FRISCO, Texas (AP) – If Dak Prescott hears the chatter about Tony Romo after his worst game as a pro, Dallas’ rookie quarterback isn’t letting on.
And if Jerry Jones is irritating franchise icon Troy Aikman by giving the Romo talk more life with comments on his radio show, the Dallas owner doesn’t really care.
“He might have had sensitivity but Dak doesn’t,” Jones said Thursday , referring to the quarterback who won him three Super Bowls in the 1990s.
“I’m serious. I don’t mean that negatively. I appreciate him saying it. I respect him. But Dak Prescott’s No. 1 quality is that he doesn’t get distracted.”
The 23-year-old who assumed Romo’s job and kept it with an 11-game winning streak after the 36-year-old hurt his back again in the preseason was right on cue a day earlier.
“Everybody has the option to listen to it, so I just don’t listen,” Prescott said.
And it doesn’t matter if those close to him are listening.
“My family definitely knows not to come to me with he said, she said,” Prescott said. “And the teammates know, not just me, but throughout this locker room, we don’t pay attention to that. Ya’ll get paid to do that. We don’t.”
After Prescott had a season-low 45.4 passer rating in a 10-7 loss to the New York Giants that ended the 11-game run, Jones was asked what it would take for the Cowboys to consider replacing his new starter with Romo.
Dallas’ 10-year starter was relegated to the backup role when he returned from his fourth back injury in less than four years.
“I don’t have a definition for it, but you’ll know it when you see it,” Jones said on his radio show. “It’s kind of like a definition I heard one time of another issue trying to define a negative topic, and they said, ‘I don’t know how to say it, but it’s just something that when you see it, you’ll know it’s there.’ We’ll see it.”
Two days later, Aikman strongly criticized his former boss in his weekly radio appearance.
“I’m just really dumbfounded by the comments, and not only the first time, but why they continue,” Aikman said. “I don’t understand why you would talk.”
Coach Jason Garrett follows the Aikman model, repeatedly declining to address the Romo issue other than reiterating that Prescott is the starter.
“We talk about the importance of focus with our team, right from the start,” Garrett said. “It’s an important word for everybody — coaches and players alike. That’s not new this year, that’s not new this week.”
The two lowest totals in passing yardage for Prescott have come in the past two games, and he looked uncomfortable on a sub-freezing night at the Giants.
He doubled his interception total this season by throwing two for the first time.
Garrett said after the game he never considered going to Romo, but that didn’t stop the topic during the week. Not that Prescott, a fourth-round pick who started training camp as the No. 3 quarterback, was surprised.
“The noise didn’t just start,” Prescott said. “It’s the Dallas Cowboys. There’s been noise from the time I’ve been drafted, so nothing really changes. So I don’t think they need to come in and reinstate their confidence in me or do anything like that.”
The Cowboys haven’t been surprised by Prescott’s reaction.
“That’s there, and he knows it’s there,” executive vice president of Stephen Jones said. “When you have a Pro Bowl quarterback who a lot of people think is one of the best ones in the NFL sitting there, it’s going to happen.
“Some people are going to say, ‘Well, you’ve got a guy like that sitting there, should you consider that if you start to have a bump in the road.'”
Once Jerry Jones said it, he wasn’t concerned about affecting the psyche of his young quarterback.
“The last thing I’m worried about is the fragileness of our team,” Jerry Jones said. “Nobody is fragile. We completely support Dak as our starting quarterback. Unequivocally. That’s that.”
The owner just had a roundabout way of saying it earlier in the week.