Is it Time For Cowboys to Move on From Tony Romo?
Dallas Cowboys got the news they most fear on Saturday: that star quarterback Tony Romo could miss a lengthy period of time yet again due to injury.
Down Goes Romo
The team suffered through an ugly 2015 campaign thanks to Romo suffering two clavicle injuries, while the 36-year old passer has continued to struggle to stay healthy as he’s advanced in age.
The worst was feared again in the Cowboys last preseason contest, when Romo exited after a hit due to “tightness” in his back. A precautionary MRI was done and revealed a “compression fracture” in Romo’s back.
Tony Romo appeared to hurt his back. Great block by Zeke, but certainly not what the Cowboys want to see pic.twitter.com/21rt9cUjp2
— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) August 26, 2016
More specifically, Romo is dealing with a compression fracture in his L1 vertebrae, which requires rest in order to heal properly. The early return time table has Romo out until almost mid-season at the earliest, but a 6-10 week timeline could have him out until late in the season.
— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) August 27, 2016
Pass the Torch?
If things don’t go as planned, Romo may not hit the field at all in 2016.
That’s the unfortunate reality the Cowboys are dealing with, but the silver lining could be that they’re finding out now. They also drafted impressive rookie quarterback Prescott this offseason, and he’s thrived in the team’s system with seven touchdowns against zero turnovers.
It’s tough to gauge Prescott’s long-term ability after just a few preseason games, but there is growing optimism in Dallas that the team may have uncovered a hidden gem out of Mississippi State.
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) August 27, 2016
Prescott undoubtedly will still have to answer questions about his decision-making, consistency in the pocket and ability to read and react against top shelf defense, but so far the reports have been nothing but glowing.
Prescott’s talent, upside and strong performance since he’s arrived in Dallas naturally begs the trying question; could now be the right time for the Cowboys to move on from Tony Romo?
Matter of Perspective
It would certainly make sense, especially if the news that Romo could miss the first six weeks or much longer is true. The argument is double-sided, too. If Romo is healthy enough to return by week six but the team is struggling (say as bad as 0-6 or even 2-4), Dallas could throw in the towel, develop Prescott the rest of the year and start moving on from Romo.
It wouldn’t be easy to turn back to Romo if things got off to a good start, either. If Dallas was somehow 6-0 or even 4-2 at that point, they’d be in playoff contention and it could be tough for the team to shrug off the success their tantalizing rookie has enjoyed.
The later Romo’s return digs into the year, the more interesting this decision gets. However, neither scenario plays into Romo continuing his career in Dallas happily. If the Cowboys are toast by the time he’s ready to hit the field, they might not want to force an aging quarterback out there. If they’re better than ever, they may see the writing on the wall that Romo is a liability and the team may very well be better off without him.
Of course, this all depends on his actual status and return. The current whispers suggest he’ll miss 6-10 weeks. Some say he won’t play at all in 2016 and head coach Jason Garrett has gone as far as to say he won’t yet rule Romo out for week one.
Betting on Dallas
From a betting perspective, the Cowboys quickly fall from the top of the pile in terms of Super Bowl odds. In fact, unless what we’ve seen from Prescott in the preseason is the real deal, they might even once again be at risk of falling out of contention for the NFC East crown.
Dallas has a better backup quarterback situation than they had in 2015 (or really in years) but it’s still one that is somewhat up in the air. They have a stud rookie running back in Ezekiel Elliott, a star wide receiver in Dez Bryant and a defense laden with talent (albeit much of it suspended to start 2016). On paper, they could very well be an interesting playoff contender and once in the big dance, who knows what could happen.
Without Romo, however, for any span of time, the Cowboys are not a great Super Bowl bet and it could be tough to bank on them to win the NFC East. They should also be a weak game-by-game bet until we know more about Romo’s health and Prescott’s ability. Needless to say, refraining from big money bets involving the Cowboys is probably the way to go at the moment.
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