The Dallas Cowboys are in the driver’s seat in the NFC, sitting multiple games clear in the top overall seed at 7-1 behind the two best offensive rookies in the NFL, Ezekiel Elliott and Dak Prescott. No one in their right mind would mess with such a winning formula, but the Cowboys have a special problem — Prescott is only playing because the Cowboys’ normal starting quarterback, Tony Romo is hurt. Romo has been one of the best QBs of the past 25 years and has been leading the team for a decade.
In 99 percent of universes, Romo has earned the right to have the starter’s job by default as long as he’s still effective on the field (and he was the last time he was healthy). But with the Cowboys in such a good position, it’s downright dangerous to mess with Dak’s confidence by benching him, in case Romo isn’t effective when he comes back.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones spoke on Dallas sports radio, as transcribed by ESPN, and he reflected the indecision paralyzing Cowboys brass:
“The key thing that I want to emphasize [is] that we probably are never going to have this totally sorted out,” Jones said on 105.3 The Fan in Dallas. “We’re going to play it by ear, play it as it comes. We can do that. And to do it really right for the advantage of the team, which we deserve, he’s really got to be ready to go at the top of his game.”
At this point, signs seem to be pointing to Romo practicing for weeks without getting into the game, just waiting for either the playoffs to start or for Dak to slip up — something to turn the tide of public opinion back towards Romo so that Jones doesn’t get pilloried by fans for going away from a good thing. In being so noncommittal, though, Jones might be guaranteeing himself criticism, no matter what he does.