The future of Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo remains one of the most debated stories in the NFL right now, and USFootballTips.com’s Leigh Copson has been offering his thoughts on what is next for number nine.
When looking ahead to the new season I wrote that Dallas’ chances of a post-season run revolved around whether or not Romo stayed healthy. There are very few times a football player will be at 100% during a season, but in recent years the 36-year-old has taken an absolute pounding. In fact, it would be fair to say that he has spent the vast majority of the past four seasons on the injury report.
Back, shoulder, clavicle, ankle, ribs… Romo has either broken or fractured them during the past four years and just about every time it has played a major role in the Cowboys being absent from the post-season. So was anybody really surprised when he sustained a broken bone in his back after taking hit from Seattle’s Cliff Avril in a pre-season game? I thought not.
Well, there has been one major surprise to come from that. That is the form of rookie quarterback Dak Prescott. Selected 135th overall in the 2016 NFL Draft the 23-year-old was considered the heir apparent to current starter Romo, but the belief was that it would be at least a year before the Mississippi State product took over as the franchise’s number one signal-caller. It took less than six months.
When Romo went down the Cowboys turned to the young quarterback and he was thrown in at the deep end with a couple of big division games straight off the bat. Dallas were narrowly beaten by the New York Giants in their home opener, but they bounced back to beat the Washington Redskins a week later and that was the start of a fantastic run of form that has seen Dallas pull clear in the NFC East.
Precott’s confidence has grown week by week and even when he performed poorly he found a way to lead his team to victory. That was the case in Week 8 when Dallas found themselves 10 points behind Philadelphia in the fourth quarter of a key NFC East showdown. However, Prescott completed the comeback when his 22-yard pass to Dez Bryant forced overtime and in the extra stanza he hooked up with Jason Witten to seal come-from-behind win that put some breathing room between the Cowboys and the Eagles in the division.
But of course, while Prescott has been receiving all of the plaudits there has been a big cloud hanging over him in the form of Romo. The veteran quarterback has now returned to practice and owner Jerry Jones has made no secret of his wish to see the 36-year-old lead the franchise to Super Bowl glory. But can they really afford to go against the hot hand right now?
I would have to say no. Prescott has earned the trust of the team and has led them to seven victories and top spot in the NFC East, so it would be harsh – and unwise – to cast him aside for a man whose post-season record is not exactly Tom Brady-esque.
I expect to see Romo holding the clipboard for the remainder of the season and when the 2017 campaign gets underway – if he still wants to play – number nine is likely to be wearing different colours. There is no way the Cowboys can go away from Prescott, especially if they make the playoffs, and despite his injury problems there will be teams willing to take a risk on Romo. The question is whether or not he wants to suit up that brittle body at least one more time.
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