If the Dallas Cowboys clinch, will Tony Romo start?

If the Dallas Cowboys clinch a playoff spot this weekend, does that mean veteran quarterback Tony Romo will end up starting a game this season?

The moment 36-year old veteran Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo suffered a compression fracture in his back three plays into the third preseason game against the Seattle Seahawks, a quarterback controversy has been brewing in Dallas.

That’s mainly due to the excellent play of fourth round rookie quarterback Dak Prescott. Not only has the former Mississippi State Bulldog thrown for 2,835 yards, 18 touchdowns and only two interceptions in his first 11 starts; but the first-year player has also lead the Cowboys to a 10-1 record. Even more impressive has been the fact Prescott has forced Romo himself to admit Dak deserves to the be the starting quarterback for America’s Team right now.

Dallas has done so well in fact, they have a chance to clinch a playoff spot this weekend. All they need to do is win against the Minnesota Vikings on Thursday night. And then either the Tampa Bay Buccaneers or the Washington Redskins must lose (Bucs can also tie) their upcoming Sunday games in order for the Cowboys to lockdown a postseason bid five weeks before the playoffs even begin.

But one longtime sports radio and television host wonders if the Cowboys will let Romo start a game this season at some point if the team decides to rest their starters.

“Let’s say you clinch home field advantage throughout. Let’s say you have two games left…two games that won’t mean anything. If your Jerry Jones, do you allow the possibility for Tony Romo to play quarterback?” asked host Dan Patrick on his nationally syndicated radio show on Wednesday. “Now I wouldn’t do this. I want Dak Prescott to take as many reps as possible. But you know Jerry Jones…and I do believe Jerry Jones will do his best to let Tony Romo play one more time, just as a thank you.”

Obviously, there is a little bit of the “counting your chickens before their hatched” element here. The Cowboys first need to clinch a playoff spot and secure home field advantage throughout the postseason. Then Dallas will consider resting some of their starters. But I’m not sure they even consider playing Romo.

For one, if the Cowboys decide to rest their starters, that group will likely include members their offensive line. With Romo’s trade value already suffering from his injury history, I’m not sure the organization will be willing to take a chance the veteran gets hurt again. Although, an outstanding performance from Tony could potentially boost that value.

Although Romo getting real playing time during the regular season could also be beneficial come playoff time, I’m not sure head coach Jason Garrett and his staff want to disrupt the consistency they’ve seen from this team throughout the year. Especially considering Garrett’s coaching style is predicated on routine and continuous effort regardless of your circumstances. To me, that means you play your starters every game.

Deciding whether or not to rest players before the playoffs has always been a double-edged sword in the NFL. There is a very thin line between keeping your starters injury-free and losing that consistency. Regardless of what this Dallas Cowboys organization decides to ultimately do, their actions will be judged in playoff victories…or a lack there of.

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