Spoiler Alert: It’s not Tony Romo, but it is Tony Romo.
Take Nothing away from Dak Prescott, he has been calm, measured and nothing short of brilliant and is on course for one of the all time great rookie seasons by a Quarterback if he maintains his current pace, but as he has said himself, this is Tony Romo’s team and while the temptation must be there to continue to ride the hot hand but as Impressive as he has been, he hasn’t done anything that Tony Romo himself couldn’t do.
Prescott is currently riding a QBR of 103.9, 5th highest in the league and boasting a completion percentage of 68.7% but in similar conditions in the 2014 season Romo an even more impressive 113.2 and a 69.9% completion rate. Those similar conditions being the quality of the run game and the quality of the offensive line. Under those conditions Romo proved to be the better player, just, although Romo didn’t have the injuries on offence to contend with either.
Ah Ha! I hear you cry, Brandon Weeden and Matt Cassel had the same offensive line and a 1000 yard rusher and still struggled. Yes they did but lets talk about that 1000 yard rusher for a second. The 2015 version of a 1000 yard rusher Darren McFadden scored only 3 touchdowns, that’s it. Ezekiel Elliot is already on 5 Touchdowns and in 2014 DeMarco Murray notched up 13 scores. McFadden is a different style of runner to Murray and Elliot, both the latter are legitimate Red Zone threats and can run the ball up the gut. Sometimes on 3rd and short you want your running back to be able to take the ball and stuff it up the middle for a couple of yards because that’s all you need. That’s not Darren McFadden who is more of a horizontal mover with explosive plays not necessarily an effective chain mover who can fall forward for a couple. In fact too many times did the 2015 Dallas Cowboys fail to convert 3rd and short because McFadden isn’t the type who can just fall forward for a couple of yards, the Cowboys were poor in the passing game in 2015 but that’s in no small part to the inability of their running back to break tackles at the line of scrimmage meaning opposing teams didn’t need to put as many players in the box to cope with them.
So with that out of the way, the Cowboys strength is the running game and the Cowboys 1-2 Punch of Ezekiel Elliot and Alfred Morris is a combo to be envied by the entire league, possessing speed, strength, patience and red zone threat. That opens up the passing game for whichever quarter back is under centre. Mark Sanchez must be sat on the bench behind Prescott wishing he had a whiff of the field to play with this team, it’s very quarterback friendly.
The Cowboys front office will think they have the makings of a Super Bowl wining team here, and with the defence playing as well as its played in years, the offense firing well there’s no reason at all they can’t have a tilt at it. They have a difficult schedule this season but so far are making a decent fist of it without being fully healthy at times. No rookie quarterback has ever led their team to a super bowl (Tom Brady wasn’t a rookie), let alone won one and while Dak Prescott has as good a chance as any at making it when you look at the names that have tried and failed history is not on his side. Romo’s post season struggles are often blown out of proportion, yes they haven’t been great and his post season record leaves a lot to be desired but 2014 Romo looks to have learned his lessons in this regard, he can rely on his team and his defence to make stops. Outside of DeMarcus Ware the Dallas Cowboys haven’t had a single outstanding player on defence during Romo’s time as quarterback, this is a different Dallas, one that doesn’t need to force the issue and a dominant Dallas who will control the clock and get stops. That is a complete change from any experience Romo has had during his time as Cowboys quarterback.
While we’re on the subject of the Front Office, Romo Carries a cap number of $20m, which is not small change, the front office will be keen to ensure that that their most expensive assets are on the field, and don’t tell me that it doesn’t happen because as Ike Taylor and Maurice Jones Drew broke down on a recent Dave Dameshek Football Program it does happen and it can happen here. Keeping an asset that sells that many Jerseys and takes up that much cap space makes you look bad, there’s no two ways about it even if you’ve struck gold with your rookie that’s a lot of money to ride the pine.
He should be given the chance to lead the team because, he no longer has to carry the team which had often been the case, this is a team that carries its quarterback and does so very well. The quarterback has to simply manage the game and not try to win it on his own and if he can do that the Cowboys will win a lot more games than they lose. This has all the makings of a Playoff Run and if they can overcome some tricky games particularly 3 consecutive AFC North games and come out with a decent record a couple of home games in the playoffs isn’t out of the question.
Prescott allows Romo the best chance to get completely healthy, back injuries are not to be messed with, they can have a serious effect on the rest of your life if they aren’t managed correctly and the fact Romo has had so many means his recovery time is all the more important. There’s no need to rush him back and the Cowboys don’t currently have to.
All that being said this should be Tony Romo’s last season in Dallas, he will be 37 when the 2017 season kicks off with 3 major back injuries in the last 5 years. These are the sort of things that can really effect your life moving onwards and he should seriously think about calling it a day when the 2016 season draws to a close. He doesn’t need the money, he’s got loads of it what would be best for him is to think about his future with his wife and 2 boys and being in one piece for them for as long as possible. If by some Miracle he wins the Super Bowl in 2016 his place in the Hall of fame is all but assured and he can ride off into the sunset with an incredible legacy.
Dak Prescott is the winner of this controversy whatever happens, he has just guaranteed himself the job of starting quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys in 2017 and beyond. The Cowboys, after struggling to source a rookie Quarterback in the draft and missing out on several targets they have unearthed a Gem that they should polish, someone ready to plant on the field as soon as required. The starter in waiting.