Top 50: Cowboys' Playoff Hopes Rest On Romo's Ability To Bounce Back

(Editor's Note: With the offseason in full swing, the focus is now shifting to the 2016 season, where the Cowboys have one of the toughest schedules in the NFL. Not only do the Cowboys face five playoff teams but many of the top players in football. So the writers of DallasCowboys.com have ranked the Top 50 players expected to be on the field this season, including the Cowboys. Today, we continue the list with Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo.)

Name:Tony Romo
Team: Dallas Cowboys
Position:Quarterback
Height/Weight: 6-2/230
Experience:13 seasons
College: Eastern Illinois

2015 with Cowboys:Romo completed 83 of 132 passes (68.6 percent) for 884 yards, 5 touchdowns and 7 interceptions for a 79.4 passer rating in four starts – his fewest in a season since became the Cowboys' starter in 2006. Two separate collarbone injuries – one in Week 2 against the Eagles and another on Thanksgiving against the Panthers – sidelined him for 12 games.

What's the Deal: Perhaps the best measure of Romo's value to the Cowboys: the team went 3-1 with him and 1-11 without him last season. The collarbone healed well on its own this offseason, and in March Romo opted for the Mumford procedure to strengthen the shoulder area and help prevent re-injury. He fully participated in the team's OTAs and minicamp, throwing with good accuracy and velocity, and says his back feels as strong as it has since the late-2013 procedure. All good signs as the Cowboys get set for training camp and look to erase the disappointment from their 4-12 season in 2015 – the lowest win total in the Romo era.

Expect This: By drafting Ezekiel Elliott with the fourth overall pick and signing veteran Alfred Morris, the Cowboys made major upgrades to their running back depth and expect to have a more balanced offense around Romo. But, as last year proved, the team's success depends greatly on their veteran quarterback. The Cowboys have made the playoffs four times in the seven seasons Romo has made 15 or more starts.

Bryan Broaddus Scouting Report:

  • The 2015 season never really got started for Tony Romo. Two separate collarbone injuries robbed him of any chance to build on his spectacular 2014.
  • There was no question that once he went down, the team was in trouble. The backup quarterback situation just wasn't good enough to handle his loss. With the injury, they missed his ability to make those huge, game-changing plays.
  • They missed his ability to get the offense in the right situation scheme-wise -- run or pass. But more than anything, they missed his leadership. Without him there wasn't that passion and competitiveness to get them over the hump in those tight games what we had seen him do time in time again. Without him, there wasn't the clutch first down or scrambling move out of the pocket for a touchdown. It was a team that struggled to finish games. What Romo did was make those around him better and it reflected on the team's success.
  • The front office sees a window of three-to-four more seasons with him as the starting quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys. In reality, maybe two or three appear to be more realistic. Romo has always worked hard during the season to prepare for these games, but he recently has had to spend more of his time rehabbing from injuries. Three of the last four seasons he has come into training camp with questions about his health – namely, his back.
  • In watching Romo in these OTAs and minicamp practices, his mobility and back appear to be in good shape. He is able to turn with more freedom and make those throws he was unable to complete before the injury, which is a great sign for this team going into the 2016 season.  

The writers of DallasCowboys.com have ranked the Top 50 players expected to be on the field this season, including the Cowboys.

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