Cowboys sticking to the plan for Hall of Fame game

Cowboys continue to prepare for Sunday night's game without Tony Romo in the game plan.

The Dallas Cowboys' position on playing quarterback Tony Romo and other first-teamers in Sunday's nationally televised Hall of Fame Game in Canton, Ohio was established in this space a week ago, coach Jason Garrett revealing in our exclusive interview that he might "lean to no plays'' for Romo.

"The clock starts on our '1's' (first-teamers) in Week 2 of the preseason,'' Garrett told me. "So that's not going to be Tony's game."

Garrett has been slow to make an official pronouncement. But more than a week ago, players were being informed of the plan. That continues to be the case as the club prepares to leave training camp in Oxnard, Calif., for this weekend's preseason opener.

The Cowboys play five preseason games this summer, the extra one being at the start of the schedule against the Dolphins in Canton – thus Garrett's concept of "the clock starting'' at what would be the start of a normal four-game preseason.

There is no indication that the consideration of scratching Romo is related to the offseason surgery to remove a cyst from his back, a procedure that prevented the quarterback from throwing until about six weeks ago. Romo has participated in all drills throughout camp, even as the club is monitoring his ramp-up toward the regular season by keeping a "pitch count" of sorts on his throws.

Meanwhile, the team's problems with offensive-line health, while troubling, have become an issue in the last few days – long after Garrett "leaned'' in the direction of keeping Romo off the field.

As Garrett told me then, this "Week Zero'' exhibition is "going to be a Nick Stephens game and an Alex Tanney game," mentioning the club's third- and fourth-stringers.