Will Tony Romo even be active Sunday?
9:12 AM CT
ESPN Staff Writer
FRISCO, Texas -- You can wonder all you want about how Jason Garrett will work the Dallas Cowboys' season finale against the Philadelphia Eagles in terms of who plays and how much, but donít expect him to reveal the plan.
He wonít give anything away during the week.
But there are plenty of things to wonder about. Hereís the award-winning Five Wonders column for the final time in the regular season.
Away we go:
The Cowboys could choose to keep Tony Romo on the bench Sunday. Tom Pennington/Getty Images
** I wonder if Tony Romo will be active at Philadelphia or if the Cowboys will have all three quarterbacks on the 46-man roster. Jerry Jones said after the Lions game that he doesnít believe getting Romo a handful of snaps or more will be worth the risk, especially if the Cowboys change out parts of their offensive line during the game. If thatís the case, then why dress Romo at all, especially if they can use a roster spot at other needy positions, like on the defensive line or secondary? Jones has said Romoís practice work has been exemplary and he doesnít believe rust will be a factor. To some people, a half of work with backups might be better than none, but if Romo is needed in the playoffs, will handing the ball off to Lance Dunbar or throwing passes to Vince Mayle and Lucky Whitehead matter?
** I wonder if there is a case to be made that Barry Church's return to the defense is the reason why the big plays have started to show up in favor of the Cowboys. In the last three games since Churchís return from a fractured forearm, the Cowboys have 11 sacks, five interceptions and four fumble recoveries. Church will be a free agent when the season ends. He is one of the defensive leaders. He is dependable. He has a nose for the ball and is a sound tackler. Maybe itís just a coincidence, but there is a security-blanket sense to the secondary when Church is on the field.
** For all of those people saying the Cowboys need to rest their players against Philadelphia, I wonder how thatís even possible. The Cowboys have only seven offensive linemen on the 53-man roster. If you donít want Tyron Smith to play, he might have to dress for an emergency purpose. The Cowboys have only two tight ends on the roster, so Jason Witten has to play. It is possible to limit Ezekiel Elliott's carries with Darren McFadden or even Alfred Morris. It is possible to monitor Dez Bryant's work with six receivers on the roster. If the Cowboys want to rest Sean Lee, they have to hope Justin Durant (elbow) can play. Anthony Brown's concussion could force all of the corners to play a normal role. Itís easy to say rest players, but itís easier said than done.
** I wonder if the Cowboys take another one-year flier on Morris Claiborne. Injuries have once again limited Claiborneís effectiveness, but he was having his best season before suffering a groin injury Oct. 23 against the Eagles. He hasnít played since. I donít know what kind of market Claiborne will have with his injury history. His price wonít be high, but will it be worth it for the Cowboys to stick with him for another year knowing the potential for him to miss a good amount of games in his career? The Cowboys have been loyal to Claiborne and Claiborne has been loyal to the Cowboys. Do they dance with each other one more time? Brandon Carr is also set to be a free agent, and his durability (heís never missed a game in his career) is a plus.
** The Cowboys believe Chaz Green can be a starting right tackle for them in the future. He did not play a snap as a rookie because of hip surgery. He had back surgery earlier in the month and had not played since October when a foot injury knocked him out for a few weeks. I wonder how the Cowboys can count on Green to be a potential 2017 replacement for Doug Free, and I wonder if drafting an offensive tackle early next spring should be a priority. Free will be a free agent after the 2017 season and takes far too much abuse from fans. If the measuring stick at tackle is Tyron Smith, itís impossible to measure up. Free is serviceable and can serve as a bridge player to either Green or the next tackle of the future.