INDIANAPOLIS – For all the time he had to throw in 2014, Tony Romo should have another kind of time in 2015 – time to prepare.
It's hard to spend a lot of time critiquing a guy who completed 69.9 percent of his passes and finished with the sixth-highest passer rating in league history. But the fact remains the same: after undergoing surgery on a herniated disc in December of 2013, Romo missed the Cowboys' offseason program and was severely limited during training camp.
That limitation carried over into the season, as Romo famously missed Wednesday practices in favor of rehabilitation.
"He's worked very hard to come back from some injuries that he's had and handled himself really well once the season started to play as much football as he has coming of those injuries," said Cowboys coach Jason Garrett.
In fact, if you factor in the 2013 offseason, when Romo had a separate surgery on his back and sat out the spring, it means that this year marks the first time in two years he should be available for a full offseason program. The Cowboys are allowed to open their program on April 20, when returning players will report for conditioning prior to OTAs in May and minicamp in June.
"Yeah, the first time in a couple of years that he's been able to go through the offseason program. I think that will really help him," Garrett said.
Despite the limitations – in fact, despite yet another back injury, which sidelined him for the better part of two games last season – Romo was phenomenal in the Cowboys' ball control offense. His yardage and touchdown totals weren't career highs, but his efficiency statistics were off the charts.
He also took just 29 sacks behind the Cowboys' revamped offensive line, which was his lowest total since the 13-3 2007 season.
"We believe our team is getting better around him," Garrett said. "His environment is better and when you can run the football and protect with that offensive line that we have, that's really going to help your quarterback. And he's really taken advantage of it."