|Written by Julian Dread.
For a long time people have questioned Tony Romo's heart and nerves. Now they've got to worry about another body part -- his lungs. The Cowboys quarterback went down near the end of the first half last week. When he punctured his lung, it looked like the Cowboys season may have lost all of its wind, as well.
Now it seems Romo is back (that was quick), and how, and if, he responds against the Washington Redskins Monday night could end up saying a lot about what to expect from this Cowboys team the rest of the season. If the Redskins win, and assuming the Eagles win, the Cowboys would be two games back of two teams in their division only three weeks into the season. That's a tough hole to climb out of, especially with a wobbly quarterback and a new defensive coordinator.
Monday night the Cowboys will be looking to climb out of a different two-game hole. The team has not won a home opener since they built JerryWorld, and now they have the upstart Redskins to worry about.
Before last week's game against San Francisco, he stressed the importance of the match-up, saying it was one of the biggest of his career. He lived up to the words, even with his injury to his ribs and lung. That should give Cowboys fan hope that not only are his organs fixed, but so is his metaphoric heart. He showed the type of drive and determination it takes to be a winner. But doing it in week two against a weak team is different than doing it against a hated rival on national TV.
And not only is Romo ailing, but so are his two best offfensie options, Miles Austin and Felix Jones. And Dez Bryant, who looked all-world in week one, missed week two with a bruised thigh. Those injuries will be made all the worse by Redskins cornerback DeAngelo Hall, who can expose weakness in any offense, even a a healthy one.
"I want to get a chance to put my helmet on whatever's hurt," Hall said. "Romo's ribs -- I'm going to be asking for some corner blitzes. If I know Felix Jones' shoulder's hurt, I'm not going to cut him. I'm definitely going to try to hit him up high, so that's just part of it."
But the Skins are just tough in the backfield on defense. They added nose tackle Barry Cofield from the Giants, who knows the Cowboys well, and rookie outside linebacker Ryan Kerrigan is already proving himself in the league early. Ad those guys to the menacing linebacker Brian Orakpo, and the Skins defense is good enough to hide the fact that they start Rex Grossman at quarterback.
The revamped defense has led to the Skins first 2-0 start in four years. Of course, they had to come from behind to beat a middling Arizona team last week, so it is hard to tell exactly who these Redksins are. We'll know a lot more after Monday, but if Grossman can protect the ball, I like the Skins in an upset.
Current Line: Cowboys -6
Last updated on September 26, 2011.