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3 Reasons Why Tony Romo Will Thrive In 2016

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.

Brian Martin

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Cowboys Headlines - Three Reasons Why Tony Romo Will Thrive In 2016?

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

Cowboys Headlines - Three Reasons Why Tony Romo Will Thrive In 2016To say that quarterback Tony Romo's 2015 season was a letdown would be an understatement, but could it actually be a blessing in disguise?

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

Cowboys Headlines - Three Reasons Why Tony Romo Will Thrive In 2016 1

(James D Smith via AP)

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

Cowboys Headlines - Three Reasons Why Tony Romo Will Thrive In 2016 2There 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.



Level C2/C3 quadriplegic. College graduate with a bachelors degree in sports and health sciences-concentration sports management. Sports enthusiast. Dallas Cowboys fanatic. Lover of life with a glass half-full point of view.

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BREAKING: Cowboys TE Rico Gathers Receives One-Game Suspension

Jess Haynie

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Rico Gathers

Tight End Rico Gathers already had an uphill climb to return to the Dallas Cowboys' 53-man roster in 2019. But that climb just got even steeper; the NFL handed down a one-game suspension to Gathers today for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy.

If he does make the team this year, with Dallas or anyone else, Rico will have to sit out Week One of the season without pay.

Ian Rapoport on Twitter

Cowboys TE Rico Gathers is suspended without pay for the first game of the 2019 regular season for violating the NFL's policy and program on substances of abuse. This is from his arrest in 2018 for marijuana possession.

Gathers' chances of returning in 2019 were already hurt by Jason Witten's reversed retirement. He dropped to fourth on the TE depth chart behind Witten, Blake Jarwin, and Dalton Schultz, and Dallas only kept three tight ends last year.

The Cowboys also added Codey McElroy as a developmental player during the offseason.

While the suspension is news, the incident that led to it is not. Dallas already knew about the arrest, which occurred in early September of 2018, and have kept Gathers around up until now.

The NFL's substance abuse system is pretty formulaic, so the Cowboys likely anticipated this suspension all along. This may not change anything about how they value Rico Gathers for the 2019 season.

Nevertheless, a player who can't help you in Week One and is a liability for ever longer suspensions down the road is definitely a red flag against Gathers' job security.



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Antwaun Woods: Cowboys DT is Just Getting Started

Matthew Lenix

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Antwaun Woods is just getting started

Antwaun Woods went undrafted in 2016 coming out of USC. After two years with the Tennessee Titans, he would only see one game of action. In May of 2018, the Cowboys signed Woods to a two-year contract worth 1.05 million. Probably seen as nothing more than a practice squad guy, Woods would quickly show he was much more than that.

The newly acquired Woods started his climb to stardom in Oxnard during training camp, and not for making plays. One day during practice he got into a friendly game of fisticuffs with All-Pro Center Travis Frederick. The team even posted the video on social media, which had fans buzzing and wanting to know who he was.

All-Pro Running Back Ezekiel Elliott echoed those thoughts when he saw Woods during camp. "Honestly, when we first got him, we were like, 'Who is this guy?'. He was giving Travis Frederick, one of our best players, hell all camp. Just trying to figure out where this guy came from," Elliott said.

Once the regular season started it was clear the Cowboys had found a hidden gem. Although the sack numbers won't dazzle you, seeing as he only registered 1.5, you could forget about running the ball anywhere near him. Woods has amazing quickness for a 300 pounder which allows him to extend his arms before offensive lineman can get a hand on him.

How significant is that? It becomes that much easier to bull rush and blow running plays up in the backfield.

When you can get your hands on an offensive lineman immediately when the ball is snapped, he's basically under your control. You can move him around like a puppet on a string. Essential for a 1-technique nose tackle. With that being said, there should be no surprise the Cowboys finished fifth against the run in 2018 with Woods manning the middle.

Woods draws a lot of double teams, and he handles them well. Having the ability to take on multiple linemen frees up your other playmakers. As the anchor in the middle, Woods made life a lot easier for not only his fellow defensive linemen but the team's two young star Linebackers Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch. Allowing them to roam freely like Lions in the Serengeti makes running backs essentially Zebra's carrying the ball, cooked food. So much so that both tallied over 120 tackles and were the only teammates in the NFL to rank in the top 15 in that category.

There's nothing but upside with Antwaun Woods. He's only had 18 games of experience in three years. He's already a stud, but with limited snaps, it can only mean he'll be even more formidable going forward.

The Cowboys have a loaded defensive lineman group with around 15 bodies, plenty of competition. All signs point to him remaining the starter, but it's not guaranteed. Even with that being said I don't expect a complacency from Woods, especially with DeMarcus Lawrence and Robert Quinn looking like the only sure starters on the defensive line. Plus this is a contract year for him, so you know he'll be even more motivated as he tries to maximize his dollars. We've only seen the tip of the iceberg from this raw talent, setting up for a potential breakout year for him in 2019.



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Cedrick Wilson: Cowboys WR Could Shine After a Year Off

Matthew Lenix

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Cedrick Wilson could shine after a year off

The departure of Cole Beasley to Buffalo via free agency in March left a hole at the slot receiver position in Dallas. The team signed veteran Randall Cobb about a week later, but only to a one year deal. Names like Tavon Austin and Allen Hurns along with Cobb are looked at as the replacement for Beasley but don't forget about Cedrick Wilson.

Selected in the sixth round in 2018, Wilson was coming off an impressive and highly productive two-year career at Boise State. Tallying 139 receptions for 2,640 yards and 18 touchdowns in just 26 games.

When OTA's began last season, the rookie was already turning heads with his route running, ability to create separation and athleticism, but unfortunately, disaster happened not long afterward. Wilson would suffer a shoulder injury that placed him on injured reserve for 2018, the same shoulder he had issues with in college. A not so fairy tale beginning to an NFL career.

Although his time on the field was short-lived last summer, he definitely caught the eye of wide receivers coach Sanjay Lal.

"Ced's a savvy, smart football player. He picks things up really well. He applies them to the field. In terms of technique, he's one of the best if you watch him. His stance and start is really good. He comes off the ball with low pad level. He's eating up ground and then has a nack to make a big play over the top on a big post," Lal said.

Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup and Randall Cobb make up a very formidable receiving core, and adding a healthy Wilson to that could work wonders. His experience on the outside and the slot gives offensive coordinator Kellen Moore plenty of options. Slot receivers are usually harder to bump off the line with the extra few yards of cushion they get, giving them more options route wise seeing as they can go inside or out a lot easier than outside receivers. That's where Wilson's supreme route running can come into play. Also, with his ability to separate on the outside and beat corners deep, you can play him opposite Amari Cooper and put Cobb in the slot with a combination of either Gallup, Austin or Hurns in a four-wide receiver set, the possibilities are endless.

A setback can be a blessing in disguise if approached in the right manner. Wilson hasn't let the year off derail his focus on what he's trying to do in Dallas.

"Coming back off the rehab was tough in general. But definitely a year of just seeing how everything goes, the speed is definitely slowing down. Just getting back in the playbook and learning from older guys of what I need to do and doing what the coaches expect of me," Wilson said.

The competition won't be easy for Wilson, though, as other young up and coming receivers are fighting for roster spots as well. UDFA's (Undrafted Free Agents) Jon'Vea Johnson and Jalen Guyton will also be fighting for snaps during mini-camp, with the former already making waves during OTA's. Reggie Davis has also turned a few heads in the summer, a fellow UDFA himself trying to find a home after bouncing around the league between four different teams since 2017.

It's all about health for Cedrick Wilson at this point. Can his shoulder hold up enough to allow his skill set to make a contribution to the Cowboys in 2019? The talent is there, along with the praises of his position coach, now it'll be interesting to see if this potential diamond in the rough can shine under the bright lights of AT&T Stadium.



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