Pardon the impertinence of the question, but clearly we have reached the impertinent portion of the Dallas Cowboys schedule.
The part when the won-loss record really starts to matter. The part where Owner Jones is dancing as fast as he can.
The part where we’re all waiting for rookie quarterback Dak Prescott to multiply the next basket of loaves and fishes.
The part, too, where Tony Romo gets caught between an X-ray machine and a hard place.
And the question is, what happens if Prescott goes out Sunday and does it? What if he beats the Green Bay Packers, an opponent with no yeah-buts attached?
While it’s been prudent to tap the brakes and demand yet-another Prescott blood sample, the visit to Lambeau Field has loomed as the date on which Dak’s true pedigree would be tested.
In the meantime, we keep hearing reports from the Romo whisperers, suggesting that Tony’s return from injury is just an Elvis introduction away.
Hold the timpani, though, maestro. What’s the rush?
Romo believes it’s his job. It said so, right on his wedding cake.
If you’re Romo, you probably are starting to feel a sense of urgency. The season is racing by. And it seems with each passing day, somebody of note is opining that the Cowboys can’t bench Prescott, not after this kind of start.
The latest to chime in is Roger Staubach, whose credibility when speaking about the Cowboys carries gospel weight.
Staubach said Friday that coach Jason Garrett and his staff will be able to measure the vibe in the locker room.
“And I’m sure it’s really good now, because we’re 4-1,” Staubach said. “So you just don’t mess around with that. You try to keep it really good and keep that momentum going.”
Staubach saw firsthand what Tom Landry’s philosophy about starters was. After guiding the Cowboys to victory in Super Bowl VI, Roger separated his shoulder during the next preseason.
Though he recovered in time to play in mid-November, Staubach couldn’t wrest the starting job away from Craig Morton. He didn’t start a single game in the regular season.
Landry was criticized by some of his players for his sometimes cold approach, but he never let a contract or personal feelings guide his depth chart.
“Tony’s going to heal,” Staubach said. “He’s going to be ready to play when they need him, if something happens to Dak.
“If they keep Dak in there, if they keep the momentum going, I think he’ll understand that.”
Uhhhhh, no, he won’t.
Romo believes it’s his job — starting quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys. It said so, right on his wedding cake.
Earlier last week, speaking of the Packers, no less than Brett Favre offered a curious perspective.
Favre thinks Romo should wait it out until Prescott screws up, then dash in from the sideline like, say, Batman, and show everybody how Tony can do it. Otherwise, Favre said, if Romo is simply handed back the job and starts losing, he may never get back in.
Favre was suggesting something, of course, that he himself would never do. Brett is a guy who actually went and played for the Jets for a season.
But Favre makes sense. If Romo returns and fails, what are his options?
He will be 37 years old next season and saddled with an enormous salary cap-strangling contract and volumes of medical bills.
The measuring stick for both Romo and Prescott will be victories, and well it should be.
Owner Jones has waxed between weary and giddy when discussing the quarterback issue.
“We’ve got a great situation here,” he said on his weekly radio show on KRLD/105.3 The Fan. “I just have to pinch myself to think about it.”
But here’s a little math that might pinch billionaire Jerry Jones into reality:
By the end of this season, Jones will have paid Romo $127,422,458 during his career (according to Spotrac) and won exactly two playoff games. That’s $63.7 million per playoff victory.
Or time to invest in something new?
By the final whistle Sunday in Green Bay, we should all know what ought to happen next.