Let’s get something clear right off the bat: Tony Romo will play in the NFC East division championship game between the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles in Week 17. He strained his back in the Cowboys’ Week 16 win over the Washington Redskins while also rolling his ankle, although he and the team are discounting the latter injury. It bothered him severely on the plays immediately after it happened, but he appeared to be fine on the final plays of the game. But one thing is for sure: One and/or both of the injuries bothered him in that game and will do so again against the Eagles.
On the Cowboys’ game-winning drive against the Redskins, Romo purposely did not run for a first down when he easily could have on two different pass plays. Everyone wondered why Dallas’ quarterback simply refused to take advantage of the wide open field in front of him, but it was made clear after the game when his back problem was revealed.
Romo is just calling the back a “tweak” and isn’t even acknowledged the ankle, although he couldn’t even put pressure on it when it happened. Between that and his back, he may duplicate his Week 16 outing and refuse to run, even when it’s his best option. Sure, it worked out fine against the Redskins as he threw the game-winning touchdown to DeMarco Murray on fourth-and-goal from the 10, but the Cowboys can’t bank on that against the Eagles.
For starters, Philly is aware of Romo’s injuries. Even if everyone in Dallas discounts the ankle, you better believe the Eagles’ pass defenders will be going for it on Sunday night and they’ll be trying even harder to hit Romo because they know one good lick could remove him from the game with that back strain.
So what should the Cowboys? Well, they could certainly try what has worked to perfection the past 11 times they’ve tried it: Give Murray at least 20 carries. It took some convincing, but Jason Garrett made sure Murray carried the ball in the second half against the Redskins and it worked. Shocking, we know.
Keep an eye on Romo in Week 17. His hesitancy to do what’s necessary to win could prove to be a factor. After all the choking comments, he has yet another chance to shut those critics up. Tie your steers down because here we go again.