Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

With Prescott's Cowboys Winning, Few Clamor for Romo's Return

At the top of the quarterback categories this season, right around Tom Brady and Matt Ryan and Andy Dalton, there is a name that would have been unfamiliar to most pro football fans a year ago: Dak Prescott.

A fourth-round pick out of Mississippi State, Prescott was pressed into service by the Dallas Cowboys in his rookie season after Tony Romo suffered a compression fracture in his back in the exhibition season. It seemed like a blow to the Cowboys' hopes, and fans began counting the days till Romo's hoped-for midseason return.

But it turns out, Prescott can play some football.

After losing the opener to the New York Giants by a point, Prescott and the Cowboys have run off six straight wins and taken a two-game lead at the top of the NFC East.

Prescott ranks third among the current starting quarterbacks in adjusted yards per pass, behind only Brady and Ryan. Only the Raiders' Derek Carr and Trevor Siemian of the reigning Super Bowl champion Broncos can match his six wins. Prescott's nine touchdown passes already ties the Cowboys' rookie record, set by Troy Aikman in 11 games in 1989.

Playing against a strong Philadelphia Eagles defense Sunday night, Prescott struggled with the blitz at first but kept his team in the game, rallied from a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter, and won in overtime with a 5-yard touchdown pass to Jason Witten.

But now Romo is just about ready to come back, having returned to practice last week, giving the Cowboys a classic quarterback problem.

Romo's talents have been in dispute among football fans for years. Although his numbers have almost always been solid, he has been criticized for failing to take Dallas to the next level. Since he took over as a starter in 2006, the Cowboys have made the playoffs only four times, with a record there of 2-4. Numerous 8-8 and 9-7 seasons could be viewed as consistency, or mediocrity

Injuries have also been a concern. Romo had perhaps his best season in 2014, making his fourth Pro Bowl, but then missed most of 2015 with a broken collarbone. His latest injury, and his age, 36, have some thinking that he is at the end of the line.

The team has announced Prescott will start next Sunday, giving him a good opportunity to increase his statistics against the woeful Cleveland Browns. But after that, it is unclear.

Teams generally do not like to take away a player's job just because of injury. But after the Eagles game, more and more are convinced that it would be foolish to sit Prescott now.

The Washington Post: "It would be football malpractice at this point for the Cowboys to even consider going back to Romo."

Bleacher Report: "So long, Tony Romo." "This team belongs to Prescott now."

The Ringer: "Right now, it feels like a Romo-led team would be headed to brave moral victory in the second round of the playoffs, and like a Prescott-led team could do anything."

In 1996, the Cowboys had won three of the previous four Super Bowls. Barry Switzer was the coach. Since then, they haven't been the Browns, but they also haven't been the storied franchise that chased championships nearly every year. Forgive Dallas fans for seeing visions of Meredith, Aikman and Staubach in the young Prescott.

With Prescott's Cowboys Winning, Few Clamor for Romo's Return 11/01/16 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 1, 2016 12:46am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, New York Times.

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Bucs' Vernon Hargreaves: 'I'm not making any plays'


    TAMPA — Eli Manning gathered his receivers together on the sideline during the Giants' Week 4 game against the Bucs and told them he planned to target the weakest link of the secondary all afternoon.

    Patriots receiver Chris Hogan gets position in front of Bucs cornerback Vernon Hargreaves for a 5-yard touchdown pass in New England’s win on Oct. 5.
  2. Lightning's J.T. Brown to stop anthem protest, focus on community involvement

    Lightning Strikes

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — Lightning wing J.T. Brown will no longer raise his first as a protest during the national anthem before games.

    J.T. Brown says he will work more with the Tampa police and groups that serve at-risk young people.
  3. Signs point to Jameis Winston dressing vs. Bills


    TAMPA — The Bucs didn't sign another quarterback Wednesday, which would suggest they are confident that Jameis Winston can be active as a backup to Ryan Fitzpatrick on Sunday at Buffalo if he doesn't start.

  4. FSU doesn't feel need for ongoing reminder of last year's beatdown at Louisville


    Of course Florida State remembers what happened against Louisville last year. The 63-20 loss was one of the worst defeats in Seminoles history.

    Louisville's Lamar Jackson looks back at the action from the sidelines during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Murray State, Saturday, Sept. 30, 2017, in Louisville, Ky. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)
  5. Goodell: NFL not changing its national anthem policy


    NEW YORK — In the face of fan unrest and accusations from the president about the league being unpatriotic, the NFL is not changing its national anthem policy to require players to stand.

    NFL commissioner Roger Goodell speaks during a news conference, Wednesday in New York. [AP Photo/Julie Jacobson]