, owner Jerry Jones announced last night, but not because of anything he did in Sunday’s win, or in his six straight wins.
“Tony’s not ready to play,” Jones said.
“Tony’s making a lot of progress. We’re excited about that, but at this particular time I don’t have any more [to] clarify. My opinion is Dak will start against Cleveland.”
Romo, following a broken back, has now reached Week 10 of his recovery, which was originally given a six-to-10-week prognosis. He’s participated in just one limited practice, some 7-on-7 drills with the scout team. In his comments yesterday, Jones made clear that Prescott’s job is guaranteed only so long as Romo is unable to play. And then? They’ll see.
Success is clearly not the barometer being used here, otherwise there’d be no question. (Honestly, public relations is probably the only practical barometer for how the Cowboys are handling this.) Prescott has been everything Dallas could have asked for, even if his numbers aren’t gaudy: the Cowboys are winning. Even after he looked very beatable through three quarters against a fantastic Eagles pass rush, Prescott helped lead efficient, balanced game-tying and -winning drives, capping things off with a scramble that freed up Jason Witten for the widest-open sudden death touchdown pass you’ll ever see:
While I’m fairly certain the Cowboys will stick with Prescott, it wouldn’t be completely unthinkable to consider Romo.
The arguments for Romo: He’s good when healthy; he’s the face of the franchise (still true, even if not for long); he’s owed a lot of money this year and next (not a good argument, but it’s foolish to pretend that isn’t playing into Dallas’s thinking). The arguments against Prescott: He’s young and likely more prone to get rattled or make mistakes in the playoffs (fine); he’s succeeding in large part because of a great offensive line and Ezekiel Elliott (true, but those would benefit Romo as well); he’s succeeded in a small sample size.
Really, only that last one should be any kind of sticking point. If the Cowboys think Prescott gives them a better chance to win into January, with a two-game lead in the division and in a season without any clear NFC favorite, they will keep him as the starter. Every win is more evidence that he’s capable of it. He should provide more evidence next week, in a matchup against the 0-8 Browns and their league-dregs defense.
If Cleveland is off the table, the earliest Romo could be healthy enough to play is Nov. 13, a late Sunday game in Pittsburgh. Really, the only thing that matters the most is that the owner and the coach are united on how to handle it. So, Jerry Jones, who’s the signal-caller when Romo’s ready to go?
“It will be a combined call.”
I’m excited for the QB controversy either way.