Cowboys Should Consider Benching Romo This Week

On Monday Night, Tony Romo had a harrowing performance in an 18-16 defeat of the Redskins that, depending on who you ask at ESPN, fell somewhere on the grand leadership scale between Moses (before he went rogue) and Jesus. He gutted and gritted through inexperienced receivers, a dreadful offensive line performance that saw several botched snaps, and a broken rib that he had suffered the prior week versus the 49ers.

With every hit that Romo took, he grimaced in a way that would ever so briefly transmit the sharp pain from the television into viewers’ midsections. It hurt to watch and gave some–but certainly not full–credence to the commentators’ hyperbole. In just three weeks, Romo has managed to come full circle after his deficiencies were grossly exaggerated by the media in the wake of his Week 1 collapse versus the Jets.

At 2-1, Romo’s Cowboys sit in a three-way tie with the Redskins and Giants atop the NFC East. They have a legitimate shot at winning the division if they can stay healthy and figure out their issues on the offensive line. This week, the Cowboys host the 3-0 Lions in a match-up that will be a fascinating litmus test as to where these two teams stand right now in the NFC hierarchy. If the Cowboys win, they will continue to hold at least a tie in the NFC East; if the Lions win, they will at least remain in a tie with the Packers atop the NFC North and will add a notch in their legitimacy with their second quality road win, the first having come Week 1 in Tampa.

The Lions have perhaps the most punishing defensive line in the NFL. Their defense, with holes in the secondary, is buoyed by pressuring the opposing quarterback. Led by the hard hitting Donkey Kong Suh and Kyle Vanden Bosch, Detroit has eight sacks in three games. Suh and Vanden Bosch have combined for five of those sacks while the underrated Cliff Avril has one sack this season after recording 8.5 in 2010.

For the Cowboys, Dez Bryant and Felix Jones are banged up and Miles Austin is likely out for the second straight week with a hamstring injury. Any way you slice it, they are going to have issues this Sunday and a victory could very well come at the expense of further punishment to Romo’s body that would have disastrous effects later on in Dallas’s season. The Cowboys should therefore consider the option of sitting Romo this week and focus on getting rested and, most importantly, healthy coming out of their Week 5 bye.

I am well aware that this suggestion has about a 0% chance of being implemented. If the Cowboys held out Romo, Bryant, and/or Jones this week, they would be excoriated by local and national fans and media and be perceived as cowardly and weak. That being said, the NFL season, despite being just 16 games, needs to be treated as a marathon and not a sprint. There are times when teams need to strategically pick their battles for the sake of winning the war (on the flip side of this, with such a small sample one game often determines whether a team makes the playoffs or does not so teams really have to consider short-term and long-term risk and reward very carefully). If Romo does play, which all signs point to, the Cowboys need to do everything they can to protect his body from collateral damage in the wake of the Lions’ outstanding defensive line.

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One Response to Cowboys Should Consider Benching Romo This Week

  1. lhbay1 bayer says:

    won’t happen for several reasons (benching)

    leadership issues w team mates.

    many players are hurt, and play albeit not as important as QB.

    every game is a necessary win @ this time of season.

    owners care about next game–not the lasting effects of injuries. see
    earl campbell, mike webster, and players w dementia from constant concussion.

    romo has incentives in his K.

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