A fractured vertebra in his back will cost him over a month to start the regular season, but Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo isn’t worried about his team’s ability to win games under standout rookie quarterback Dak Prescott.
“I’m gonna be in Dak’s back pocket to help him,” Romo said, via Peter King of MMQB. “We’re gonna win games with Dak.”
The Cowboys were brutally bad without Romo last season, winning only one of 11 starts by backup quarterbacks as Romo dealt with two different broken collarbones. A 12-4 team with a healthy Romo in 2014, the Cowboys limped to the finish line at 4-12 last season—largely due to a quarterback group that couldn’t withstand injuries at the top.
There isn’t the same doom and gloom of losing Romo this time around. Not after Prescott’s incredible preseason.
“It’s a different feel around here this time,” owner Jerry Jones said. “We like what we’ve got behind Tony now. This is still a gut punch. It hurts bad. But I can tell you this time we’re not going to be sitting around worrying when Tony gets back. We can’t say, ‘We need to go 3-3,’ or whatever, with Tony gone. The hell with that. We gotta have a game plan to beat the Giants, and to win every game without him.”
The Cowboys host New York in Week 1, then travel to Washington, host Chicago and go on the road to San Francisco during the first month of the season. It’s not a gauntlet of opponents, but poor quarterback play could put the Cowboys in a big hole while Romo rehabs another serious back injury.
Then again, Prescott has shown flashes of stardom through three preseason games.
He’s 39 of 50 passing for a league-high 454 yards and five touchdowns, with zero interceptions and a passer rating of 137.8. The fourth-round pick has looked decisive and calm against pressure, including last Thursday night when he took on a good chunk of the Seattle Seahawks first-team defense and still moved the football effectively.
The preseason must always be kept in the proper context, but Prescott looks like he has the tools to be a starting caliber quarterback in the NFL.
Amazingly enough, he’ll be a starter when the Cowboys open the 2016 season.
There remains a sense of uncertainty in when Romo will return to the field, especially at age 36 and with his recent history of injury. But in Prescott, the Cowboys finally appear to have a fighting chance to remain competitive—both at quarterback and on the scoreboard—while No. 9 once again mends on the sidelines.
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