NFC Notes: Cowboys, Rhodes, Rams, Panthers

Jerry Jones did not say whether the Cowboys will turn back to Tony Romo or stick with the surging Dak Prescott after the team’s Week 7 bye, but the owner identified this as a good problem to have.

There’s nothing I’d rather do than go into [the] last half of the season with a ready-to-go Tony Romo and a winning Dak Prescott,” Jones said, via Ed Werder of (Twitter links). “I dream of being able to make that decision. We are not there yet by the way. We are not there.”

Reports have oscillated between the Cowboys having confidence the 36-year-old Romo will resume his post and how Prescott’s rise has inspired his teammates enough to possibly anoint the rookie as the full-time starter. Prescott connected on 18 of his 27 throws in Dallas’ win over Green Bay today, throwing for three touchdown passes. He’s completing 69 percent of his passes this season for the Cowboys, who are 5-1 for the second time in three seasons after failing to win five of their first six in the previous six slates.

Here’s more from around the league as its Sunday-night AFC South tilt commences.

  • A long-term contract extension for cornerback Xavier Rhodes should be atop Vikings general manager Rick Spielman‘s to-do list, opines Andrew Krammer of the Star Tribune. Rhodes’ overall performance ranks a below-average 63rd among Pro Football Focus’ 114 qualifying corners, but as Krammer notes, the 26-year-old has held his own against stiff competition since last season. In matchups against Rhodes, star receivers Julio Jones, Odell Beckham, DeAndre Hopkins and Alshon Jeffery have combined to catch 13 passes — not even half of their 30 targets — for 145 yards and two touchdowns. The Vikings exercised Rhodes’ fifth-year option for 2017 last May, so the 2013 first-round pick will remain with the club for at least another season after this one.
  • The Rams‘ Week 8 bye following their London trip represented a reasonable window to make the change from Case Keenum to Jared Goff, but the stopgap veteran’s performance in Sunday’s loss to the Lions could delay that timetable, Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times writes. In completing 27-of-32 passes for 321 yards and three touchdown passes, Keenum broke Jim Everett’s franchise record by hitting on 19 straight passes today.
  • The Panthers‘ decision to rescind Josh Norman‘s $13.952MM franchise tender continues to induce young talents to take their lumps, with Drew Brees setting the career 400-plus-yard passing games record against Carolina today. As Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer notes, Dave Gettleman has also yet to say why Bene Benwikere — a 14-game starter for the Panthers over the past three years and their longest-tenured corner coming into the season — was the scapegoat for Matt Ryan‘s 500-plus-yard day. Carolina, which started third- and fifth-round rookies Daryl Worley and Zack Sanchez against the Saints, has upwards of $17MM in cap space. The Panthers hope second-rounder James Bradberry will be back after the team’s Week 8 bye, per Person.
  • A resolution on the Cam Newton concussion investigation stemming from Week 1 is expected to arrive by Monday, Florio reports. The NFL wants a joint press release between the league and the NFLPA, but the union is resisting, according to Florio. The verdict is expected to reveal no violation of the concussion protocol occurred, but this outcome is also likely to produce more changes on how it comes to be known whether or not a player needs to be evaluated.

Connor Byrne contributed to this report.

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