Top 10 Stories to Watch at Dallas Cowboys Training Camp: #1 It’s the Quarterback
By Matthew Postins
RattleandHumSports.com gets you read for Dallas Cowboys Training Camp with a look at the Top 10 stories to watch the next few weeks.
Tony Romo’s Back
You did hear Tony Romo had back surgery, right?
The owner of the most scrutinized back in pro football this offseason should be 100 percent for training camp, but that doesn’t mean he’ll be a full participant. The Cowboys have handled Romo gingerly so far, not allowing him to participate in full 11-on-11 drills to the point where he commandeered Caleb Hanie’s practice jersey, put it on and tried to sneak into the huddle during mini-camp last month. So don’t expect Romo to throw in every workout session. The Cowboys will likely take an approach similar to the one baseball teams take with pitchers at spring training. He’ll ramp up slowly. He likely won’t see much playing time in preseason games, either.
At this point in Romo’s career, the Cowboys know what they’re getting in terms of on-field play. So the only goal in training camp is to make sure he doesn’t relapse. Because if Romo does relapse …
Brandon Weeden is the backup? Looks that way. Now that the Cowboys pulled the trigger on releasing Kyle Orton, the Cowboys will spend most of training camp ensuring that the third-year veteran really is up to the task of backing up Romo. Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones said earlier this year that the Cowboys look at Weeden as someone who can be developed for the long-term. Really? Whether you buy that argument or not, having Weeden as the backup would violate the way Jones has done business when he’s had a franchise quarterback (Romo, Troy Aikman). Jones has always secured a backup with a solid professional track record. I don’t know what a 5-10 career record and 55.9 percent completion rate conveys to you, but it shouldn’t make anyone inside or outside of Valley Ranch feel confident if Romo goes down for any length of time. For that matter…
What about Hanie? Hanie is likely the third-stringer. Unless you’re from Forney — Hanie’s hometown — it’s hard to get excited about it. In fact, the developing story of this camp for Hanie will be whether he can even make the team, as the Cowboys have a penchant for keeping only two quarterbacks. Will Romo’s back compel the Cowboys to keep a third? Logic says yes. But when does Jones operate by logic?
As you can see, that’s why Romo’s back is one of the top stories to follow this training camp. A healthy Romo means the Cowboys are competitive. An unhealthy Romo means the Cowboys are not competitive. It’s that simple.