Editor's Note:* Throughout the off-season, DallasCowboys.com staff writers will take a closer look at the roster, analyzing players' impact last season and how each fits into the team's 2015 plans. Today's Roster Rundown entry features quarterback Tony Romo.)*
Name: Tony Romo
Height/Weight: 6-2 / 230
Experience: 12 seasons
College: Eastern Illinois
Key stat: For the first time in his career, Romo led the NFL in quarterback rating with a career-best 113.2 mark, just beating out league MVP Aaron Rodgers. Romo also led the league with a 69.9 completion percentage, the sixth-highest total in NFL history.
Contract Status: Signed through 2019.
2014 Impact: There was a period in his career where you would have not called Tony Romo a patient quarterback, but that is exactly what he was this past season. His competitive nature would have not allowed him to give up on a play and that would on occasion lead to a poor decision on the field. As much as we were all critical of this flaw - it was exactly what made him tick. When I worked for the Packers I observed the same traits in my years with Brett Favre and that unwillingness to keep the play alive no matter what the result might be. This year was different for Romo. He played smart in the way
he protected the ball. His decisions were more geared toward fighting for the next play instead of making the critical mistake and I believe and this is the important one -- we saw more from him in the leadership aspect of the team. Whether it was on the field during games or in the locker room from what we were able to gather from him teammates and coaches that hasn't always been the case. For many in the organization, it was a step in the right direction and one of the main reasons that he benefited from but the team as well. We have all seen Romo perform at a high level before, but nothing like this. What he was able to accomplish post-opening day was nothing short of spectacular despite dealing with back issues that he had to prepare for each week. As strange as this might sound, I believe that having to go through this routine actually helped his game. It allowed him to not only rest his arm but work on his overall conditioning which benefited him down the stretch in those games in the last two months of the season -- where his play was flawless. Even though there were limitations in his mobility, there were still snaps where he was able to buy second and third chances in the pocket for big results.
Where He Fits: Tony Romo was on record during training camp saying that "His best ball was ahead of him" and he was able to deliver on that. The question going forward is, will he continue to play at a high level with the new issues of his back? Jerry Jones speaks of four-to-five years more with Romo, but honestly: I think the window is more in line with two years. What will help Romo prepare for this upcoming season is the fact that he doesn't have to rehab an injury, which he has the last two seasons. I expect that what we have seen from his weekly preparations during the season that he was carry that over into the offseason and he has an outstanding chance of repeating the success he had in the previous season.
Nick Eatman: The true definition of less is more because Romo has had more passing yards, attempts, completions and touchdowns in a season, but with more help – especially in the backfield – Romo was able to be as efficient as ever. He completed more of his passes than ever before and his team was right there on the door to win. A few weeks ago, Jerry Jones said he's preparing to make decisions on the assumption Romo will be around for the next five years. At 34 right now, that's a little hard to assume but the thing we know about Romo is that what he loses each year in mobility and quickness, he seems to gain in awareness and football IQ. His toughness and willingness to play through pain trickles down to the rest of the team in a positive way. This guy is an elite quarterback and finally got the chance to prove it this week.