Despite completing four weeks of OTAs and mini-camp practices, several things remain unsettled for the Cowboys. When the team reports to training camp Tuesday in Oxnard, Calif., several questions still need answers.
The staff writers at DallasCowboys.com – Rob Phillips, David Helman, Nick Eatman and Bryan Broaddus – will attempt to answer these questions before the start of training camp.
Today, the staff continues the series with a question concerning Tony Romo and if his healthy offseason will result in a better 2015 campaign.
2) Can Romo Top His 2014 Performance This Year?
David Helman:No and yes – and I'll explain why. No, I don't think it's realistic to expect Tony Romo to complete better than 70 percent or post a quarterback rating better than 113.2. Both of those numbers are career highs and are about as well as a pro quarterback has ever performed. That said, I do think Romo can improve on 2014, because I think he's capable of leading this team further than the second round of the playoffs. Obviously, as this series has detailed, this team has a lot of questions to answer before then – and Romo's health will always be an important issue. But if he can play with similar efficiency and poise, I do think he's got what it takes to lead this team deeper into the playoffs, which is ultimately what this is all about.[embeddedad0]
Nick Eatman: I think Romo can have better numbers in 2015, but that doesn't exactly mean it'll be a better season. What made last season so great is the running game took a lot of pressure off of him to make as many plays. So we'll see if the running game will again allow him to do just that. Will he lead the NFL in quarterback rating again? That's a tough question and it's easy to say, probably not, but who knows. He's the No. 2 rated QB in the history of the league, when it comes to rating, just behind only Aaron Rodgers. I personally think the running game is going to take a small step back, meaning Romo's numbers will probably increase in 2015. Again, I'm not sure it's for the better.
Rob Phillips: Statistically, it will be tough to top a career-best, NFL-best and franchise-record 113.2 passer rating and 69.9 completion percentage. Romo's 34-to-9 touchdown-to-interception ratio also was the best of his 12-year career. Amazing what a dominant run game can do for one of the league's best quarterbacks. Even if his stats dip some, a stronger back should allow him to do some things physically in and outside the pocket (i.e. mobility, arm strength) that he might have been limited or unable to do last year. If everything goes according to plan in preseason, Romo will also enter Week One much sharper and healthier than last year when he clearly wasn't himself against the 49ers. If the Cowboys had Normal Romo, they might've won that game and wound up with home-field advantage in the playoffs.
Bryan Broaddus: That would be quite a feat if Tony Romo manages to have a season better than the one he enjoyed in 2014. If in fact that does happen, it will be due to some players around him having outstanding seasons, as well. One of the biggest assists that Romo received last season was from DeMarco Murray and his ability to put him ahead of the chains with manageable down and distance situations. Where Romo is at his absolute best is when he can throw off play action passes and take advantage of those run-pass options. This collection of running backs will need to be just as effective as Murray when they are called on to provide those same opportunities. Romo will also need help from these wide receivers -- especially Terrance Williams. Dez Bryant will continue to draw his share of the coverage so someone other than Dez needs to win those one-on-one battles on the outside and Williams has the makeup to do just that. There is a nice bond there between Romo and Williams when plays break down, but it's time for Williams to step up his game and be that 60-to-70 catch receiver that most believed he should be.
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#16 - What Can We Expect From Morris Claiborne in 2015?
#15 - Which Cowboys Player Will Make His First Pro Bowl In 2015?
#14 - Which Position Will Be Toughest To Trim Down At Final Cut
#13 - Which Performance From 2014 Will Be The Hardest To Match?
#12 - How Should Cowboys Handle McClain’s Suspension?
#11 - Which Cowboys Rookie Will Make The Biggest 2015 Impact?
#10 - Can The Cowboys' Defense Become Among NFL’s Top 10 Units?
#9 - Which Veteran Needs A Strong Training Camp Performance?
#8 - Will Move To Outside LB Help Sean Lee’s Durability?
#7 - Biggest Beneficiary Of Having Dez At Camp?
#6 - Prediction At Left Guard? La’el Collins’ Role?
#5 - Can Hardy Play Enough To Lead Cowboys In Sacks In 2015?
#4 - Who Can Challenge Dez For Training Camp MVP?
#3 - Who Will Lead Cowboys’ Offense In Rushing In 2015?