It's probably not a good sign when you can't even make it to the OTAs without losing a key player due to injury.
This news just came in over the wire (the 21st century wire, also known as Twitter).
Unbeknownst to most, Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo underwent what is being called a minor back surgery in April. The procedure was to remove a cyst, and apparently was successful. The downside is the procedure will keep Romo from participating in the OTAs scheduled to take place over the next three weeks, beginning today.
Nick Eatman from the mothership quickly chimed in to inform all that the setback will not keep Romo from taking the field for training camp in Oxnard, CA. The opening ceremony for camp will be Sunday, July 21st. Dallas is scheduled to play in the initial preseason game of the season, the Hall of Fame Game in Canton, OH on August 4th.
Romo, for his part, says this isn't a big deal. From DMN's David Moore:
"If this was the regular season and I had to play next week, I could,'' Romo said Monday night on the eve of the Cowboys first OTA of the off-season. "This is just about being smart.
"That's why I did it now. This will have no effect on training camp. No way will it have an impact. And I still think there's a good chance I'm on the field for mini-camp.''
Many folks wanted to point to Tony Romo not taking part in a few recent golfing events as a sign that the maligned quarterback had a renewed focus on football, that he was no longer going to be "distracted". Of course, many more think that the "Romo playing golf" meme is one of the more ridiculous thing that gets discussed, due to the fact that many other players do many other things at some time or another.
This recent surgery would more likely be the reason that Romo sat out the Cowboys recent team outing to the greens. The QB has not participated in golfing events that he normally did since the Azalea Invitational at the end of March. It is unclear whether or not the back has been bothering him since that point.
Romo will speak to reporters today at the OTAs, hopefully someone with access will ask that question. We wait with bated breath.
What kind of impact does this have on the football field? It certainly won't help. Romo is an integral part to the way that Dallas functions as an offense. The next three-to-four weeks are the most important stretch of learning that the team will undergo, and they'll be doing so without their leader. Kyle Orton will now be the number one quarterback in these exercises, and the domino effect is that players like Nick Stephens will be the signal caller when the backups take the field. The backups simply aren't going to have the same pedigree of professional player to work with.
At the very least, Romo and new center Travis Frederick will not have the opportunity to work on the snap exchange. Mix that in with trying to get a rapport with new targets Terrance Williams and Gavin Escobar and you can begin to see what will be missed, along with continuing to make progress with other key receiving targets.
In the past Romo has used the offseason to tinker with his mechanics from altering his footwork to how he holds the ball. He has used the OTAs and mini-camp as a test for how the changes would hold up under pressure and if he would continue with the changes. - Todd Archer
There's no question that Romo is a key cog, even with Head Coach Jason Garrett and Executive VP Stephen Jones downplaying the fact that it's some huge story that Romo is more involved in the game-planning and direction of the offense.
Whatever impact this has on the team's progress is something that will not be quantifiable. There will be no standard to compare the results to, only speculation. The team will move forward with their season preparation and it's completely possible this is not going to be a big deal at all.
On the other hand, it's not like they hold these practices just to catch up with each other and sing 99 Bottles of Beer On The Wall. Time will tell.
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