IRVING, Texas – Romo Wednesdays are back in effect at Valley Ranch – for Week 1, at the very least.
The Cowboys held their first practice in advance of the season opener on a rainy Wednesday at their team facility, and they were without their starting quarterback in a familiar throwback to last fall.
"Tony Romo will not practice today," said Cowboys coach Jason Garrett at his Wednesday morning press conference. "He was involved in the walkthrough, but for this week we're going to do the schedule we did for most of last year, which was he didn't practice Wednesday, and then we get back into the mode again on Thursday."
Garrett said Monday that he and his coaching staff were still determining whether to implement any kind of practice plan for Romo. It's not surprising that they opted to do so, given the success Romo enjoyed in that routine last season.
After a disastrous performance in the season opener last fall, the Cowboys decided to allow Romo a day away from practice on Wednesdays so he could rehabilitate and strengthen his surgically-repaired back. There isn't nearly the same concern about Romo's back this year, but the coaching staff is still mindful of the strain of three consecutive practice days.
"What we've talked about with him in the past is the idea of three days in a row," Garrett said. "He was involved in the walkthrough this morning and got all those reps. He's not going to be involved in practice, and then we'll get back into the regular routine tomorrow."
The Pro Bowl quarterback was the only absence of note for a roster that appears to be rounding into good health at the right time. Anthony Hitchens, who has been missing for several weeks with a foot injury, was on hand for the early portion of practice. Both hampered wide receivers – Dez Bryant, with a sore hamstring, and Devin Street, with an ankle injury – also took part in practice.
"We do anticipate guys being out there. Even the guys who have been out there for a little bit, we anticipate them practicing today – maybe in a more limited fashion," Garrett said. "But we do expect a full complement of guys out there at practice."