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10 Answers: Reviewing Romo's Injury-Filled Season; Looking To 2016 Return

(Editor's Note: Last summer, the staff attempted to answer 20 questions about the Cowboys' roster leading into training camp. With the 2015 season complete, we're picking out the 10 best and most applicable questions and reviewing how our predictions fared.)

2) With A Healthy Offseason, Can Romo Top His 2014 Performance In 2015?

David: The phrasing of this question in the preseason creates a hell of an interesting dilemma for the Cowboys heading into this season. Tony Romo had a full offseason to rest and rehab. By all accounts, this past season was as well as he was going to be prepared for the grind of a 16-game schedule. After all of that hype and expectation, he was injured in Week 2. Yes, he briefly returned – but the damage was done. In light of that, I don't know how you go into any season from now on and expect that Romo will be able to play 16 games. Between his collarbone and his back, he's got a litany of problems that he'll have to worry about – and that defenses can key on. None of this is to say that he can't still play at a high level. I think it's reasonable to expect him to play like a Pro Bowler for the next two-to-three years. But it's also reasonable to expect that this won't be the last of his injury concerns – which makes it important to address the depth behind him, whether in free agency, the draft or both.

Nick: Not an easy answer for us, considering the injury he suffered. I do think the offseason was setting him up for a better season. But it's hard to tell. Yes, the Cowboys won the first two games he started. But if you take those last two drives against the Giants out of the mix, he wasn't really that impressive. He hadn't led the offense to a touchdown yet against the Eagles before his injury. So yes, he was efficient early on, but not spectacular. Then again, he was pretty bad in the first two games of 2014 and it became his best season yet. The question now shifts to this year and although it sounds odd because of his injury last season, I do think he will be relatively healthy, starting around now. Don't forget he was expected to play in the finale if the Cowboys had a shot at the playoffs. So come OTAs in May, there's no reason to think he won't a rested back and be completely healed from all collarbone/shoulder issues. 

Rob: What's ironic is Romo's back wasn't the problem in 2015 – it was his left collarbone.  His back has gotten progressively healthier the further removed he is from the late-2013 surgery. With a more active offseason and training camp, he was much sharper in the Sept. 13 opener against the Giants than the 2014 opener against the 49ers following a limited offseason. I believe that if he hadn't broken the collarbone twice, he would have been able to do some things in and outside the pocket physically (mobility, arm strength, etc.) than maybe he couldn't do at times in 2014. The collarbone will heal, and he'll be ready to go for the 2016 season. But the team knows it must address the backup quarterback position going forward. Winning one game out of 12 without Romo was highly disappointing and unexpected. Ideally, you'd probably like to hang around .500 if you lose your starting quarterback for any length of time.

Bryan: I took the approach that if Tony Romo had a repeat of his 2014 season, a large part of it was going to be due to the players around him having outstanding seasons as well. Even if Romo had remained healthy, the loss of Dez Bryant for the majority of the season I believe would have just been too much to overcome. Darren McFadden was able to contribute but he wasn't nearly consistent enough as DeMarco Murray was running the ball to create those situations where there was a run/pass option for Romo to take advantage of. Romo is at his best when he can take advantage of the playaction game like he was able to do in 2014. With no Bryant and the inconsistent running game, the load would have once again been placed on the shoulders of Romo and what we had learned from the previous 8-8 seasons is when this offense is a one-man show it is not always as successful.

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