By: Chris Haddad
It is no secret that there is quite a quarterback controversy in Dallas. Tony Romo, who was originally supposed to be the undisputed starter upon his return from a back injury, is going up against a backup quarterback who has impressed thoroughly in Dak Prescott. The Cowboys are steamrolling into their bye week, coming off five straight wins including a very impressive W in Green Bay. America’s team holds the second best record in the NFC, behind the VIkings by a half game, and have established a dominant offensive game on the ground and through the air. Dallas is third in total offensive yards through six weeks, topping over 400 yards per game.
The rookie has clearly made a case for himself to be starter in the first six weeks; however, there is a strong case for the veteran as well.
Tony Romo has always made the Boys a force to be reckoned with. Since 2014, they are an impressive 15-4 with the Eastern Illinois alum as the starter. The only issue is that he has only played four games since the beginning of 2015 due to injury. The good news for him is that the offensive line for Dallas has been one of the best in the league, allowing Ezekiel Elliott to rush for 130 yards or more in four straight games while only allowing nine sacks to Dak Prescott, good for third in the league. Hopefully, if the injured veteran does start, he will be hit less.
His last full season was arguably the best of his career. He set a career high in completion percentage at 70%, as well as a very impressive 34-9 TD-INT ratio, which led to a league-leading 81.5 QBR. If the Cowboys know that they can get this Romo back, then there would be no question as to who should start at quarterback. Another bonus point for the former starter is that he is statistically a better quarterback when it comes to scoring. In seasons where he has played at least 13 games, he averages 29 touchdowns per season. Through six games, Dak is on pace for only 19 touchdowns.
Another contributing factor that might prevent Dallas from starting their rookie long-term is the fact that their backups last year performed so poorly, winning only 1 game without their go-to-guy. It is reasonable to be cautious of their rookie considering he has not yet been proven in the long-term.
Though there is a small sample size, the newbie appears to be a fit leader for this Dallas team. The 5-1 record does not lie. The low number of sacks, nine on the year, is a result of not only the offensive line, but the mobility of Dak as well. He can move a lot better than Romo when necessary and also runs with the ball more effectively, scrounging up 3.4 yards per carry and three touchdowns in six games.
To complement his prowess running the ball, Dak Prescott has thrown the ball with precision throughout his first six games. He broke Tom Brady’s record for most pass attempts before a quarterback’s first interception. That is not something to be ignored. This shows that the Mississippi State grad can throw accurately, at least more accurate than Romo, who averages 12 interceptions per season throughout his career.
Despite his lack of touchdown production through the air (only seven TDs through six games), Prescott is still on pace for a 4,000 yard rookie season. The lack of touchdowns from his passing game can be attributed to his ability to run himself (three TDs) and Ezekiel Elliott’s ability to shred through the defense (five TDs), especially in the red zone (four Red Zone TDs). Overall, this offense clicks.
What will happen?
Dak will get the start for the next few games until Romo is 100% recovered. A back injury is something to approach cautiously. Then, he will take the starting role starting around week 10 unless the young talent has a truly remarkable few games through the air. If the recovering Romo does poorly in his first one or two starts, Dak will be renamed starter.
Jerry Jones is loyal to his vets, and I think that this veteran in particular will eventually get the starting role after his full recovery.
What Should Happen?
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. The Boys are in a groove right now and, if they keep winning, Dak should stay in the starting role. He should be Dallas’ starter until proven unfit. He is young, full of potential, and healthier than Romo.
If Bill Belichick stuck with Drew Bledsoe, the Tom Brady era might not have ever happened. Maybe there is a new franchise quarterback in Dallas.