What should be Tony Romo's status for the Dallas Cowboys preseason game Sunday at San Francisco? Football teams are not only a product of circumstance but also creatures of habit. So ... Considering that means it's worth considering his history in preseason Week 2s:
I went back to 2011 to examine this, because I don't think anything outside the scope of the Garrett head coaching era is apropos to this discussion. Wade Phillips, for example, played the starters in the Hall of Fame game in 2010, but Garrett didn't play any of them in 2013 when Dallas had the Hall of Fame game. So, I went with 2011 to stick with what's relevant.
Romo, 2011 vs. San Diego -- 3 drives (midway through 3rd Q), 20 plays, 8/12, 58 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT, 70.8 passer rating
Romo, 2012 at San Diego -- 2 drives (all of 1st Q), 20 plays, 9/13, 75 yards, 83.8 passer rating
Romo, 2013 (first back surgery) at Arizona -- 3 drives (midway through 2nd Q), 14 plays, 7/10, 142 yards, 112.5 passer rating (NOTE: this was the weird game where Dunbar and Dez fumbled on back-to-back drives)
Romo, 2014 (second back surgery) vs. Baltimore -- 2 drives (midway through 1st Q), 15 plays, 4/5, 80 yards, 1 TD, 158.3 passer rating (NOTE: After Murray fumbled a hand-off, Romo tried to drag down Ravens defensive lineman Courtney Upshaw on the way to the end zone)
So history says Romo should "say 'Hi!'' to the NFL and that he plays in the 7 p.m. (Dallas time) start.
Ah, but every situation is different ... And the Cowboys have two notable "situations'' here.
1) Have you see that not-yet-ready-for-prime-time turf at Levi's Stadium? Hopefully it'll be more fortified once we all advance to Super Bowl 50 (and maybe the Cowboys will advance there, too, that desire certainly among the reasons Garrett planned to stage a Saturday walkthrough in the new building in Santa Clara, south of San Francisco). But right now?
The field inside Levi's is getting prepped for paint. pic.twitter.com/TkFCy6Us7x— Chris Biderman (@ChrisBiderman) August 22, 2015
The footing ... looks a little choppy.
2) The Cowboys reek of injury vulnerability here. As I noted above, in the last two years, it was Romo himself who was rehabbing ... but here Dallas will go into the second game of the preseason possibly without four starters in the offensive line, certainly without Dez Bryant, and with pass-catchers Escobar, Beasley and Hanna all ailing ... and with all three top runners Randle, Dunbar and McFadden either dinged up or returning from being dinged up.
Said owner Jerry Jones about the running back group, specifically Randle (bothered by an oblique strain): "He should play because he's in the rotation ... You'll see him up there. You'll see him take some snaps.''
Said COO Stephen Jones about the risk of Romo joining him: “You’re not going to put Tony in there with the wrong guys.''
So there you have it ... maybe. But this is no formal announcement. And I doubt that the non-stars love the idea of being labeled "the wrong guys.'' And Romo in Week 2's has a history. ... But if I get a vote? It's Weeden (who already treated Week 1 as if he deserved to be protected, so why can't Romo?) and then lots of Vaughan and Showers.
I'd pretty much fireman's-carry the injured stars through this with the same gentle touch that Fish says he'd carry "sucky writer'' rivals Dez and David Moore.