Will Cowboys return to pass-happy ways in 2015?
The Tony Romo offseason experience is in full bloom this month. This is apparently the best he’s felt in years, but he wants to reiterate that his golf clubs will remain in the garage.
Romo has created the perception that his only focus is football after years of being (wrongly) criticized for playing too many rounds in the offseason. Speaking as someone who’s played a fair amount of golf with Romo in the past, I’m not buying the story about him rarely playing over the past three years. He loves the game way too much.
And there’s nothing wrong with that. The only thing that worries me is all this talk about how his back is better than ever. I think the Cowboys will be tempted to return to their pass-happy ways if they become convinced Romo’s fully healed. They have already decided to downgrade at running back with the departure of DeMarco Murray.
This idea of making Joseph Randle the lead back is a bad one. And Darren McFadden is reuniting with the same offensive line coach (Frank Pollack) he struggled with in Oakland. Last season, playcaller Scott Linehan knew he had to take pressure off Romo by leaning on the running game. I think that’s harder to do when you don’t have a bellcow back. He may be more inclined to trust Romo than a pedestrian group of runners.
"The further I get away from the surgery the stronger I get in a lot of areas," Romo told reporters at a recent charity event for the Nexus Recovery Center and The Gatehouse at Grapevine via ESPN.com. "I’m working as hard as I need to be at my best, and right now it’s just been a good start in the offseason. I’ve been able to continue to build and grow."
All of this is good news, but the Cowboys need to proceed with caution. They did a good job managing him through training camp last season. He’ll try to avoid sitting out sessions this time around.
That’s where Jason Garrett needs to protect Romo from himself. The Cowboys have a sense of security heading into the 2015 season because of their elite offensive line. But having a unit full of Pro Bowlers won’t guarantee Romo’s safety.
The Cowboys need to treat him similar to how they did last season. The only difference is he might not require as many painkilling shots.
Jerry Jones might not admit it, but he thought there was an outside shot he could land Adrian Peterson in a trade. That ship has sailed and the Cowboys are left with questionable talent at tailback.
There will be a temptation to ask Romo to make up for Murray’s absence. But in the interest of getting him through a full season, the Cowboys must resist that urge.
And for goodness sakes, let the man go play a round or two.
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