Posted on August 21, 2016, by Travis Pulver
The idea is ludicrous. It is stupid, ridiculous, idiotic, and simply no way that Tony Romo will ever be pulled for anyone. The presumptive replacement could be the embodiment of all that was great about Joe Montana, Roger Staubach, Bart Starr, and Dan Marino in one, but if Tony Romo were to be benched for him—it wouldn’t matter. The fans would revolt.
Dallas fans love their superstars and don’t like seeing them disrespected. They would not be happy if he left the game for any reason other than retirement or an injury. But…Dak Prescott has looked pretty good, and if there is anything people love more than a superstar it is a younger, newer superstar on the rise.
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After a solid showing in the preseason opener against the Los Angeles Rams, Prescott appears to be just that. Fans eagerly awaited the team’s second preseason contest against the Miami Dolphins Friday night to see if he could do it again–and he did.
Prescott went 12-15 for 199 yards, 28 yards on the ground, and four touchdowns (two passing, two rushing) in a 41-14 win. So far he has a perfect passer rating in two games and more touchdowns (6) to his name than incompletions (5).
It is easy for the stats to look good in a preseason game, but what fans can take from his play is the poise, calm, and efficiency in which he ran the offense. It is not unusual for a player to go from the college game to pro and need time to adjust. Rookies are often overwhelmed, but Prescott appears to be handling the transition just fine. His performance has allowed Jerry Jones to say with confidence that the team does not need to bring in a veteran quarterback to back Romo up. He has made such statements in the past, this time—with how Prescott has played–he can be believed (NFL).
Whenever a situation like this develops—old veteran, talented rookie—there is one question that comes up over and over again: When do you say enough is enough with the old guy and give the offense over to the future of the team? Do you wait for the old guy to fail and for the team to lose?
Romo has had many moments where he was as much the problem as he was the solution. He has had fewer such moments in recent years, but now he has become injury prone. Should his skills diminish or injury issues persist, is there a scenario where he could be benched for Prescott?
Not likely—and not just because of his game or Prescott’s, but because of the business side of the game. Romo’s dead cap number is $31.9 million this season, goes down to $19.6 million next year, and falls to $8.9 and $3.2 million in the final two years of his contract (Sportrac).
Jerry Jones wants to be considered a great football mind, but he is a great business mind. There is no way he gives anyone that kind of money without getting something of value in return. As long as he thinks Romo is great, he can justify paying Romo’s massive salary.
Team officials have expressed concern over the possibility of losing a generation of fans since it has been so long since the Cowboys have won the Super Bowl or even been a serious contender to make it to the big game.
What if the interception-prone, anti-clutch version of Romo appears again? Winning trumps all and if Romo is the direct cause of too many lost games an argument could be made for Prescott—if the team really believes he can lead the team to victory where Romo has failed, that is.
When engaging in this kind of speculation, it is important to keep things in perspective. Prescott is a rookie and has only played in two preseason games against defenses with potential, but who didn’t play all of their best players. Yes, he has looked great, but he has yet to see real NFL-caliber competition.
He may next week when the Cowboys take on the Seattle Seahawks, but the third preseason game is also considered the “dress rehearsal” for the regular season. Will the Cowboys want Tony Romo to get the reps or will they protect him and let Prescott get some much-needed experience against a quality team (assuming Seattle plays its better defenders)?
Doing so would certainly put into perspective just where his game is. He certainly has plenty of room to grow, but if he were needed in a real game, it wouldn’t hurt to have a better idea of just where his readiness is.
As for Romo’s job—it would take a collapse of monumental proportions for him to be sat for anyone. He has played too well for too long for anything short of a breakdown like the one the running back had in the 1991 movie The Last Boy Scout had for Romo to ever be replaced.
So, Cowboys fans–enjoy what Tony Romo brings to the present with the peace of mind that comes with knowing the future will be in good hands.