Veteran quarterback Tony Romo has reportedly been "throwing the ball with zip and working out aggressively" for a potential return to the field in either Week 8 or Week 9, sources told ProFootballTalk on Friday. The news comes as the Dallas Cowboys (4-1) have exceeded expectations under rookie Dak Prescott.
Romo suffered a compression fracture in his spine in a preseason game in August and still needs to be cleared by the Cowboys medical staff. But the report stresses “the belief” is that Dallas will start a healthy Romo over Prescott. The big question for Dallas is whether the injury-riddled 36-year-old can stay healthy in the Cowboys' push for the playoffs.
The Cowboys are in first-place in the NFC East and in an excellent position to reach the postseason due to Prescott’s unexpected poise and playmaking in the pocket. The 23-year-old, whose debut was met with much skepticism after being drafted in the fourth round, has completed 69 percent of his passes for 1,239 yards and four touchdowns with no interceptions. Prescott's 101.5 quarterback rating puts him ahead of stars like Drew Brees, Russell Wilson, Andrew Luck and Matthew Stafford.
The quarterback situation is an enviable one for head coach Jason Garrett. The Cowboys staff can take their time to evaluate Romo while Prescott continues his impressive run. But questions may arise if it makes sense to pull Prescott if he maintains this pace. Romo is the emotional leader, but the Cowboys are eager to go deep into the postseason after years of underachieving and may contemplate sticking with the first-year starter.
Speaking to local radio station 105.3 The Fan on Tuesday, team president Jerry Jones admitted the pending decision is difficult, a far cry from previous comments when he’s said the Cowboys are Romo's team.
"It's just a question of him working back in," Jones said. "We've got a great situation here. I just have to pinch myself to think about it. We've got Dak Prescott, who's playing at a level that is very capable of winning these games. We've got the future every time he walks out there. We've got the optimism of the future. It's inspiring. It's inspiring this team. And then we have, in my mind, one of the very top quarterbacks in the league, as well."