Tony Romo has shown that he is able to compete while experiencing severe pain, so there’s no denying that he’s one of the toughest quarterbacks in the league, especially in big moments. The overtime thriller in 2011 against the San Francisco 49’ers when Romo re-entered the game after suffering fractured ribs and a punctured lung to lead a game-winning drive in overtime may have been the first time people began to notice his resiliency. It doesn’t stop there. In 2013 he showed a miraculous comeback victory over the Redskins at the end of the 4th quarter with the season on the line, and managed to throw the winning touchdown pass to DeMarco Murray on 4th down. Talk about pressure. This all happened with a severely injured back that ended up requiring surgery and sidelining him for months to come. If you think he won’t be able to come back from this, think again. Not if Romo has anything to do with it. The entire off-season seems to have been focused around his now-famous back injury. There may be many questions and speculations that continue to follow him, and probably always will, but let’s break a few down further.
Will Tony Romo be able to return to the same style of play in 2014?
We all know surgeries are pretty serious, especially with the back. A big part of Romo’s success has been his ability to scramble, sometimes with awkward ducks and dives, to escape the pocket and make plays with his feet. At times when it looks like a for-sure sack, Romo somehow manages to find his way out. It does make sense that not many people expect Romo’s fragile back to be able to make those same crafty moves this season. Let’s be honest though, he shouldn’t have to. With a much improved offensive line, containing three young first-round draft picks, he’s going to have a lot more time in the pocket, and we’ve already seen a glimpse of it this preseason. Although Romo fans will be cringing at the sight of a defensive player anywhere near him, the offensive line should be able to protect him much better than they have in the past. Whether he has to attempt those awkward moves to escape a collapsing pocket or not, it won’t be near as often. We can expect a calmer Romo behind this new dominant offensive line, not one continuously running for his life that we’re used to seeing.
Romo’s Deep Ball
Ever since Wade Wilson mentioned that Romo had some inconsistency problems with his deep ball since returning to practice, it’s been blown out of proportion. Sometimes we wonder if he said that on purpose. Either way, Romo took it to heart. The next time Romo took the field for practice, he (which we assume was on purpose) started throwing beautiful deep balls to his receivers. Surely he enjoyed showing his back wasn’t affecting his play.
First Real Test
A perfect 158.3 passer rating? This basically sums up Romo’s first test against the Baltimore Ravens. He looked surprisingly normal for a guy coming off of back surgery. All eyes were on Romo and his high-praised offense as they took the field for the first time together this preseason. Although an offensive holding penalty started the first drive off a bit shaky, a sigh of relief came when Romo buys some time and steps up in the pocket to find Bryant for a huge first down. Escaping pressure twice, and of course, tossing a 31 yard touchdown pass to Bryant, Romo had a very efficient night completing 4 of 5 passes for 80 yards and a touchdown. The offensive line was nothing short of what we expected, giving both quarterbacks all day to throw. This Cowboys offense continues to show the potential to be a nightmare for defenses to handle.
One thing is for sure, Romo clearly loves to silence any doubters. Although there will always be speculation surrounding him until he leads this team far into the playoffs, you’d be crazy to bet against him.