Jerry Jones has made his share of mistakes, from firing Jimmy Johnson to hiring Greg Hardy to committing countless unforced errors in between. He cannot make another one at Dak Prescott’s expense. He cannot do anything during the Dallas Cowboys’ upcoming bye week but tell Tony Romo that his time as starting quarterback is done.
Roethlisberger underwent successful arthroscopic surgery Monday, the team announced. Roethlisberger tore his left meniscus in the second quarter of Sunday’s 30-15 loss to the Miami Dolphins.
Jones, who threw for 513 yards, three touchdowns and four interceptions in relief of Roethlisberger last year, told reporters he’s not counting Big Ben out to play this Sunday. Roethlisberger has played through injuries in the past, and he’s never missed more than four games in a season. But ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports Roethlisberger will miss the New England game.
In Jones’ last extended performance, he threw for 206 yards on 19-of-22 passing in the third preseason game against the Saints. Jones said he’s comfortable in weeks like this after four years in offensive coordinator Todd Haley’s system. He knows all the nuances of the offense, and the team didn’t change the game plan much in last year’s start at Kansas City, a 23-13 loss.
“The more you play, the more experience you get, the more confidence you get,” Jones said. “I’ll draw from that if things come to it. We’ll see how it all plays out during the week.”
A heavy dose of Bell could be in order. Bell says he isn’t one to lobby for carries, but he’ll gladly oblige if Haley calls his number 20 or more times.
Bell has averaged around 23 touches per game since entering the league in 2013, but he had just 10 rushes for 53 yards in Sunday’s loss to the Dolphins, one of the league’s worst rushing defenses.
Bell said the Steelers are at their best when featuring play-action and the running game. Bell has 440 total yards in three games, including 177 receiving yards.
“If we run the rock, I’m going to deal with it,” Bell said. “Sometimes, the offensive line likes running the ball. When they feel they want to dominate up front, I’m always ready … I’m not a guy who always complains or talks about getting carries. I just want to go out there and win the game.”
But this isn’t only about Romo, of course, and a battered 36-year-old body that needs to be handled more delicately these days than a piece of fine china. This is about the 23-year-old rookie, Prescott, who is bigger, stronger, healthier and faster. The fourth-round draft pick just walked into Lambeau Field and played big enough in this 30-16 smackdown of the Packers to make Aaron Rodgers, two-time MVP, look like the incredible shrinking man. Relax? The way Rodgers has performed the past two seasons, I don’t think so. In weather conditions the polar opposite of the polar Packers-Cowboys classic known as the Ice Bowl, Prescott threw three touchdown passes to Rodgers’ one, ran his winning streak to five, and all but summoned the sights and sounds of Vince Lombardi barking, “What the hell’s going on out here?”