For 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.
The 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.