The Romo Roll-of-Dice
Tony Romo entered Monday on the Dallas Cowboys' 53-man roster, and the logic was obvious: Would you rather have "whatever-percent'' chance of him recovering from a break in his back to play sooner than eight weeks from now ... or would you rather have a 53rd man (Dax Swanson or whomever) on your team?
The Cowboys said they would continue to gather information on Romo, with a broken bone in his back that could be healed by six weeks from the injury time 12 days ago ... but with the possibility also loomin that Dak Prescott is going to have to handle the job for a large chunk of the season.
"Currently, he's on the 53-man roster,'' coach Jason Garrett said on Monday. "We'll get information over the next 48 hours."
And on Tuesday morning on 105.3 The Fan? Consider the information gathered.
Jerry Jones was asked if Romo is going on injured reserve and told 105.3 The Fan, "not really." Jones inicated that the 53rd player on the roster would not be more valuable than what the return of Romo can potentially mean.
How tight was the decision? How close?
"You don’t have to spend a lot of time going over and kind of circumcising the mosquito,'' Jerry said ... even though that's exactly what Dallas has done in the last 12 days.
Somebody in the media mob that surrounded Mark Sanchez on Monday after his first practice with the Dallas Cowboys asked how successfully the journeyman QB is gobbling up his new playbook.
“Give me a few minutes," Sanchez joked. "I've got a long way to go.“
Unfortunately for Dallas, The days, hours and minutes are ticking down towards Sunday's season-opening visit from the Giants ... and the QB-related issues understandably dominate the way the organization’s time is being spent.
*Management is still gauging what to do with Tony Romo and his aching back, planning on more medical testing to determine whether he should go on the eight-week IR list or remain on the active roster.
*The coaching staff must focus on the readiness of rookie Dak Prescott, who a month ago was viewed by the team as a raw prospect but now might be viewed by New York as raw meat.
“Mark’s been a good player in this league,'' coach Jason Garrett said. "He’s been a starting quarterback. He’s been to the playoffs as a starting quarterback. He’s started a lot of games. He was a very successful college quarterback. We played against him in our division so we’ve seen him up close. He’s an experienced guy who has a lot of ability. He can move around. He can throw the football He’d had success in the league. We thought it was a good opportunity to add to the depth of our quarterback position. When he was available certainly it was a good opportunity for us to bring him here.”
And Sanchez' approach?
"Just keep chipping away, keep studying," said the newcomer, once upon a time the fifth pick in his entire NFL draft but now on his fourth team in four years. "I’m thankful a guy like (injured backup) Kellen Moore has been a great resource for me. Dak has been great, and I’m sure Tony will be awesome, too.”
Sanchez had playoff success early in his career with the Jets, but most recently this summer lost the starting job — and a roster spot — in Denver. Dallas moved quickly to give him a one-year, $2.5 million deal to help buoy a position that may determine whether the Cowboys can be a winner in 2016.
“This is a group that’s been there, knows how to win and has created and cultivated a winning atmosphere,’' Sanchez said as he nodded toward the facilities at The Star in Frisco. “To be a part of that. … I know that’s really important.”
In the NFL, quarterback is “really important,’’ too. The Cowboys have a matter of days, hours and minutes to figure it out.
Ultimately, the Cowboys once again have one of those “What Did They Know And When Did They Know It’’ medical issues.
But for the moment, rookie defensive lineman Charles Tapper is just glad he can feel his legs.
“I just woke up (at training camp in Oxnard) and (thought), ‘Oh, a little back pain. I went to sleep the next day and I couldn’t move my leg. I didn’t know if I was paralyzed.’'
What Tapper, a fourth-round rookie from Oklahoma, was actually feeling was a problem rooted in a fracture in his back, which he says has been diagnosed as a “pars defect.’’ He indicated he’s occasionally experienced discomfort since childhood, but nothing this serious until this summer, when an MRI revealed the true issue.
“Very frustrating,’’ said the good-natured Tapper on Monday as he detailed the issue. “You don’t get to play. You put in the work, but you don’t get to have that fun.’'
Ideally, Tapper is now on a path toward healing. But first he needs to practice something he hasn’t done since early August. The Cowboys have suggested he will miss this weekend’s opener against the Giants but could play for the defensive-line-needy Dallas might participate in Week 2.
“I’m back running and cutting,’’ Tapper said. “As soon as the trainers say I can play, I’m playing.’’
In the meantime, critics have a reason to wonder whether there was a pre-draft oversight here and whether it’s commonplace for something like this to slip through the cracks while the medical staff ideally guides Tapper back to the field.
In additional injury news: Linebacker Mark Nzeocha (Achilles) did not appear to be practicing in full. ... Linebacker Sean Lee was apparently a full participant. ... I think the coaches are hoping Lance Dunbar can be part of this gameplan. ... Darren McFadden is on NFI, where as Garrett said the Cowboys are "allowing his elbow to heal.'' As always a good soldier, McFadden explained both how he cannot fully straighten his elbow while at the same time proclaiming himself ready to return. But it'll be six weeks. ... And Mo Claiborne was working with Scandrick on the resistance cords before the Monday practice but Claiborne told me it did not signify any physical issue for him, just a warmup before the workout.
Mo Claiborne said he feels better than ever. Orlando Scandrick said he's playing with "something to prove.'' Both of them, though, turned the conversations to the Giants, and prep for the Giants, Scandrick noting that they have stars at the skill positions, starting with QB Eli Manning.
Our Mark Lane notes that in Week 1 road games, Eli Manning's NFL record is 0-5.
Hey, the Cowboys lack playmakers at defensive end, are relying on a rookie QB and are trying to escape the stench of a 4-12 season.
So Eli is 0-5 in these situations? Hey ... it's something.
The Final Word
"We like the guys we have on our team more.'' - Garrett on why Dallas wasn't active in waiver pickups.