Dallas Cowboy quarterback Tony Romo will not play in this week's showdown for the NFC East Division championship because of an injury he suffered during the nail-biting victory against Washington Sunday, according to ESPN. Romo, who is a talented but polarizing quarterback among the fan base, evidently suffered some sort of back injury while he was evading Redskin tacklers during the victory which kept the 8-7 Cowboys alive for the playoffs if they can win one more game.
But shortly after the ESPN report.....Dallas Coach Jason Garrett said that was not necessarily true. Romo had an MRI taken of his back and he will be day to day. Owner Jerry Jones described Romo's back as "a tightening situation." Jones, who started at guard on a University of Arkansas football which won a national championship, was reportedly not willing to foreclose on the possibility of Romo suiting up for the climactic game of the year.
Backup quarterback Kyle Orton will run the show if Romo can't play when high-flying Philadephia comes to Jerry's World to battle Dallas for the championship. Orton was a brilliant quarterback at Purdue back when the Boilermakers had some great teams.
Orton has probably been one of the most underestimated quarterbacks since he entered the league several years ago. With a strong arm and an accurate delivery, he should be able to hit Cowboy receivers Miles Austin, Dez Bryant, Terrance Williams and Jason Witten over the Eagles' defense which is nowhere near as good as the Philly defense which once sacked Troy Aikman 11 times in one game.
It's the Eagles offense which will present problems as LeSean Shady McCoy leads the league in rushing while quarterback Nick Foles has been hot lately hitting speedy receivers such as DeSean Jackson for big yardage. But the main factor for Philly's success this year may be offensive guru Chip Kelly who has installed his Oregon Ducks up-tempo offense. Earlier in the year when Dallas defeated the Eagles on Philadelphia's home field, Kelly's offense was not yet clicking on all cyclinders as it is now.
If the Cowboys could get Sean Lee back with the defense this their chances of slowing down the Eagles would be greatly limproved. While the Cowboys' defense has faced intense criticism this year, they have made major improvement in the area of creating turnovers. If they intercept a few passes and pick up some fumbles they could be in a lot better shape in this game than most people think.
Jones said Tuesday Lee had not yet been cleared to play, according to the Dallas Cowboys website.
While most experts think the Cowboys will have to focus on the running game this week, that shouldn't be a problem. Demarco Murry has been averaging seven yards a carry in the last two games when they allowed him to tote the pigskin. And with Orton being a better quarterback than most people realize, Cowboys' fans shouldn't give up hope.
Orton once lead the Chicago Bears to the playoffs before being traded to Denver. During his stint in Chicago he was considered a valid starting quarterback in the NFL with a rating somewhere in the middle of the pack.
This could be Orton's golden opportunity to show what he can do in a big game. If he can rub off some of the rust from sitting on the Dallas bench for more than two years, he has the ability to help the Cowboys to a championship.
Jones said Tuesday that Garrett was not coaching for his job this week. A reporter asked the Cowboy owner if Garrett would be fired if he didn't make the playoffs this year. Jones only said that he addressed that question four weeks ago when he said the head coach will be back next year.
"Garrett is learning by leaps and bounds and I want our team to take advantage of that," Jones said Tuesday of his coach, who is in the third year of his contract.
Controversy flared a couple of weeks ago over play-calling when it was revealed Romo audibled away from a run play to a pass which was then intercepted and cost the Cowboys a crucial victory against Green Bay.
A lot of questions about the Cowboys may be answered at gametime this week against the Eagles.
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