The question of whether the Cowboys, having clinched homefield advantage through the playoffs, will get QB Tony Romo reps in their last two games isn’t a question of Romo alone.
It’s a question of how long Dallas (12-2) wants to play its starters, especially along the line, in Weeks 16 and 17 against the Lions and Eagles, respectively.
Because what good does it do to play Romo with his backside protected by essentially a third-stringer (looking at you, Emmett Cleary) while throwing to a backup (hello, Lucky Whitehead)?
“We haven’t really talked about any of the roster stuff or guys playing,” offensive coordinator Scott Linehan told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, parroting head coach Jason Garrett. “Of course, we would love to see our guys get reps and things like that. But it’s really more on what we’ve got to do to get ready for Detroit right now. We haven’t talked about that yet.”
With everything it can clinch clinched, it’s time to talk.
Romo, 36, played in only four games in 2015. He hasn’t taken a regular-season snap in more than a year. He has been injured in three of the past five games in which he’s played, counting this preseason. (For that, he counts $20.8 million against the salary cap this season — and has a $14 million base and a $24.7 million cap hit in 2017.)
Now, as the backup to rookie sensation Dak Prescott, Romo is next man up if the starting QB is injured (see: Derek Carr and Marcus Mariota).
“I feel great about Tony in any aspect …; I have all the confidence in the world for obvious reasons that Tony would be ready to roll. I promise you,” Linehan said.
Still, is playing Romo merely putting him in harm’s way?
Linehan swears he has no problem if Romo enters the postseason without taking a snap this regular season. It will be, the coordinator said, reacting to a situation. What happens in the next game might make things different, though.
“When you get put in a …; role where something happened to the starter, you’ve got to be ready to go. It’s different,” Linehan said. “I’m sure it’s been an adjustment for him, but he’s a professional. I’m sure he would be ready to roll if we needed to call on him.”