FRISCO, Texas – It's a testament to Dak Prescott's play in Pittsburgh last weekend that his confirmed status as the Cowboys' starter isn't a bigger headline.
Prescott threw for 319 yards and led the Cowboys back from two fourth quarter deficits against the Steelers, boosting the team's record to 8-1 in the process. As newsworthy as it might be, it wasn't exactly surprising to hear team owner/general manager Jerry Jones announce that he would ride the hot hand on Sunday night.
That debate might be settled, but Jones has been doing this for a long time. In his weekly interview with 105.3 The Fan FM on Tuesday morning, he pointed out that Romo's new status as the backup doesn't mean the Cowboys won't need him at some point this season.
"All of my time in football and in sport, either playing it or being with the Cowboys, you've always had to have the use of another quarterback at some point during the season," Jones said. "You don't want that and you don't want that with a young, strong, healthy quarterback in Dak Prescott. But that's the reason you have backup quarterbacks."
Jones is aware that this is much different than a typical backup quarterback situation, however, as he joked about how much he is currently paying Romo for backup services. Even more valuable to the Cowboys current situation is that Jones said Romo is on board with the Cowboys' course of action.
"Make no mistake. He's wonderful about this," Jones said.
Through this eight-week run of wins, Jones has been sure to laud Romo's involvement in Prescott's development. The veteran has been on the sideline all season, offering guidance and advice, and the two have been practicing together through the last three weeks.
It's interesting to think, though, that the dynamic is about to change with Romo likely to put on a uniform this weekend against Baltimore. Jones said he wants to see how Romo practices this week after a successful three days of work last week. But he added that Romo will prepare this week as though he might be needed on Sunday.
That obviously prompts questions about whether Prescott will look over his shoulder at one of the franchise's most accomplished quarterbacks standing on the sideline – questions that didn't seem to bother Jones.
"I don't know that he does look over his shoulder," Jones said.
Cowboys coach Jason Garrett would likely be disappointed if he did. One of Garrett's many mantras is to focus on oneself and on the task at hand, rather than outside factors. It'd honestly be surprising to see Prescott function any other way, considering how good he's been at that so far.
"That's the thing he's done as well as anything since we've gotten him here, all the way back to rookie minicamp," Garrett said. "Just focusing on the day, focusing on his preparation and then go play."
The Cowboys have made their quarterback decision, so Prescott can focus on doing just that. But as noted above, it's hard to predict what exactly will happen over the course of an NFL season. To that end, you're not going to hear Jerry Jones complaining that he has a four-time Pro Bowler waiting in the wings.
So that's where Romo will be for the time being, while Prescott continues at the helm. But as a 27-year veteran of life in the NFL, Jones knows not to rule anything out.
"You don't rule that out, obviously. That would be madness," he said. "As I said, if you ruled that out, then why would you even have a real commitment to a backup quarterback?"