Start Romo?


Can't take any game for granted

Archer By Todd Archer

I understand the logic to a degree with the Cowboys having to play two games in such a short span and Tony Romo's back injury history, but I don't think the Cowboys can take any game for granted.

A British reporter asked Jason Garrett if he viewed the Jacksonville Jaguars as an easy mark during the Cowboys' stay in London. Garrett answered succinctly: No. Do you think he will look at the New York Giants as an easy mark? Heck no. Do you think he will care that the Philadelphia Eagles are coming to AT&T Stadium four days later? Heck no again. He might say he doesn't even know who the Cowboys play after the Giants, but I'm sure that would be a slight fib.

I do believe the NFL did the Cowboys no favors by having them play the Giants on a Sunday night at MetLife Stadium with a quick turnaround to face the Eagles. Now, I'm all for the Cowboys playing a road game before their Thanksgiving contest out of fairness, but to have the Cowboys land back in Dallas sometime after 3 a.m. is just too much of a penalty.

Romo might actually be listed as a "full participant" in practice for those days leading into the Eagles' game because the practices will be so light.

If Romo was able to survive a flight to London, practice twice during the week and play effectively against the Jaguars, then I see no reason why he shouldn't play against the Giants. Even at 7-3 the Cowboys are not guaranteed of making the playoffs. The odds are in their favor, but they will need every win they can get.

The Giants are a 3-6 mess right now and have suffered through some injuries, but NFC East games are never easy. Never. Just as the Cowboys had to get to 7-3 with a win against the Jaguars, they need to get to 8-3 with a win against the Giants.

Romo gives them the best chance of winning. Romo's presence helps the Cowboys a lot. It makes defenses have to play more honest. If Brandon Weeden is the quarterback, New York will stack the line and force Weeden to beat them. It's what Arizona did with great success and Weeden stumbled.

The Cowboys can't afford to sit Romo for any game the rest of the way. They don't have that great of a margin for error.

Only use Romo as a closer

MacMahon By Tim MacMahon

We all know how Jason Garrett, the man with the "Be Great Today" mantra, will vote. Same with Dr. Jerry Jones and Parcells tough guy Tony Romo.

This ain't happening. But it should.

Use Romo as a closer, not a starter, Nov. 23 against the New York Giants. Give No. 9 and his bad back legitimate hope to be the best version of himself a mere four days later against the Philadelphia Eagles.

All NFC East games are not created equal. Thanksgiving counts twice as much because it's also a chance to put a loss on Philly's ledger. And this would maximize the odds of sweeping the quick two-game set.

Romo needs Wednesday off to be Romo on Sunday. He can't reasonably be expected to function at a high level on Thursday after playing a full game. That's been the case since Romo had his second back surgery, and now he's dealing with a couple of cracked little bones, too.

There's no question that Romo, who added to his legacy as one of the best fight-through-pain performers by lighting it up in London, would be ready to go against the Giants. Is it worth it if he's a shell of himself against the rival in a two-horse race?

With the highest-rated fourth-quarter QB in NFL history available if clutch calls, the Cowboys should beat the Giants, who have lost their last four games by double figures.

Don't point to Brandon Weeden 's bad day against the 8-1 Arizona Cardinals as proof this plan is flawed. That was a four-point game entering the fourth quarter.

The Arizona defense also ranks third in the league against the run. The Giants rank dead last, fresh off getting gashed for 350 yards by the Seattle Seahawks.

Challenge that O-line you believe is the NFL's best -- a group that is whole again after two starters sat against the Arizona Cardinals -- to win this game with Weeden behind them. Ride workhorse DeMarco Murray; count on Dez Bryant, who won't have to deal with Patrick Peterson, to come up with a couple of big plays for the backup QB.

Like limping linebacker Rolando McClain last week, make Romo active in case he's needed. Give him his helmet if it's close late in the game.

Give his cracked back as long a break as you can before facing the first-place Eagles.


Tim Hasselbeck, NFL

ESPN NFL analyst Tim Hasselbeck offers his insight on Colin Kaepernick's maturity, the Bears' loss to the Packers, Dez Bryant's value and the league's off-field issues.

Trent Dilfer, NFL

ESPN NFL analyst Trent Dilfer covers the Bears' loss to the Packers, Tom Coughlin's future, the Cardinals' outlook, Tony Romo's performance against the Jaguars and Panthers-Eagles.


Use a Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook name, photo & other personal information you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on ESPN's media platforms. Learn more.