Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones talks with Tony Romo #9 on the sidelines against the Cincinnati Bengals during the 2010 Pro Football Hall of Fame Game at the Pro Football Hall of Fame Field at Fawcett Stadium on August 8, 2010 in Canton, Ohio. The Cowboys defeated the Bengals 16-7.
Romo has been sidelined since Oct. 25 when he broke his collarbone in a loss to the Giants, and would only be able to return for the team's final two games, at Arizona on Dec. 25 and at Philadelphia on Jan. 2.
Asked if Romo would be ready for the Cardinals, Jones said: "In my opinion, he will be."
"I want to do anything we can to win those games. (The decision) will be based on what gives us the best chance to win," Jones said. "And, when he's ready to go, he's going to be ready. I shouldn't be concerned about additional injury to his shoulder."
Jones added that Romo would only come back this season as the starter, not as a backup. Jon Kitna has filled in for Romo, going 3-3 in his six starts.
Given the fact that the Cowboys are virtually out of the playoff hunt, the benefits of having Romo play seem minimal. But along with trying to win those games, Jones also saw a potential benefit of having Romo back before next season.
"I can envision a scenario where you have a little better taste in your mouth if he came back, and he played the last two games and played lights out than if he hadn't played," he said.
As for interim coach Jason Garrett, the owner had cautious praise. Since taking over for Wade Phillips, Garrett has led the Cowboys to a 3-1 record heading into Sunday's home game against Philadelphia.
"Jason is doing very well," Jones said. "But I explore all possibilities. I always do. I look for what ifs in things where individuals have expressed the direction of where they're going with their careers. I work through that."
In determining who would be the next coach, Jones said he would value experience "a lot."
Jones made it clear that he is disappointed this season. After all, the Cowboys began the year with hopes of becoming the first team to play a Super Bowl in their home stadium.
"I feel very much involved in the shortcoming that we've had this year," Jones said. "And I am. No question about it. There's no one on this coaching staff that's not here because I wanted them. Not a player on this team. It's real easy. I get in the mirror and look and see what we can do differently and what we're doing wrong."
Jones said he didn't know when running back Marion Barber (strained left calf) would return. Asked if placing Barber on season-ending injured reserve was a consideration, Jones said: "Not today." ... Jones doesn't regret splitting training camp between Texas and California and doesn't believe it led to his team's season struggles. "We've traveled all over the world and won world championships," Jones said, adding that he'd do the same thing again.