Jerry Jones ought to be used to playing without quarterback Tony Romo at this point.
But while the Cowboys owner admitted it was difficult being without his starter, the progress of rookie backup Dak Prescott has him hopeful the Cowboys won’t flatline without Romo in the past.
“Yeah, Tony is a setback,” Jones said, via Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “Tony’s injury and him not starting Sunday is a setback. Make no mistake about it, and I don’t care how you gild a lily. We would be a better team with him out there. On the other hand, what I didn’t expect was Dak to come in and have the kind of offseason and build the kind of confidence he’s done with the staff and his teammates. So that has tempered the setback and the disappointment there with Tony’s injury.
“Given the choice to start Romo or Dak, then there would have been no issue and you’d have to say that’s uncomfortable. But this is a different deal. Make no mistake about it, it’s a different tempo, different challenges for a quarterback, but if we are going to not have Romo, this is the way that I would like to play the games.”
The questions don’t begin and end at quarterback for the Cowboys, who will begin the year without three suspended starters on defense (defensive ends Randy Gregory and Demarcus Lawrence and middle linebacker Rolando McClain). But Jones thinks the enthusiasm over Prescott is enough to keep them afloat in Romo’s absence because of a broken bone in his back.
“Of course, I’m excited,” Jones said Thursday. “We’ve got a lot of unanswered questions. especially when you look at starting a rookie quarterback. I think we certainly understand that we’ve got to play above expectation on our defense. I think we can. And we’ve got to play to expectation on offense. And then know what our expectations are on our quarterback being a rookie, I think that’s been tempered appropriately and hopefully he’ll come in and be above expectation.”
Of course, they went 1-11 without Romo last year, so the question of being able to meet expectations is probably relative.