IRVING, Texas– No game in recent history has garnered more attention, especially in advance, as Sunday's upcoming matchup in Miami.
We all know the reason why as this is the first game Tony Romo will be eligible to play, returning from the eight-week injured reserve/designated to return list because of a fractured collarbone.
But with each loss the Cowboys have had in his absence, and it's been seven grueling ones to be exact, it seems like this Nov. 22 game with Miami has received an additional red-inked circle on the calendar.
Well, it's here. It's finally Dolphins week. The question now is, will it even matter?
As expected, head coach Jason Garrett didn't firmly state that Romo will play and start this week. And he gave somewhat of a generic answer when asked what Romo's return does for the team.
"Tony is a good football player, and he's been a good football player in this league for a long time. He's a starting quarterback for our team for a reason," Garrett said on Monday. "He's made a big impact on our team for a reason. He's made a big impact on our team since the time he became the starter, so we feel really good about the contributions he can make."
When pressed again to announce Romo's availability for the game, Garrett shifted the focus away from Sunday, and spoke more about the process of the week.
"We'll take his situation day by day. He's had a good couple of weeks out on the practice field with us," Garrett said. "His rehab has gone exactly like we wanted it to go. He'll be back integrated with our team (on Tuesday)."
Now, Garrett did suggest Romo will continue with the same practice schedule he kept all throughout last year. While he'll likely attend all morning walk-throughs, Romo isn't expected to practice on Wednesdays again, but will be on the field Thursday and Friday.
"We'll just get into that mode and see how he handles it day by day," Garrett said. "It's like any player coming back from injury. Take it day by day and see how they handle the work."
Romo fractured his collarbone in the Week 2 win over the Eagles. While Brandon Weeden was able to relieve him that day and help the Cowboys hang on for a 20-10 win, this team hasn't been victorious since.
The seven-game losing streak included Weeden going 0-3 as a starter, followed by four straight losses with Matt Cassel leading the way.
Cassel had four touchdown passes in four games, while Weeden managed just two. Romo has three touchdown passes in a little more than six quarters and his 98.8 passer rating still leads the team.
But Garrett cautioned that Romo's return doesn't exactly mean the Cowboys will revert to last year's team that went 12-4, or this year's squad that won the first two games when the Cowboys were able to beat two NFC East teams.
"Certainly, when you bring a player like Tony Romo back in, there's an expectation he's going to make a positive difference for your team," Garrett said. "Just like any time you lose a starter and he comes back, these guys start for a reason. But if we feel like just because Tony is back everything is good, that's the wrong approach. We have to get better in all three areas. We have to coach better, we have to play better. All three phases of our football team have to play better, and we think Tony can help us do that."