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Cowboys' New Offensive Style Should Benefit Romo In The Long Run

At different times in Tony's career, he's had a lot of burden on him - Jason Garrett

IRVING, Texas– Tony Romo is no stranger to the Cowboys' injury report this season, but he now has a new reason for being there.

Romo's listed reason for missing Wednesday practices this year has been his ongoing recovery from back surgery. In last weekend's win against the Seahawks, though, he took a massive hit to the ribs and tweaked his ankle during the run of play.

On this week's first injury report, the ankle problem was listed alongside the back as the reason for the veteran's absence from the field.

Despite all of that, Romo maintained that he's good to go as the Cowboys continue their preparations for the Giants.

"I feel good – normal stuff that comes throughout the year, but other than that I feel good," he said.

The expectation is that Romo will be fine as the week goes along, as he has been all season. If his ailments are in fact bothering him, though, the way the Cowboys are playing offense has to be encouraging.

"I think the best thing that we've done as an organization is we've very purposefully tried to take the burden off our quarterback," said Cowboys coach Jason Garrett on Monday.

Plenty of talk has centered around just that during the Cowboys' winning streak – and not just on offense. The Dallas defense is 21st in total defense and eighth in scoring defense – both improvements over last year's league-worst units. The rushing offense is also notably the league's best, as the Cowboys are running the ball for a whopping 160 yards per game.

That kind of help isn't something Romo has always enjoyed, Garrett acknowledged.

"At different times in Tony's career, he's had a lot of burden on him – we haven't played great defense, we haven't been great on the offensive line, we haven't run the ball very well," he said. "All of a sudden the way we're going to move the ball and the way we're going to score points is by throwing it."

Through six games this season, Romo is averaging 32 attempts per game – and is on pace for 512 on the year. If it holds up, it would be the lowest number of attempts for him in a season in which he's started 15 or more games.

With a yardage average of 252 passing yards per game, Romo's current pace of 4,032 yards on the season would also be among the lowest of his career.

"The best teams in this league, the best teams in any sport, have a burden that is spread around," Garrett said. "It's rare that one guy can carry a team."
Asked about that lessened burden, Romo was quick to dispel the notion that his job was "easier."

"I wouldn't use those terms – it's never easy," he said. "I think playing quarterback in the National Football League is always a fun grind that you continually know when you let up, you'll be exposed."

To that end, Romo has been remarkably efficient since a disastrous season opener against San Francisco. During the five-game win streak, he's completing 70.7 percent of his passes for 1,229 yards, 10 touchdowns and just two interceptions.

"We've had good running games in the past before, probably not as many in a row, but my job is to obviously get us into good plays and get the ball to DeMarco and run the ball to the right looks," Romo said. "On third down, the running game doesn't help you as much – you've got to go out and execute it."

He added: "I don't think that's the term I would use, but I do think any time you have a running game, it benefits everybody."

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