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 DE Randy Gregory Reinstated, Will Join Team for Training Camp
The Dallas Cowboys patience with Defensive End Randy Gregory has paid off. Suspended for the better part of 2016 and all of 2017, Gregory has officially been reinstated to join the team for their 2018 training camp. The projected starter at RDE, Gregory will report to Oxnard with the rest of the team on July 25th.
From here, it will be all hard work for Gregory to reconnect with Defensive Coordinator Rod Marinelli and get his promising career back on track. The last time Gregory suited up for the Cowboys, he managed to sack Philadelphia Eagles Quarterback Carson Wentz in a week 17 win. The Cowboys will be expecting much more of this from a player they've supported through multiple violations of the league's heavily criticized substance abuse policy.
Cowboys pass-rusher Randy Gregory's petition for reinstatement was not opposed, according to lawyer Daniel Moskowitz. He's back. "I've never been more proud of any individual in my life. I'm very excited for Randy and his daughter and the rest of the his family.
Among this support staff for Gregory were a number of teammates that wrote formal letters to the NFL as part of his bid for reinstatement. These last few days of preparation before the Cowboys are together again as a team will surely be uplifted by Gregory's presence.
They say no news is typically good news at this point in the offseason, something the Cowboys have come to realize far too often. Today's news shouldn't be confused with a pleasant surprise however, rather something the Cowboys were committed to in getting another premier pass rusher on the field.
Here is the NFL's official press release on their reinstatement of Randy Gregory:
Cowboys & DeMarcus Lawrence Fail to Reach New Contract
DeMarcus Lawrence will definitely be a Cowboy in 2018, but now the future beyond that remains in question. The Dallas Cowboys and their star defensive end did not agree to a long-term contract by today's deadline for franchise-tagged players.
According to NFL rules, teams had until 4:00 pm EST today to reach contract extensions with free agents who'd been assigned the franchise tag earlier this offseason. Players who did not get new deals will have to play the 2018 season on their one-year franchise tenders.
DeMarcus Lawrence and the Cowboys were unable to work out a long-term contract by today's deadline. Lawrence will play the 2018 season under a one-year franchise tag that will pay him $17.1 million
This does not mean Lawrence will be a free agent in 2019. The two parties can still discuss the contract in the months to come, but the deal cannot be made until after the end of the regular season.
Dallas also has the option of giving DeMarcus a second franchise tag next year. However, that would come at a considerably higher price for a second-straight season.
This year, Lawrence will still make plenty with one of the highest cap hits of any DE in the league. He earned the franchise tag last with 14.5 sacks in a breakout season.
Today's news may not really be a big deal in the long run. As long as Tank wants to stay in Dallas after this, the two sides now have over five months to keep talking and will hopefully agree on a new deal for 2019 and beyond.
There is risk on both sides, of course.
Lawrence's leverage could be less if his productions drops or he gets injured. On the other hand, his position could be even stronger with a second-straight year of strong play.
Now everyone, from the team to player to fans, is in wait-and-see mode until the end of the season.
Will Cowboys WR Noah Brown Do Enough to Make the Roster?
The Dallas Cowboys aren't short on numbers at wide receiver on their current 90-man roster. Looking to replace Dez Bryant and reshape their offense, the Cowboys will have to find the right group of pass catchers for Dak Prescott at their upcoming training camp.
The odd men out from this group will likely be the ones that can't sustain a consistent level of play, doing so across multiple units if needed. All ten receivers will have their flashes, but with only four being true locks to make the team, new Cowboys Wide Receivers Coach Sanjay Lal will be in on some tough decisions right away.
One such decision may be moving on from last year's seventh round pick Noah Brown out of Ohio State. Vouched for by former Buckeyes teammate Ezekiel Elliott thanks to his blocking ability on the outside, it may now be this strength in the run game and deficiency as a pass catcher that spells the end of Brown's run in Dallas.
Normally, a seventh round pick being on the roster bubble wouldn't be this noteworthy, but Brown clearly showed the potential to outplay this draft status as a rookie. Appearing in 13 games, Brown is a true X receiver, although not the dominant one the Cowboys are searching for.
Moving away from fielding a true number one receiver, the Cowboys did sign Allen Hurns to play this spot while prepared to spread the ball around to Williams, Beasley, and Gallup after that.
This leaves Thompson, Wilson, Cannon, Lenoir, McCay, Murdock, and Brown to prove their worth in other ways to make the roster. I've written plenty about the potential rookie Cedrick Wilson has, so I'll be expecting a strong showing from him to earn a role in the Cowboys offense.
Wilson's skill set could push a depth signing like Deonte Thompson off the team, although his ability to back up Cole Beasley/Tavon Austin on special teams is important. The same can be said about Lance Lenoir, who like Brown has the advantage over first year players given his trials through training camp and the preseason a year ago.
Long shots to make the team, Cannon, McCay, and Murdock fall just below this group -- and somewhere in the middle is Noah Brown.
Increasing his role on special teams as the season went on last year, Brown had fans throughout a coaching staff that is now drastically changed for 2018. From their shift to more speed on offense, to drafting of both Gallup and Wilson, calling Brown a fringe player on the Cowboys roster really sets up the fiery competition to come at wide receiver.
Should the Cowboys find a spot for Brown, one can only hope it means this new coaching staff has a clear plan for him to contribute on both offense and special teams outside of being a run blocker. A potential niche for Brown is his red zone ability, not afraid to put his body on the line for jump balls and fight through contact in his routes.
It won't be long until we sort out if this is enough to make the Cowboys as a wide receiver ahead of Quarterback Dak Prescott's third season.
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