Many loyal Dallas Cowboys fans and football fans everywhere would enjoy seeing Tony Romo take the field this Sunday in Canton, OH. After all it is the annual Hall of Fame Game, and first football game of the 2013 season, albeit only preseason.
Love him or hate him, of course his trotting to the huddle would greatly increase the appeal. It’s rarely as exciting to turn on the TV and see back-up quarterbacks take the field all day when the starters are physically capable of playing.
In this exact scenario on Sunday, it’s beyond the right call to not even dress the most crucial piece of the Cowboys’ 2013 playoff aspirations.
There is truly nothing anywhere near substantial to be gained from Romo strapping on the pads. On the contrary, there are a few important benefits from his sitting out entirely.
ROMO’S INSIGNIFICANT INVOLVEMENT
It’s been firmly stated by Head Coach Jason Garrett that even if Romo played, it would be for no more than a handful of plays. I’d be shocked if Romo was allowed to pass more than once. Even in that case it would have to be a short, quick throw before any real threat of pressure.
With the interior line still in major flux due to crucial injuries and uncertainty, it’s hard to envision Jason Garrett counting on these guys to protect Romo without concern.
Nate Livings has looked awful since his return last week from a lengthy layoff. In recent practice, Livings was torched 3 times for sacks in 5 plays. A few guys beating him will likely miss the final 53-man roster.
The main back-up for Livings is also out for the game, with Ronald Leary not ready for real playing time. Kevin Kowalski and David Arkin are currently taking starting snaps in the middle and both are still earning their spot on the team and confidence of coaches.
Not to mention, the starting center is a rookie who has never played a game in the NFL. No head coach in their right mind would let their star QB drop back to seek a middle to deep pass route, and risk his unsure interior line allowing Romo to get crushed.
With this in mind, it all equates to Tony Romo gaining nothing from handing off a few times before whipping a 5 yard pass, and then replacing his helmet with a ballcap.
TONY HAS VALUE IN BALLCAP
If Tony Romo does play, he will have to go through the full preparations to play QB in a professional football game. You don’t half-speed warm-ups or prepare with laziness to play against NFL defenders in any contest.
Most NFL pros know this hard fact, if you are going to play, you better be ready to play. If you let up in this league, you risk your health in a serious manner.
By Romo not even dressing, he can spend another, significant day coaching the young offensive players.
He’ll be able to coach WR’s throughout the game, providing them input according to what he expects when playing QB.
The Cowboys stated all off-season that Tony Romo will expand further into a coaching role. This is the perfect time to let him coach the other positions along with his own. By playing in this game at all, it would greatly reduce that ability.
IS ORTON STILL CAPABLE?
It’s no secret Kyle Orton has looked less than stellar this off-season and in camp. Many Cowboys fans have begun to question if this guy can keep us in games if Tony were to be absent for any period of time in the regular season.
Cowboys fans have every reason to question this, as we witnessed firsthand NFL QB’s are very likely to miss time. Simply in our own division last season, we watched 2 of 4 QB’s miss substantial time or suffer a bad injury.
In 2012, both Michael Vick and RG3 didn’t make it through the year. Vick missed 6 games and RG3 hasn’t been healthy since his awful knee injury in the last regular season game.
The Eagles used a capable back-up in Nick Foles to substitute, and Kirk Cousins looked very impressive when replacing his fellow rookie teammate. What does Dallas Kyle Orton offer if Romo suffers a similar fate?
Of course we will see plenty of Orton in the weeks to come, but starting a game is slightly different from relieving, even after a handful of plays. Knowing the day before that you are the main starter is a different mindset.
As the starter, Orton will be the face of the Dallas offense the first time it is seen on TV this season. I’d like to see how he handles that exact role. He will likely get another chance to start the final preseason game, yet this one is before a national audience starving for football.
HOF MERELY A BONUS GAME
There are only 2 teams in the NFL that play 5 pre-season games this season…the Dallas Cowboys and Miami Dolphins. The Hall of Fame Game is a ceremonial bonus game meant to honor the Hall of Fame inductees and treat football fans alike.
Once the game is concluded, both teams join the rest of the league in the their common 4-game preseason slate. In the Cowboys’ case, their next game is merely 5 days away. What’s the point of Romo getting 3-5 plays Sunday when he has another game the following Friday?
There will only be 4 days between the next time he warms up to start a game. Why put Tony through 2 gameday preps and preparations to play in 6 days?
It’s pointless in the grand scheme to entertain this. Before fans know it the Cowboys will be back on TV the same week.
I’m sure we can all wait through a mere workweek to see Tony Romo make his first, brief debut in a meaningless pre-season game. Even after that second game (first for Tony), there would still be 3 more to go.
If for some freak reason Romo were to get hurt this Sunday during a pointless starting gesture, Cowboys fans would never forgive their struggling head coach. Jason Garrett won’t survive another dose of wrath from Cowboys fans and make it to the 2014 season at the helm.
There is nothing to be gained from starting Tony this Sunday…not for the player, coach, nor Cowboys fans. We should be content with Romo spending his Sunday with the entire offense. After all, the regular season contributions from younger players effect our success greatly.