Cowboys 2014 success depends on a completely healthy Romo

While most of the 30 National Football League franchises were focused on last week’s Organized Team Activities, acquainting their newly-drafted rookies and players obtained via trades and free agency to their basic system of playing in the league, the Dallas Cowboys were giving simple reps to some of their key players coming off serious injuries,

Those three mandatory days in which players under contract to the team MUST participate in all the activities or suffer heavy fines, each team’s coaching staffs try to cram in as much information possible while all the players are in full attendance.

Cowboy owner Jerry Jones told this week’s edition of USA TODAY Sports Weekly that he is hoping his starting 34-year-old quarterback Tony Romo was correct when he vowed to reporters at last week’s OTA’s that he’s good for at least five more seasons after coming off his second back surgery in eight months.

Jones admitted that it was very difficult resisting the temptation to draft Texas A&M star quarterback Johnny Manziel to serve as Romo’s understudy. The loquacious Dallas owner also told the sports magazine that “no quarterback has more to prove this season than Romo, who signed a six-year, $108 million extension last year.”

But the confident Romo sort of has the deck stacked against his prediction that he’s good for five more seasons after leading his team to the third straight 8-8 season in 2013.

One is the mediocrity of his leadership, going 24-23 since the 2011 season. Another detriment is his 34-year-old age and the clock is still ticking. Another is assurance that Romo’s herniated disk he had surgery to relieve Dec. 27 will enhance his performance over the next five seasons.

Perhaps the biggest question mark  pertains not necessarily to Romo’s statistics in 2013 (31 touchdowns and 10 interceptions) before his gimpy back sacked him for the regular-season finale with a playoff berth on the line, but the fact the Cowboys lost the Week 17 showdown for the NFC East title for the third consecutive season under Head Coach Jason Garrett.

And then because the Cowboys had some high dollar players who had reached their potential and were on their way down, Jones released franchise sacks leader De Marcus Ware and his sidekick Jason Hatcher, neither of whom played anywhere close to their potential last season.

Jones claims the Dallas defense can’t do any worst this season without Ware, Hatcher and recently re-injured linebacker Sean Lee because the Cowboys last season had the WORST defense statistically in franchise history in 2013, including the first two 600-yard games the Cowboys have ever allowed, according to the Associated Press.

Jones admitted in an AP article last week that his defensive roster isn’t as good as it was at the start of last season. But he told the AP he believes the Dallas defense is better than the injury-riddled unit that finished the season in 2013.

And of course Jones, who has the habit of popping his gums at the most inopportune time said, “I can say it this year, we are better right now,” the owner said during the three-day mini-camp that wrapped up Thursday. “Not on paper at the beginning of the season last year, but on paper right now relative to how we ended up last year.”

Even though the Dallas Cowboys will have many new faces on the defensive line and at linebacker, when training camp officially begins July 24 in Oxnard, Calif., all eyes will be on quarterback Tony Romo to see if that herniated disk he had surgically repaired is 100 per cent.

A healthy Tony Romo should become a legitimate heir to the Cowboy’s last Hall of Fame quarterback—Troy Aikman. And he should show owner Jerry Jones he’s worth that six-year, $108 million extension he signed last season.

KWICKIES…After not swinging a golf club competitively since March 9, Tiger Woods says he’s returning to the PGA Tour this weekend to host the Quicken Loans National at Congressional Golf Course. He has been recovering from a March 31 back surgery and will find out this weekend if he’s strong enough to withstand the rigors of an upcoming major tournament. “After a lot of therapy, I have recovered well and will be supporting my foundation this week at the Quicken Loans National,” Woods told the Associated Press last week. “I will be a bit rusty, but I want to play myself back into competitive shape. I’m excited for the challenge ahead.”

It took a few years but Michelle Wie, the biggest name in women’s golf, finally won her first major tournament, still at the tender age of 24 years old. The 6-foot Miss Wie began on the Ladies’ Tour as a teen-ager, but then geared back her tournament schedule to graduate from Stanford. She won the U.S. Open by two strokes over Stacy Lewis to collect the $750,000 first place check.

San Diego Padres reliever Alex Torres became the first pitcher to wear a protective cap in a major league baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers Saturday. Torrez said the cap had been approved by Major League Baseball since January, but he was reluctant to wear it in a game until last weekend.

And speaking of the San Diego Padres, they appeared to have fired the right man when the team was playing lousy, getting rid of General Manager Josh Byrnes last weekend. Usually it’s the field manager who gets the axe, but he can only make a lineup from the players the GM places on the 25-man active roster.

Kevin Streelman broke the PGA Tour record by making birdies on the final seven holes to win the Travelers Championship by one stroke over K.J. Choi and Sergio Garcia Sunday. The 35-year-old Streelman broke the tour record for consecutive closing birdies by a winner of six, set by Mike Souchak in the 1956 St. Paul Open. Ironically, Streelman missed the cuts in his previous four starts on the tour.

JUST BETWEEN US…It looks as if Dave Campbell has put that proverbial  monkey square on the West Orange-Stark Mustangs’ backs again this season. It’s flattering that his 2014 edition of Texas Football ranked the Mustangs as No. 2 in new Class 4A-DII and was also named the top overall team in the “Golden Triangle breakdown,”, but then he goes on to predict that the ‘Stangs will lose to La Marque in the Region 4A-DII championship. Dave Campbell’s brother-in-law must have moved to the La Marque area over the summer.