It has long been speculated that the target date for Tony Romo’s return from the fractured bone in his back was the Oct. 30 match-up against the Philadelphia Eagles following the next week’s bye.
That put it right at the eight-to-nine week scenario from the original injury date of Aug. 25.
Still, the date has always been a moving target and its now looking more like the Nov. 6 game against the Cleveland Browns, per a source.
Again nothing has been set in stone.
But while the healing of the bone is on schedule and he has had no setbacks, the sensational play of rookie quarterback Dak Prescott has afforded the Cowboys the opportunity to kick the can down the road a little bit on Romo’s return and the pending quarterback decision, especially if they get a win at the Green Bay Packers on Sunday.
Given that coach Jason Garrett acknowledged that Romo won’t start working back into any team-related drills until during the next week at the earliest, he would be hardpressed to be ready for game action just one week later. Romo has been idle for two months with no real intense real rehab, conditioning or throwing.
That will be ratched up this week.
The timing will still be a challenge.
There will likely just be two practices days at the most during the bye. Monday is an off day. Tuesday is normally just a film day, though they could do some work. Then there is Wednesday. Garrett will give them Thursday and Friday off..
Then the following week leading up to the Eagles game is the regular work schedule with just three days of real practice _ Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.
So would five practices, at the most, be enough for Romo to be ready and in sync for a crucial division showdown against the Eagles?
As much as the team is loyal to Romo, this is not show feelings, it’s show business.
Given Prescott’s play, there is really no reason to chance it. It makes more sense for the Cowboys to wait at least another week for Romo’s return, putting him in play for the Nov. 6 match-up at the winless Browns.
If you are going to make the decision to bench Prescott for Romo, then do it against the hapless Browns in what should be nothing more a practice game and an opportunity to gain confidence.
Consider Tom Brady’s triumphant return to the New England Patriots last Sunday after missing the first four weeks under NFL suspension. He feasted on the Browns, passing for 406 yards and three touchdowns in a 33-16 victory.
If you are going to bring Romo back, put him in position to have most success possible. That would be against the Browns, if at all.
Of course, given that Prescott’s rise resembles that of Brady’s when he took over for an injured Drew Bledsoe in 2001, that also might be a blueprint for the Cowboys to consider.
The Patriots stayed with a hot Brady and the team on a roll rather than simply giving the job back to Bledsoe out of loyalty and financial considerations. They won the Super Bowl that year and three more.
A healthy Romo is the superior quarterback in terms of passing ability and experience.
But the Cowboys have something special going with Prescott, whose mistake-free play is exactly what this team needs right now.
Sure, there is a great chance the Cowboys could be even better if Romo is hitting on all cylinders. But it’s not like they are just getting by now. This mojo with Prescott is real. Do they really want to mess with it?