FRISCO, Texas – Losing quarterback Tony Romo to a back injury for an undetermined number of games is a setback entering Sunday's regular-season opener, Jerry Jones acknowledges.
"Make no mistake about it. We would be a better team with him out there," Jones said Thursday.
But the Cowboys' owner/general manager says rookie Dak Prescott has tempered the franchise's disappointment since learning Romo broke a bone in his back in the third preseason game.
In three preseason games, Prescott delivered a near-perfect 137.8 passer rating with five touchdowns and no interceptions. Now he's getting set for his regular-season debut against the New York Giants and will start until Romo returns at some point this season.[embeddedad0]
"I think and expect us to play winning football with him as the quarterback," Jones said. "I think we'll win games with him."
That's because Jones and the organization have watched Prescott win the confidence of the coaching staff and players since taking over first-team reps.
"He's got a gift of being very calm and his preparation," offensive coordinator Scott Linehan said. "It felt like the next-man-up thing even though he's a young guy – just felt so natural because he stepped in there. He was like, 'I'm ready for this so let's go, don't change a thing, I'll get ready each day' and had that approach. It's been impressive."
The Cowboys know Prescott will inevitably face adversity as a rookie starter, despite his smooth preseason. But there's no question the fourth-round pick has exceeded expectations to this point.
"Unequivocally, yes. He's better than anybody thought he was," Jones said.
Romo was, too, when he surfaced as an undrafted guy out of Eastern Illinois.
"So that gives you hope," Jones said. "That gives the whole team hope."