After a rousing 30-16 win over the Green Bay Packers in Lambeau Field on Sunday, it’s getting harder and harder for the Dallas Cowboys to sit rookie quarterback Dak Prescott.
The Cowboys are now 5-1, having won five straight, with Prescott looking increasingly comfortable as the starting quarterback.
In Week 6, Prescott went 18-for-27 for 247 yards, three touchdowns, and one interception, with a 117.4 passer rating. Prescott’s interception was the first of his career, coming after he broke Tom Brady’s record for most pass attempts without a pick to start a career.
Now with Prescott cruising, the Cowboys will have to make a difficult decision as they go into their bye week.
Tony Romo is expected to return soon, after fracturing a bone in his back during the preseason. At 36, Romo has the body of work to resume his position as the starting quarterback, but with Prescott playing so well, the Cowboys will have to make a controversial decision about who to play.
One week ago, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones shut down talk that Prescott was untouchable.
“Tony is our No. 1 quarterback,” Jones said, adding that deciding between Romo and Prescott is a good problem to have.
After beating the Packers, Jones’ tune changed, suggesting Romo may not automatically have his starting job back, according to USA Today’s Lorenzo Reyes:
“We’re going to have the luxury of having Romo past the bye. We’re going to have the luxury of having Romo, when he does get on the field, very healthy. We would not compromise that. We might have, had Dak not been playing as well as he’s been playing.
“What we won’t know is what is the very best time, relative to his injury, his conditioning, what is the very best time for him to be on the field? On the other hand, we’ve got an opportunity in Dak to go out there and win these football games, which he is doing.”
The NFL world seems to feel that with the Cowboys rolling, the team can’t bench Prescott for Romo.
Former Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman said on Sunday during the game’s broadcast, “I don’t think you can disrupt the momentum you have. These are runs that don’t come around very often.”
After the game, former head coach and TV analyst Tony Dungy said he believes Prescott has won the job.
According to Sports Illustrated’s Peter King, Cowboys COO Stephen Jones said in August he felt Romo would be the starter when he returned, but left the door open.
“But things happen. You know what happened to [Drew] Bledsoe and Brady,” Jones said. “I’m sure Tony’s aware of that.”
The situation mirrors Brady’s start with the Patriots. After Bledsoe suffered a nearly season-ending injury, Brady took over as the starting QB and never relinquished it. The rest is history for the Patriots.
When Romo is ready to play — which could be Week 8, after the Cowboys’ bye — the team will have to make a decision: Sit a 36-year-old veteran quarterback with a solid résumé for a 23-year-old rookie, or sit a rookie who’s posted the league’s fifth-best passer rating and led the team to a 5-1 start.
Either way, someone isn’t going to be happy.