(Editor's Note: This is the first of a 12-part series analyzing every position on the Cowboys roster, providing a quick look back before addressing the needs of each spot on the field and how it can be improved heading into the 2013 season. Today we examine the quarterbacks.)*
Pressing Matters:The Cowboys probably won't see a lot of personnel change at this position, despite some uproar from fans and critics about Tony Romo's late-game failure against the Redskins. Still, the Cowboys will probably evaluate his entire body of work from last year and his career. That means the most pressing of matters should include Romo's contract. He has one year remaining on his deal and said during the season he wanted to table the discussion until the offseason. It's likely both sides will look at a new contract but the length of the deal will be the most interesting part of the situation. Romo turns 33 in April so how the contract is structured and for how long, will be the tricky part. But expect it to get done and for Romo to be the guy around here for a few years to come.
2012 Evaluation: In "what-have-you-done-for-me-lately" fashion, it's hard for Romo's season to be remembered for much more than the season finale. His three-interception game against the Redskins, including a late fourth quarter pick, erased a chance to drive and win the game. Statistically, Romo can be evaluated two ways. His 92.5 passer rating, which is still respectable, is his lowest since 2008. However, his 4,685 passing yards is the most of his career, along with a career-high 611 attempts. Romo dug this team out of several holes this season, but ultimately couldn't do it in the end when it mattered most. And for that, most will view Romo as having an average-to-down season. But when you factor in that the Cowboys nearly had three 1,000-yard receivers, something that has occurred just six times in NFL history, and likely would have had it not been for a Miles Austin injury in the final game, then it points back to Romo as the common denominator in a lethal passing attack that ranked No. 3 in the league.
Need More From … : It obviously can't be Kyle Orton, so the answer has to be Romo. The Cowboys do need more from him, especially in the final games. Romo is now 1-6 in elimination games in his career, including a loss in each of the last two season finales. The Cowboys live and die with Romo, who is asked to win just about every game. When they win, Romo is the big reason. Whey the lose, Romo is the big reason
Upgrades Needed:Since Romo is getting up there in years, even though his playing career didn't really start until he was 26, it's safe to assume he's played more seasons in this league than he likely has left. With that, it's time for the Cowboys to start thinking about a long-term replacement. What route they chose to do that will be interesting. It could be in the NFL Draft, either in the early rounds or the middle. In 2009, they drafted Stephen McGee in the fourth round and he lasted three year before they cut ties with him before this season. Don't be surprised if the Cowboys go a similar route in 2013.
Tony Romo – Was the reason they won most of their eight games. Was a reason they lost a few of them as well. Without a true running game and a consistent offensive line, that's the pressure Romo faces each week.
Kyle Orton – Didn't get much playing time, but led the team on a scoring drive against Chicago in his only action. Veteran player who knows how to stay ready and likely gives Romo an extra set of eyes on sidelines.
Nick Stephens – If you just asked "who?" that would be the player Dallas signed last week as a future. He will be with the Cowboys this offseason as teams need as many live arms as possible. Obviously they see something to have him around.
Bryant Broaddus on the Cowboys' current QB situation:
It has always been said that the quarterback receives too much of the credit when a team wins but way too much of the blame when they don't. As much as fans want to be critical of the perceived failure of Romo, take a step back and think about what you really have here. I have literally lived through the time when this team didn't have a quarterback. Anyone want to go back to the days of Anthony Wright, Tony Banks, Chad Hutchinson or Ryan Leaf? I didn't think so. Before you get rid of this team's quarterback … (to read more, click here)