IRVING, Texas – The storyline that came out of the NFL draft last April – particularly the selection of Travis Frederick in the first round – was the need to buy Tony Romo more time.
Cowboys owner/general manager talked often, during the draft and after it, that the Cowboys needed to give Romo more time in the pocket and keep the number of sacks he takes below 2012's 36.
The early indications are positive, according to Romo. The Cowboys are only three games into Frederick's career, and they have had Brian Waters on the active roster for just two. But Romo said he can sense a new level of comfort in the pocket this year.
"I'll get through reads pretty quickly normally," he said. "But the ability to not necessarily have to get through them as fast as I would have had to previously – I can see the difference sometimes in that."
The results of that are telling to this point. Romo isn't bombing away in the yardage count, but his completion percentage and his interception total – 72.2 percent and one, respectively – are among the best in the league. [embedded_ad]
"You're not having to make as many decisions under duress and trying to move the football under those circumstances," he said. "The best teams in the league – you know, you look at the teams that go on and give themselves a chance late in the year – they have quarterbacks who are able to get through progressions at a normal speed."
Hopefully the arrangement, particularly the addition of Waters, can keep Romo off his back and out of more injury scares like the bruised ribs from Week 1. To that end, Romo had a unique perspective when asked about the season-ending surgery required of Anthony Spencer.
A broken clavicle missed Romo to miss all but six games of the 2010 season, giving him a good notion of how it feels to watch the team cope without a key contributor.
"He played as well as anybody last year, so I feel for him and what he's going through," Romo said of Spencer. "At the same time, when I was out, the games keep playing, the team keeps going on. You have to understand there are too many times and too many teams that have had a guy or two get hurt and went on to do some successful things to think that you can't."
Romo added that the team's experience with injury – from Romo's own setbacks to the rash of injuries that befell the defense in 2012 – is something that has molded this year's team.
"Some of that comes from experience. You almost understand that injuries are part of the game now, and you're not going to go through a full season without them," he said. "There's a way to mentally prepare yourself to stay ready to win the football games with or without certain individuals. If you can't, then you're behind the eight ball."