Tony Romo Out for 6-10 Weeks with Broken Back Bone

tony-romo-back-injuryFor the second straight season, Tony Romo has suffered a major injury that will force him to miss significant time. Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett confirmed that Romo suffered a broken bone in his back.

Garrett initially said that Romo was “day to day” after taking an awkward hit in a preseason game against the Seattle Seahawks.

But NFL.com revealed that the injury is much worse than expected since he suffered a compression fracture in his vertebrae, an injury that’ll keep him out until mid-season.

In 2014, Romo suffered two back bone fractures, but NFL reporter Ian Rapoport says that the All-Pro quarterback “broke a different bone” this time. The best case is that Romo will be back after the team’s bye, ready for a Week 8 matchup against the Eagles.

Garrett confirmed that Romo will at least play at some point, saying, “We’re confident that he’s going to be coming back and playing football for us this year.”

The organization is devastated, and Cowboys executive VP Stephen Jones said that the injury is “a punch to the gut.” Jones added that the team may look to sign another quarterback until Romo can return to the field.

The good news, though, is that the 10-year veteran doesn’t feel like this will be a repeat of 2015, where he missed all but three games.

“He’s certainly not deterred,” Jones told Dallas Morning News. He feels like it’s going to be different. That he can get through this.”

Rookie Dak Prescott (Mississippi State), who was taken in the fourth round of the 2016 Draft, is now slated to start. According to Jones, Romo is very comfortable with Prescott taking the reigns in his absence.

“He also feels very confident our team can win games without him while he’s not here,” says Jones. “He’s driven to help Dak win football games for us so when he gets back we have a great chance to have a great season, get in the tournament and contend for a championship, nothing’s changed.”

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones believes that Romo will be back on the field, saying that the back injury is “nowhere near the issue he had last year (broken clavicle), not even in the same league as far as we’re concerned.”

After taking a hit from Seattle’s Cliff Avril and laying on the ground, Romo was taken out of the game. He later felt good enough that he lobbied to re-enter the contest. But Garrett made the smart move by not letting Romo play, especially since it was only a preseason game.

At 36 years old, Romo has taken a lot of tough hits in his career. If he does return from yet another major injury, it’s fair to question how he’ll hold up over the second half of the season.

As for Prescott, he’s played very well in the preseason, completing 78% of his passes, throwing for 454 yards, passing for 5 touchdowns, and earning a 137.8 quarterback rating – all of which currently lead the NFL.

Of course, this is just the preseason, and the team knows that it could be a different story once the regular season begins.

“We’re not naive enough to think that a rookie QB can come in here and do what (Romo has) done,” Jones says. “But at the same time, I think he makes our team feel good and he’s got a great chemistry with the offensive group.”

Prescott passed for 3,793 yards, rushed for 588 yards, and scored 39 combined touchdowns his senior season at Mississippi State. Many think that he has the potential to be a good NFL player, but we’ll get an earlier-than-expected chance to see as he enters the starting role.

ezekiel-elliott-cowboysThe good news for Dallas is that they won’t have to rely on Prescott alone to win games. They drafted running back Ezekiel Elliott with the fourth overall pick of the draft, and he’s expected to get a lot of carries behind one of the league’s top offensive lines.

The Cowboys also have Dez Bryant at receiver, who’ll make an excellent target for Prescott. Bryant suffered through an injury plagued year in 2015, but he tallied 1,320 receiving yards and 16 touchdowns in 2014.

It’s obvious that the Dallas Cowboys’ betting lines will be affected by the absence of Romo, who’s the key to making the offense click. If Prescott plays better than expected, then you’ll get some value on the Cowboys lines since they’ll be underrated without Romo.

2016 NFC East Betting Preview

tony-romoLast year, the NFC East was easily the conference’s worst division with a combined 26-38 record. Interestingly enough, this was supposed to be a strong division with a 2 or 3-way battle for the East crown.

The only team that rose to the challenge was the Washington Redskins, who won their last four games to finish 9-7.

The Philadelphia Eagles, meanwhile, faltered down the stretch, losing 5 of their last 7 contests and finishing 7-9. Head coach Chip Kelly was ultimately fired after a controversy filled season, and former Kansas City offensive coordinator Doug Pederson takes over this year.

The New York Giants will also feature a new coach since they convinced Tom Coughlin to retire following a 6-10 season. Giants offensive coordinator Beb McAdoo will step up to the head coaching position.

Finally, we have the Dallas Cowboys, who vastly underachieved due to injuries, most notably to Dez Bryant and Tony Romo.

With the Cowboys healthy again, they’re our division favorites. See who can challenge them as we preview the NFC East.

NFC East Betting Odds to Win Division (from GTBets)

Dallas +280
New York Giants +200
Philadelphia +375
Washington +220

1. Dallas Cowboys: Projected Record 10-6

Dallas entered last season with Super Bowl aspirations following a 12-4 campaign in 2014. This failed to transpire, though, as QB Tony Romo missed 13 games with a broken clavicle in 2015.

ezekiel-elliott-cowboysEven now the Cowboys have to wonder what could’ve been with Romo since he was a perfect 3-0 in his starts. Dallas failed to find a signal caller who could win besides Romo, as the trio of Brandon Weeden, Kellen Moore, and Matt Cassel were a woeful 1-12. The good news is that Romo will have one of the best offensive lines in football protecting him.

The running game should also improve since Dallas drafted Ezekiel Elliott with the fourth-overall pick of the draft. The Cowboys also signed Alfred Morris to help shore up the position. The offense is rounded out by star receiver Dez Bryant, who missed several games last year, and tight end Jason Witten.

While the offense looks set, Dallas’ defense will be the big question mark. The secondary should be strong, with Morris Claiborne and Orlando Scandrick manning the corners, and Barry Church and Byron Jones playing safety. The problem will be the front seven, though, which, beyond LB Sean Lee, doesn’t have a significant amount of talent.

Expect a renewed offensive effort from the Cowboys this year. But how far they go will depend upon how well the defense plays.

*Editor’s Note: Tony Romo will be out 6-10 weeks with a broken back bone, which will certainly affect the Cowboys’ offense early on.

2. New York Giants: Projected Record 8-8

It’s easy predicting Dallas to regain their form and win the division, but who comes next is a toss-up. We like the Giants next, who’ll transition to a new era with Ben McAdoo.

odell-beckham-jrThis transition will be made easier with Eli Manning at quarterback, who enters his 13th season with the Giants. Manning passed for a career-high 4,432 yards last season, along with 35 touchdowns against 14 interceptions.

His favorite target will once again be the human highlight reel Odell Beckham Jr., who caught 96 passes for 1,450 yards and 13 touchdowns. Running back will be manned by Rashad Jennings and Andre Williams again, with free-agent addition Shane Vereen slated for passing downs.

The defense is where New York really has to improve, and they took steps towards this by signing DE Oliver Vernon, DT Damon Harrison, and CB Janoris Jenkins. If these new players gel, then the Giants could content for the division title.

3. Washington Redskins: Projected Record 7-9

Many predicted Washington to be the NFC East doormat last season, but they vastly exceeded expectations. Can they win the East again?

kirk-cousins-nflIf so, their chances hinge on QB Kirk Cousins, who earned himself a large contract after throwing for 4,166 yards and 29 touchdowns. His favorite targets, DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon, will be back again at wide receiver. Throw in tight end Jordan Reed, who has All-Pro seasons head of him, and this is a dangerous passing attack.

Unfortunately, the run game doesn’t look so dangerous after losing Alfred Morris. Backup Matt Jones was supposed to take over the position, but he has a shoulder injury right now. There’s little left to back Jones up and balance the offense out.

The defense should be a solid unit, with LB Ryan Kerrigan, and cornerbacks Josh Norma and DeAngelo Hall leading the way. It’ll be interesting to see if Washington’s $75 million investment in Norman pays off.

Washington overachieved last season, and the jury is out on if they can do so again in 2016. But they do have a friendly schedule this season and play in one of the NFL’s weaker divisions.

4. Philadelphia Eagles: Projected Record 6-10

Philadelphia is ready for a fresh start under Doug Pederson. They also drafted their quarterback of the future in Carson Wentz (2nd overall), although it’ll be Sam Bradford taking snaps to start the season.

sam-bradford-eaglesBradford will have some familiar targets in Jordan Matthews and Nelson Agholor, both of whom could step up this year. The Eagles also traded for Dorial Green-Beckham, who tallied 549 receiving yards in his rookie season with Tennessee.

No claims will be made about how dominating the Eagles rushing attack will be, with both Chip Kelly and former RB DeMarco Murray gone. But Ryan Matthews and Darren Sproles will form a nice two-headed attack. Tight ends Brent Celek and Zach Ertz will also help the offense quite a bit.

The Eagles brought in Jim Scwartz to coach the defense, which is a great move since he coached Buffalo to the league’s fourth-best defense in 2014. He’ll have some good players to work with, including DE Connor Barwin, DT Bennie Logan, LB Fletcher Cox, and S Malcolm Jenkins.

Anybody can win the NFC East this season, but we see Philadelphia as having the most-difficult time doing so. They’re playing under a new coach, have no star wideouts or running backs, and may feature the rookie Wentz at QB before the season is over.