Romo's Persistence Makes Sense To Johnson

Cowboys can jump that hurdle. Just don't go under center. Take all shotgun snaps, although I was thinking that kind of messes with the effectiveness of your running game. Again, I'm told, no problem. You can effectively operate your running game from shotgun - even in the NFL - just not optimally, and Romo didn't take any snaps under center even though he threw in Thursday's practice. 

  Now let's discuss handoffs, too. No matter what kind of splint Romo is using to support his broken finger, he's still got to be able to grip the ball with one hand at times for handoffs in the running game. And you remember that wrap he tore off his finger after the fumble in the end zone against Philadelphia? He thought that limited his grip on the ball. So what about this? 

  "Executing running plays, securing the football" were two things Cowboys head coach Wade Phillips said you'd worry about when your quarterback is playing with a broken but protected finger, and Romo didn't execute any running plays in practice Thursday. 

  OK then, that brings us to the final hurdle: Ensuring he does nothing to further damage the break. The last thing the Cowboys want - Romo wants - is to turn a non-displaced fracture into a displaced fracture. That means, turning a crack in the bone into a splintered bone, one that would require surgery to insert a pin to promote proper bone re-growth. That would bench him at least a month, maybe longer. 

  "You run the risk of doing more damage, that's what you worry about," Wilson said. 

  And, as Jones continued on The Ticket, "That has to be weighed . . . our trainers as well as Tony seem to have a lot of confidence in the thing they have put on his little finger as far as protecting the finger, and that's the key thing. 

  "He's just got to decide whether or not he can handle the pain, and it's painful." 

  So look, don't think Romo is trying to be some kind of hero, Mr. Macho Man. And don't think the Cowboys don't trust Johnson, because they do, and the coaching staff has all the faith in the world he can properly manage an NFL game. If they didn't, Johnson wouldn't be here, every second of the season just one snap away from becoming the team's starting quarterback. 

  And don't think there is this great undertaking going on in Garrett's office to revamp the entire offense. There's not. Same plays. Same offensive concept. 

  "We'll play our attacking style, but maybe just not as much volume," said Wilson, meaning the number of plays in the game plan could be reduced for Johnson. 

  What the Cowboys needed to do, though, this week is not waste practice snaps - meaning not mess around giving Romo snaps in practice at the expense of Johnson being properly prepared to start against the Rams. Because if they do, and then get to Friday and decide, nope, Romo can't go, then they just short-changed Johnson - maybe Brooks Bollinger, too, if he becomes the guy one snap away from playing. 

  Now, after Thursday's practice, Phillips said Romo "did take just a few snaps," and actually said he threw the ball quite well. The Cowboys listed him as going through "limited participation" on Thursday and likely will put him down as "questionable" on Friday's official NFL injury report. 

  Phillips hemmed and hawed about what he will ultimately do at quarterback in St. Louis, saying he probably would know after practice on Friday, but didn't suggest he would tell us, meaning the Rams, too. Phillips also said Romo wouldn't have to do much more than he did in practice on Thursday again on Friday to start on Sunday. 

  But he's not saying. 

  So here is my best guess: Romo will continue throwing on the side, take a few more practice snaps to keep his head in the game plan, go to the game and possibly man at least the backup role, or inactive third QB role, which means he could be actively inactive. Johnson will start. 

  But this stuff about four weeks? Forget about it. By next Sunday, Oct. 26 at Texas Stadium, I'd expect Romo under center - the general back in his saddle. That would be two full weeks without any contact to disrupt the bone growth. That would lessen the pain and the

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