IRVING, Texas – History suggests that a team's third preseason game will see its starters get their largest workload of training camp before dialing things down for the fourth and final game.
Cowboys coach Jason Garrett indicated that will be the routine for most of his starters when the Cowboys travel to play the Dolphins this weekend. What that means for Tony Romo's workload, and how many snaps he'll play, remains to be seen.
"I don't think there is an exact number," Romo said. "I know we'll talk about it and come up with the plan on how we're going to do it, but you'll have a set kind of thing and then feel it out as the game goes."
Romo played two possessions against the Ravens last weekend – 14 official plays and 16 snaps overall. That only carried him to the midway point of the first quarter, but it's not uncommon to see starters play until or even after halftime during the third preseason game. It's also a far cry from the play count of a regular season game.
"We gauge a lot sometimes off of two drives. Sometimes it's good, sometimes it's a little silly because games you're going to have 10-to-11," Romo said. "You want to have success on a drive or two, but -- let's pretend we had two drives or three drives this week and scored touchdowns on every one of them, it's great. But you still have a full game to play and you're going to have to continue to execute throughout the football game."
The Cowboys have monitored Romo's workload carefully throughout training camp. He sat out of Wednesday's practice, as has been a common occurrence since the team reported to camp, before returning for a full day Thursday. Despite that, Garrett said the playing time the Cowboys give Romo in Miami isn't about being careful. [embedded_ad]
"We don't really use the word cautious as much as we try to use the reps we think are necessary to get him ready to go to play against San Francisco in Week One," Garrett said.
As far as the Sept. 7 opener against San Francisco, Romo might not know his snap count against the Dolphins, but he said he's ready for the 49ers.
"Obviously, right after the surgery it would've been a different story but at this point, yeah there's no question you'd be playing a football game," he said. "I mean I don't know that you would go to play in the preseason if you didn't think you could play football."