In what could very well be Tony Romo’s finest season, he suffered a severe setback this week.
NFL.com is reporting that Romo suffered another injury to his already injured back. During last Monday’s loss to the Washington Redskins, Romo suffered a blow to his back, delivered by an unknown player. The result is two fractures in his transverse process (the small bones that stick out of the sides of the vertebrae). This is a different injury than the one he suffered last year that required season-ending surgery.
Romo hasn’t practiced all week in the hopes that the rest would help, but Romo is still in a great deal of pain. And, with the Cowboys holding onto a 6-2 record this year, they’ll want to try every available option short of more surgery to help Romo heal.
Today’s starting quarterback for the Cowboys, Brandon Weeden, will get his first start of the season, with rookie Dustin Vaughn as backup.
After today’s game, the Cowboys fly to London for next Sunday’s match versus the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Cowboys may shelve Romo for today’s game and against the Jaguars because Week 11 is their bye week, giving Romo almost four full weeks of rest. The fractures in the transverse process will most likely never heal, but with rest and treatment, Romo could be feeling much better by Week 12.
ESPN is reporting that Weeden took all first team snaps during Cowboys practice this week in preparation for his 21st career start. He was 5-15 with the Cleveland Browns. Taking over for Romo Monday night, Weeded was 4 for 6 for 69 yards, including a 25-yard touchdown to Jason Witten.
Though the Cowboys seem confident in Weeden’s ability, they will still rely heavily on DeMarco Murray, who is having a stellar season. Murray is averaging 25.75 carries per game, and his 1,054 rushing yards leads the league by 288 yards. However, Murray and the Cowboys’ rushing offensive line, playing very well this season, will go against the Cardinals rush defense, holding opponents to 77.9 yards per game average for 2014.
Weeden can still deliver, however. His role, while starting for Romo, will be to control the ball and the clock without turning the ball over. Expect Weeden to use Dex Bryant and Jason Witten for short outlet passes during the game.
Dallas passing game coordinator Scott Linehan said of Weeden, “You know, he’s an older player. Young in the league, but the guy’s got a lot of maturity to him. It’s not too big for him to go out there and step in in a relief mode and play, nor is it too big for him to be prepared as a starter because he’s done it in this league. We’re very confident in him.”
[Image courtesy of Sports Kings]