IRVING, Texas – The Cowboys return to practice on Sunday, but as far as they're concerned it will be Wednesday.
That's what results from the NFL's bizarre scheduling format, and it's Cowboys coach Jason Garrett's attempt to maintain a sense of routine. The team typically practices on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday during a regular week, but with the next game on a Thursday, those practices will be held on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday.
"When you have differing schedules we try to recreate that routine as much as we can so there's a comfort level, but it's not always going to be perfect," Garrett said. "You have to figure out a way to get yourself right when the circumstances aren't exactly how you want them."
With the routine changing, it looks likely that Tony Romo's famous "Romo Wednesday" will now turn into a "Romo Sunday." Romo has not typically attended the first practice of game week this season, preferring to focus on rehabbing his injured back.
Garrett gave a strong indication that the plan will be to leave Romo off the practice field this weekend.
"We haven't had that formal discussion yet, but I wouldn't be surprised if we did that," he said.
Romo played arguably the worst game of his 2014 season on Thursday night – rivaled only by his three-interception performance in Week 1 against San Francisco. He couldn't consistently find time to throw against the Eagles, and he finished with just 199 yards and two interceptions on the night.
"There were some things when the environment wasn't quite as good for him, whether it was because of pressure or not winning outside on routes, but also he missed throws," Garrett said.
Romo declined to use his back as an excuse for his poor play, but it can't be ignored that he had roughly three days to rest his injured back after a down-to-the-wire win against New York. The 34-year-old looked ineffective compared to his typical, efficient play from this season, which called up questions about whether he could be expected to play with a full week to recuperate.
"You'll have to ask Tony that, but he was in the same situation that everybody was in," Garrett said. "Everybody played Sunday and we had to play Thursday – that's just part of the job that we have."
In the Oct. 27 loss to Washington, Romo broke two transverse processes in his back and missed the team's next game. He recovered in time to play Nov. 9 against Jacksonville, and he played at a high level against both the Jaguars and the Giants.
"I don't think he was bothered physically -- maybe bothered by a pass rush," Garrett said.
Either way, it looked like Romo escaped the loss healthy enough to return to his usual routine. The Cowboys also seem to have gotten out of Week 13 without any other significant injuries.
Rolando McClain appeared to be favoring his right knee throughout the game, but Garrett said the linebacker was evaluated Friday morning and didn't have any big problems.
"He came in this morning, and we think he's going to be OK," Garrett said.
George Selvie also injured his thumb during the loss, but Garrett said the defensive end also appears to be fine.