Through the first 13 games of this season I have kept my thoughts surrounding the Dallas Cowboys’ quarterback situation to myself because I know how the opinion of an influential figure like myself can divide the locker room.
Such a schism could be impossible to overcome this late into the season, but I can no longer keep my keep my silence – it is time for Tony Romo to take his rightful place at the helm of America’s Team.
Dak Prescott’s rise to prominence this season has been impressive, but has also been circumstantial rise. His arrival to the elite of the NFL could be attributed to being in the right place at the right just as much as it could be credited to his skill.
Stephen McGee, Brad Johnson, Jon Kitna, Brooks Bollinger, Brandon Weeden, Kellen Moore, Matt Cassel, and Kyle Orton make up the illustrious list of Tony Romo replacement during his time with the Cowboys. Those names are a real who’s who of QB’s and whose performances set a new standard for quarterback ineptitude.
It is with this backdrop and the failure of the 2015 Cowboys that Prescott came into the picture. An offense that emphasized a strong running game and time of possession dominance, a disciplined team that committed few penalties and allowed the offense to stay ahead of the chains, and the best NFL offensive line since the 90s Cowboy glory days, allowed Prescott to excel and his flaws to be hidden.
An NFL player’s most important ability is availability and that is without a doubt Romo’s biggest question mark. Romo’s skill, however, has never been questioned. I don’t know what the Cowboys’ record would be if Romo had not been hurt in the preseason, but I guarantee that he wins that Giants game last Sunday.
While Eli was up to his usual tricks of fumbles and interceptions against one of the worst defenses in the league (where have I heard that before), Prescott was just as bad. He was indecisive, antsy in the pocket, and lacked the confidence to stretch the defense and throw the ball downfield.
Prescott has done what was asked of him, but he is still unproven. If the Cowboys are to win the Super Bowl, risk-taking and improvisation are going to be necessary traits at the quarterback position and I don’t think Prescott has developed that skillset.
When everything is going according to plan, Prescott can win, but when the play breaks down, can he make the big play downfield like Romo can? Does he have the mental toughness to come back from a backbreaking pick-six? For better or for worse, Romo has demonstrated the skill and fortitude to come back.
Despite one of the best arsenals in the NFL, Dallas does not have a wide receiver in the top 30 in yards – that stat alone is enough to exemplify the limitations of Prescott’s ability.
Precott’s previous two performances are enough to warrant real skepticism as to if he has his the “rookie wall” and if defensive coordinators have discovered the right game plan to defend him.
As the Cowboys head into the playoffs and the nation unites as, once again their team, America’s Team, is the Super Bowl favorite, the defense is a huge question mark. The linebacking corps is great, but they struggle to get a pass rush and the secondary in injury-riddled. Dallas already has one Achilles Heel and they don’t need Prescott providing another.
Dak’s potential is off the charts and he has shown tremendous poise for a rookie, but Tony Romo is the QB best equipped to lead the Cowboys to their sixth Super Bowl.