I’m not envious of the Dallas Cowboys. They are faced with a decision that could change the course of their franchise. Teams have done it before. The Giants let Phil Simms walk in favor of Jeff Hostetler. Kurt Warner became a Hall of Fame caliber quarterback at the expense of Trent Green. Twice, Drew Bledsoe has been “Wally Pipp-ed”, first by Tom Brady and then by Tony Romo.
So, is Tony Romo about to be Romo-ed?
I couldn’t answer the question alone. I called upon our own fantasy expert Saucy T to shine some light on one side of the arguement, while I take care of the other.
BENCH HIM (Saucy T)
I’ll preface my argument by saying I think Dak Prescott has a bright future with the Cowboys, but in 2016 he is not their best option. Tony Romo is a better quarterback than Prescott right now. The NFL is a violent game, and maybe Romo gets hurt again, or maybe Dak gets hurt, but when both guys are healthy it’s no question who should be the starting quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys… Tony Romo.
Dak has done an admirable job leading the Cowboys to a 6-1 record, but winning isn’t enough reason to keep him as the starter. Tim Tebow was 7-1 as a starter, that didn’t make him a good NFL quarterback. I’m not saying Prescott is as bad as Tebow, but you have to factor the rest of the team when it comes to record. Prescott isn’t the only rookie for the Cowboys this season. They also added Ezekiel Elliott who is on pace for 1825 yards rushing and 342 yards receiving. The last time Romo had a back that capable was 2014 with Demarco Murray. In 15 games that year Romo completed nearly 70% of his passes for 3705 yards with 34 touchdowns and 9 interceptions. While Prescott is on a similar yardage pace, he is only on pace for 20 touchdowns, far fewer than 2014 Romo. I don’t think there is any question that when healthy Romo is a better quarterback than Prescott.
Dak is off to a great start to his career, but as we saw this last week against Philadelphia, there are flaws to his game, and defenses are starting to gameplan for him. The Philadelphia defense took away the underneath passes that Prescott has relied on this season and forced him to throw the ball deep, and he wasn’t nearly as successful. Dak found a way to play his best football in the fourht quarter and got the Cowboys a win, but when the opposing quarterback isn’t also a rookie, waiting until the fourth quarter to play good football will be too late. I think as the season moves forward defenses will start to focus on Dak’s weaknesses and he will be exposed.
At 6-1 the Cowboys can begin to look towards the playoffs too, and come playoff time young quarterbacks don’t have a history of success. Even the best quarterbacks tend to struggle in their first playoff experience, and even with Romo’s playoff struggles I trust him much more in the playoffs facing off against guys like Aaron Rodgers and Matt Ryan. I think that Dak has shown more promise than some other one year wonder quarterbacks like Nick Foles, Matt Cassell, and Tim Tebow, but he still has a long way to go to reach the experience level and skill set that Tony Romo has. The Cowboys are in a good spot going forward with Prescott, but if they want to be the best team they can be in 2016 they need to give Romo control of HIS team.
START HIM (The Wayniac)
Saucy T is right. The Cowboys are in a good spot moving forward with Prescott and that is precisely why I think they need to stick with him. When they entered this season knowing Romo wouldn’t be available, combined with a rookie running back and rookie quarterback, there is no way even the delusional Jerry Jones would envision that they would be 6-1.
But they are, and a large part of that reason is Dak.
Look, Prescott isn’t perfect, but he wasn’t expected to be. His throws sometimes look soft, seemingly not having enough mustard on them to reach his receivers. Other times, he looks like a pitcher, winding up to deliver a knuckleball. He has his flaws, and as Saucy T pointed out, the Eagles forced his hand and exposed them.
But he won.
The past three weeks, Prescott has answered the call. When he played the Bengals, people said “well, it’s the best defense he’s played, now we’ll see the real Dak.” Well if we did, we saw a kid complete 75 percent of his passes and score two touchdowns. The next week, they said “no rookie goes into Lambeau and wins against that advantageous Packers defense, now we’ll see the real Dak.” Well if we did, we saw a kid complete 67 percent of his passes, score three touchdowns and post his second consecutive QB Rating of 117. This week they said, “Prime time, NFC East rivalry, now we’ll see the real Dak.” Well, if we did, we saw a kid get abused by a defensive scheme he had no answer to, only to find an answer and create plays that led to a fourth quarter comeback and overtime win. Simply put, on Dak’s worst day of his career, he found a way to win.
True, he isn’t on pace for record setting touchdown numbers, but his 9-to-2 touchdown-to-interception ratio can not be denied. He is also completing 65 percent of his passes even after Sunday night’s debacle. He has a 99.6 passer rating (Romo has only been better than that twice in his career) and is third in the NFL with an 82.8 QBR. You know who’s ahead of him? Tom Brady and Matt Ryan. You see what they’ve done this year? You know how many times Romo has had a QBR above 70 in his entire career? Once.
You know what else also can’t be denied? The Cowboys are arguably the best team in the NFC right now. Would they have been with Romo behind the wheel? Maybe, but we’ll never know. Can they maintain the pace if Romo takes over? Highly likely, but then we would never know if Prescott could do the same.
“You want to be very mindful of what you got going. Chemistry has to be recognized.”
Well, for the first time in my life, I not only quoted Jerry Jones, I agree with him. This team is clicking. Prescott has had Dez Bryant — easily one of the best wide receivers in the game — for four games and has made a legitimate receiver out of Cole Beasley. Go ahead, read that last part of the sentence again. That right there, folks is a feat in itself.
Prescott definitely has one more start in him as Romo doesn’t appear ready for this weekend. It will again be on the road, this time in Cleveland. There’s no better opportunity to claim your stake than to go play the team that apparently sacrificed their own respectability so that their baseball and basketball teams can win.
I don’t even care about the injury history. Romo is frail. He’s going to miss games. Even if it is one game a year, he’s going to miss time. The Bradys, Peytons, Breeseses, heck even Eli, they don’t miss games. Prescott is fun to watch. He can be really good, and seemed to learn in game when he was really bad. He’s got my vote.