FRISCO, Texas – Tony Romo might have been a full participant at practice on Wednesday, but he's still in the midst of his progression back from injury.
For proof, look no further than his role in the first session of the week's activities – scout team quarterback.
With Dak Prescott continuing to work as the starting quarterback ahead of this weekend's game in Pittsburgh, Romo filled the familiar backup role on the scout team, helping to prepare the starting defense for the game ahead.
Even with a layoff, Romo's defensive teammates aren't noticing a difference.
"He looks like Tony. Looked pretty good slinging the ball around – got some juice to him," said Brandon Carr.
It's been more than two months since the veteran quarterback suffered a compression fracture to his vertebrae at CenturyLink Field in Seattle. Romo has been going through individual throwing sessions for several weeks now, but it'd be understandable if he wasn't quite acclimated to team football.
In his work against the defensive starters, though, it doesn't sound like the 36-year-old has missed a beat.
"He looks like he hasn't missed a beat," said Sean Lee. "His ability throw the ball – I always say, I've been here seven years and I haven't been near a football when he goes against us just because of how great he is with his eyes, how quick he is with his release."
Romo's experience could pay dividends as the Cowboys prepare for a dynamic passing attack led by Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Typically, scout team quarterbacks are backup and reserve quarterbacks – who don't quite match the experience of Romo's 127 career starts and four Pro Bowls.
"You're getting a real look. He's a guy that's going to look you off. He's checking at the line of scrimmage like it's a real football game," Carr said. "You're getting as close to a Sunday look as you can with a scout team quarterback."
Never is that more true than in Romo's ability – and willingness – to take the defense off script during the course of a practice. In his bid to bounce back from a second-straight injury-plagued season, don't count on Romo to take it easy on anyone.
"He still has to keep himself prepared, keep himself sharp to go out there and play his game, as well," Carr said. "So he mixes it up. He tries to run the card, but if he sees something that will help us out as a defense, he'll make sure he checks into it and make us better."
All of this will be secondary to the coming conversation, which is bound to get louder now that Romo is a real participant at practice – will the Cowboys put him back in the starting role, or will they move forward with Dak Prescott?
Regardless of how it plays out, it's not something that's currently troubling the Cowboys' locker room.
"When I think about that, I think back to when we won the national championship my sophomore year in college," said Ezekiel Elliott. "We had three different starting quarterbacks, and they all played at a high level. Whenever you have multiple guys that can compete at a high level, that's nothing but a plus."