What I think the OP is getting at, and I agree with, is that often, Orthodox assume completely that Rome will never, ever change Her ways, and just don't pay any mind to them. I think that whatever you think of their beliefs, and however firm they are in them, they represent a huge chunk of what was once the church, and giving up on them is counter-productive. Sure, does it seem unlikely that Rome will dump papal infallibility, sketchy devotions based on apparitions, Filioque, IC, etc.etc.? Yes. But we have to remember that we're talking about God, and what He is capable of.
I would also agree with characterizing them as Christians, as I would any denomination, though especially them, because at the very least, the RC church holds on to a lot of what is truly historical Christianity. Where they've gone off track is in adding superfluous nonsense, rather than the Protestants, who have wiped away tons of Orthodox dogma, and then added to that base.