First off, let me tell you that I personally believe that Tony Romo will have an amazing year in 2016 and that despite his recent struggles with injuries, he will once again get the Dallas Cowboys back on track and in contention of making a deep playoff run.
If you paid any attention to the 2015 season, you noticed first hand just how important Tony Romo is to this team. He is the heart and soul of the Dallas Cowboys and without him in the lineup the entire team takes a giant step back.
Below I decided to share with you three reasons why I personally believe Tony Romo will thrive in 2016 and have the Cowboys once again sitting atop the NFC East division.
Now, you may be a little skeptical about Romo's chances due to circumstances out of his control, but I believe I have a pretty good argument as to why that skepticism might be a little unjustified.
Reason #1 - A year of rest does the body good
Let me take you back a few years and remind you what happened the last time Romo missed the majority of the season due to an injury and how he responded the following year.
In 2010, Romo suffered a sprained shoulder that ultimately resulted in him missing the final ten games of the season, but the following year in 2011 he came back and played with a vengeance. He threw 31 touchdown passes to just 10 interceptions in 2011 and had a passer rating of 102.5. I'm expecting more of the same for the upcoming 2016 season.
Romo missed nearly the entire 2015 season, but this shouldn't be looked at as a negative. It allowed his body to fully heal and the fact that he didn't take much of a pounding last season should have everyone looking forward to his return.
I personally was much more concerned about the longevity of his career due to the back surgery he had a few years ago, than the broken clavicle he sustained last year. A clavicle will fully heal in time, but you never know the lingering effects a back injury may have.
Romo decided to have a Mumford Procedure performed on his shoulder during the off-season to help combat against the likelihood of a clavicle injury occurring again, and all signs point to Romo being 100% healthy and chomping at the bit to get started for the upcoming season.
Still need more evidence that Romo will thrive in 2016?
Reason #2 - The return of the running game
Tony Romo had the best season of his career in 2014 when the offensive identity was to stay committed to the running game and take the pressure off of Romo having to carry the team on his back.
In the 2014 season, Romo had both his best completion percentage of his career (69.9) and passer rating (113.2). He also threw for the second most touchdowns of his career (34) and he threw just nine interceptions.
The drafting of Ezekiel Elliott fourth overall in the first round suggests just one thing, that the Cowboys will return to the blueprint that worked so well for them in 2014 and commit to the running game.
A strong running game will only help Romo thrive in 2016. Not only will the running game take the pressure off of Romo, but it will open up the passing game as well. It will also force defenses to respect the running game more and not pin their ears back and rush the passer.
You can put me down as saying that Ezekiel Elliott will end up being Tony Romo's and the wide receivers best friend.
Still not convinced Romo will thrive in 2016?
Reason #3 - A never say die attitude
There is one thing that you can say for sure about Tony Romo, and that is he is going to give you everything he has to try to win the game. He has that never say die attitude that you love to see in athletes, and especially in the leaders of your team.
In fact, according to pro-football-reference.com, Romo has 25 fourth-quarter comebacks in his career. He is also currently ranked seventh with 30 game-winning drives. Only Tom Brady (48), Drew Brees (38), Ben Roethlisberger (37), Eli Manning (33), and Carson Palmer and Matt Ryan who are tied with 31 game-winning drives are ahead of him.
Romo has a knack for being able to drive the field when the clock is winding down and the game is on the line. We recently witnessed this in week one of the 2015 season when he took the offense down the field and found his best friend, tight end Jason Witten, in the end zone for a touchdown against the New York Giants.
Romo never gives up on a play and a lot of times it results in a positive gain, but not always. That is something that you learn to live with when you have Romo as the quarterback of your team, but it's something that will help him succeed in 2016.
Honestly, I can go on and on about why I believe Tony Romo will thrive in 2016, but these three reasons alone should give you hope that amazing things are on the horizon for the upcoming season.
Cowboys Will Tag DeMarcus Lawrence; What’s the Plan?
February 20 is an important day for NFL clubs this year. Why? It's the first day in which teams can franchise tag any player. Since 2015, when the Dallas Cowboys tagged Dez Bryant before they were able to work out a long-term deal, Jerry Jones & Co. haven't used the franchise tag. In 2018, though, that will change.
DeMarcus Lawrence just played his best season yet in 2017, and he's looking to get paid big time. Through three years, he had been able to rack up nine sacks, 52 tackles and three forced fumbles. In just 2017, he sacked opposing quarterbacks 14.5 times, had 35 tackles and managed to force four fumbles.
Not only did Lawrence look like an elite pass rusher, but he also improved as a run defender a lot. The Cowboys have been looking for a "War Daddy" for a long, long time and Lawrence seems to be the answer for this football team.
After such a big year, one would expect the Cowboys to sign him to a multi-year enormous contract. But there's a catch. Lawrence failed to remain healthy early in his career and really didn't make as much of an impact until last season.
There's no question that D-Law will be wearing a star come the 2018 NFL season, but will he be doing it under a long-term deal or under a franchise tag?
Cowboys will not place franchise tag on DeMarcus Lawrence tomorrow as that window opens but will do so by March 6 w/ understanding the goal is to reach a long-term deal. Both sides have until July 16 to make that happen.
For now, according to David Moore from Dallas Morning News, the Cowboys will franchise tag Lawrence with the objective of getting a deal done in July. The tag however, is not expected to be placed as soon as possible.
In 2015, the Cowboys didn't place the franchise tag on Dez Bryant until the final deadline day. This year's deadline is March 6th, so it may be two weeks before they make it official with DeMarcus Lawrence. #CowboysNation #DallasCowboys
What would franchise tagging DeMarcus Lawrence mean for this team?
First of all, they'd make sure he doesn't hit free agency in March. This gives the front office time to get to work and restructure players' contracts if they have to in order to open up as much cap space as they can before giving him a deal.
It's worth mentioning as well, cap savings from players who are designated as post-June 1 cuts will already be available. If you want to be more familiarized with the Cowboys' cap situation, I highly recommend you read John Williams' deep dive on the matter.
It'll continue to be a very interesting story for this offseason, as handing a franchise tag to a player tends to become a non-friendly situation for both parties. Let's hope that's not the case for the Cowboys and Lawrence this year and that everything works out fine.
Here at Inside The Star, we'll continue updating you and the rest of Cowboys Nation throughout the offseason.
Watch: Cowboys LB Jaylon Smith Goes Bowling for First Time Since College Injury
Dallas Cowboys Linebacker Jaylon Smith did not just defy all odds and return to normalcy in 2017, starting as the Cowboys' middle linebacker for a full 16 games. He became one of the team's and NFL's brightest success stories, earning the right to celebrate everyday activities returning to his life - as football did this season.
This is exactly what Jaylon Smith did on Twitter Friday afternoon, posting a Snapchat video of himself bowling. The caption on Twitter adds that Smith was enjoying his time at the lanes for the first time in two years.
It was January 1st, 2016 when Jaylon Smith's injury in the Fiesta Bowl against Notre Dame changed his outlook forever. In that moment, Smith went from a projected top ten pick in the 2016 NFL Draft to a LB that would need a team to take a chance on him - and be patient.
The Dallas Cowboys proved to be that team, using the 34th overall pick on the Notre Dame star and supporting his efforts to return to the field from day one. The entire Cowboys' organization was rewarded by Smith remarkably playing every game this season, inspired by his constant determination to do just that.
So, a normal offseason for Jaylon Smith is anything but right now. Still battling the drop foot condition (one that is reportedly healing well and "fading") which limits his movement ability in the lower body, Smith is a normal Dallas Cowboys football player from this point forward.
He can say he's already defined all odds, can expect to take an even bigger stride forward in 2018, and Jaylon Smith can go bowling again. You can't help but be happy for #54.
Dak Prescott’s Accuracy Stands Out in Final 2017 Stats
2017 was a season that left the Dallas Cowboys with a ton of questions to think about. Dez Bryant's contract, Sean Lee and Tyron Smith's availability, and the future of DeMarcus Lawrence and David Irving are some of those questions.
But there's another more pressing question for the Cowboys. How can they get the most out of Quarterback Dak Prescott and avoid another struggling year for him?
Also, what if he has another rough year? At what point does quarterback become a position that needs to be evaluated if he continues to struggle?
Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that will be the case. In fact, I have a lot of faith in Dak. I think he's shown a lot to be excited about and I definitely believe there's a "quarterback curve" in the NFL. Hopefully, #4 finds a way to get back on track in 2018.
A reason to be optimistic about Prescott's future is an impressive stat from NFL Next Gen Stats. Turns out, Dak Prescott ranked first in the NFL in "tight window throws" completion percentage with 45.8%.
According to Matt Harmon from NFL.com, a "tight window throw" is defined as a pass in which the intended receiver has less than a yard of separation from the defender.
Dak Prescott is far from a perfect quarterback and he's constantly bashed about his throwing accuracy. Just recently, he took part in a passing competition with David Carr before the NFL Honors and well... it's fair to say Carr completely beat him.
David Carr 6, Dak Prescott 1 pic.twitter.com/rV532Q3Cob
— uSTADIUM (@uSTADIUM) 6 de febrero de 2018
Cowboys Twitter was anything but forgiving for the young quarterback, but at the end of the day, I'm not sure a casual passing competition at an event like that one is the way you judge an NFL starting quarterback who has a 22-10 record in his career.
Dak has a long way to go before being considered an excellent quarterback in the league, but a bad season like 2017 doesn't mean it's the end of his career and that the Dallas Cowboys should start Cooper Rush over him.
It's not the first quarterback who struggles one year and he won't be the last one to bounce back from one. As of right now, Dak Prescott rightfully is the Dallas Cowboys QB1. Hopefully he has a better year next season.
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