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Come on, Boys: Romo ready or not?

AP Photo/Gus Ruelas

OXNARD, Calif. -- So Tony Romo couldn't practice Tuesday, the day after the team received an entire day off and a few hours after Dallas Cowboys vice president Stephen Jones said Romo would practice.

Hmmm.

As you would expect, Jason Garrett said Romo is fine. Jerry Jones declared him 100 percent.

It seems to me either Romo's back still isn't quite right after having two surgeries in less than a year, or Garrett has decided the Cowboys have zero chance to make the playoffs without Romo and he's has opted to be ultraconservative.

Bottom line: We aren't going to see Romo much in practice or preseason games.

You're entitled to be suspicious, because the Cowboys can't get their story straight.

Shocking, right?

Hey, they couldn't get their story right last spring, when the worst-kept secret at the club's Valley Ranch training complex was Jerry Jones strongly suggesting Garrett make Bill Callahan the playcaller.

And then on Tuesday, just two hours after Jones declared Romo ready to practice, Garrett said during his daily news conference the Cowboys would go through a live two-minute drill that afternoon and he didn't want to take any chances of getting Romo roughed up.

Romo, who did participate in Tuesday morning's walk-through exercise, is supposed to take all of the snaps in practice on Wednesday and Thursday. Unless, of course, he doesn't.

Another off day is scheduled for Friday.

When it comes to the 34-year-old quarterback's health, you're well within your rights not to believe anyone associated with the Cowboys organization.

Teams lie all of the time. They justify it by saying every decision made is in the best interest of the team. If the team tells us something less than the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, they're OK with it.

Hey, it's not personal. It's about the team. We all know Garrett can be coy.

Remember when he refused to confirm whether Sean Lee had torn his ACL during the offseason, even after Jones had been on the radio talking about it and everybody with a cellphone knew it?

Remember last week, when Garrett refused to say Rolando McClain would miss practice Saturday morning, even though McClain had a court date in Decatur, Alabama, on Friday morning? Needless to say, McClain didn't attend the first practice.

For now, let's presume Garrett and the Cowboys are being overly cautious with Romo, especially since there's no tangible evidence he's hurt.

But we know no one expects much from these Cowboys and whatever expectations exist revolve around Romo playing all 16 regular-season games, starting Sept. 7 against the San Francisco 49ers.

They have no chance without him, and that's with all due respect to former No.1 draft choice Brandon Weeden.

In some ways, it doesn't matter why we're not seeing Romo.

If he's hurt, then the Cowboys aren't going to make the playoffs. And if they're protecting him to avoid injury because their season would be over if he goes down, then they should just say so.

"You really put yourself toward that first game against San Francisco," Garrett said. "So you want to have that in mind the whole time, and Tony's competitive.

"He wanted to be involved in every OTA practice. He wanted to take every rep, but we have to step in there and say, 'No, we're not going to do that, because we've got to remember that it's a 16-game season that begins in September.'"

"It's the same approach we take here," Garrett continued. "Let's keep going forward. Let's keep taking incremental steps, gradual steps to get you ready for that."

Fine, but that's not what Garrett said when the team arrived in Oxnard for training camp last week. At that point he claimed Romo was ready and would be available for everything camp had to offer.

Something has changed since then, whether it be Romo's health or Garrett's perspective.

Time will provide the truth. It always does.