Romo confident in Cowboys' chances

BY Alex Marvez • July 24, 2013

He isn’t even a week into training camp, but Tony Romo already has seen enough to make a bold proclamation.

Romo says the 2013 Dallas Cowboys are the “most complete” team he has played on during his 11 years with the franchise. This includes the 2007 Cowboys squad that Romo quarterbacked to the NFC’s best regular-season record at 13-3.

Romo’s confidence stems from his assessment of the team’s personnel and coaching staff as Dallas tries to break a three-year postseason drought.

“We went through a phase where we kind of had to reshuffle some things,” Romo said Wednesday between training camp practices. “Some of the older guys were going out and newer guys were coming in. Now, we’re kind of getting to where these guys have played and been in the system a little bit.

“I’m excited where this team is at right now. I think this team can compete at a very high level for the next three to five years for sure.”

Romo, though, knows the immediate future is most important. Dallas finished 8-8 the past two seasons after Week 17 losses in games where victories would have captured the NFC East title.

Romo said one of the biggest problems the Cowboys must fix was a penchant last season for slow starts. The Cowboys scored first in only six of 16 games, and were outscored in the first half by a 198 to 124 margin.

Having to play catch-up and fielding the NFL’s 31st-ranked rushing attack also contributed to what became a lopsided offensive attack. Romo attempted a career-high 648 passes and threw 19 interceptions, his highest total since 2007.

Romo said that “new wrinkles we’re going to do offensively” can help address the problem.

“You don’t want to be involved in that many games where you have to come from behind,” said Romo, who tallied 4,903 passing yards and 28 touchdowns. “There are certain things you can do to help yourself in those situations. I think we’re doing that.”

The Cowboys have revamped their offense by giving head coach Jason Garrett’s play-calling responsibilities to offensive-line coach Bill Callahan. Romo also will have more input into the game plans, which is what Cowboys owner Jerry Jones wanted after signing him to a seven-year, $119.5 million contract extension during the offseason.

“It just comes with the experience of being the quarterback at a place for an extended period of time and the credibility that comes with doing things from time to time that have been successful when you do implement them,” said Romo, 33. “More than anything, it’s a collective group effort. I’ll be involved in that.”

Romo’s sense of urgency is shared by many of his veteran teammates who are keenly aware the Cowboys have just one playoff victory since the 1996 season. That came in 2009, before the Cowboys were eliminated with a second-round loss at Minnesota.

“We’re disappointed in the last two seasons being 8-8,” Cowboys tight end Jason Witten said. “There’s a core group of guys who understand it’s not about what we talk or say. It’s our actions and developing a team that can compete, develop a good chemistry and ultimately execute when we get into tough situations.”

Witten said Romo — a target of public criticism for the Cowboys’ failings — is the quarterback who can do just that.

“He understands what the expectations are not only for this team but himself,” Witten said. “You love going to work each day with a guy who has the same commitment as you. We’ll exhaust ourselves trying to win a championship.”

Alex Marvez and co-host Gil Brandt interviewed Tony Romo and Jason Witten on SiriusXM NFL Radio.