IRVING, Texas – On the off chance there was any confusion, Cowboys coach Jason Garrett stood behind Matt Cassel as his starting quarterback – for the time being.
"Matt is going to be our starting quarterback this week," Garrett said on Monday. "He's done some good things for us the last couple of weeks even though he hasn't won the ballgames."
There's been no shortage of criticism for Cassel in the past 24 hours, considering he completed just 52 percent of his passes for 97 yards against Seattle. The veteran quarterback didn't commit a turnover, unlike his three-interception night against the Giants, but the offense looked about as impotent as it has all season.
"There were only nine drives for each team in the game, so you have to maximize them and some of the plays where we didn't convert third down or convert in the red zone really get magnified in a game like that," Garrett said. "There were some good things but it obviously wasn't good enough."
Not surprisingly, Garrett didn't want to look too far into the future. Asked if Cassel would be the starter for the Cowboys' next two games until Tony Romo can return to the 53-man roster, he said he didn't want to make those determinations.
With any luck, there won't be many more games for Garrett to have to worry about it. Romo is eligible to return to the practice field this week, and he can work with the team for two weeks before he's able to play in a game.
From the sound of it, Romo will participate immediately, starting this coming Wednesday – albeit in a limited fashion.
"We haven't had the specific discussions yet," Garrett said. "But Tony will throw in some form during practice and hopefully can handle that work and as we go we'll give him more and more work with him on the practice field."
That's not going to stop Cassel from working with the starting offense, as the Cowboys search for a way to break their five-game losing streak. But it's certainly something to watch while Romo approaches his return date.
"Matt will get the work this week with the ones," Garrett said. "We're just talking about getting Tony some work in individual work, throwing the ball, maybe the scout team 7 on 7. We haven't firmed any of that up yet. But that's what the preliminary discussions have been."