When looking at the upcoming season and imagining that Tony Romo is able to stay healthy, it is inevitable to believe that the Cowboys will have a great year. Back in 2014, Romo was at the top of his game. His decision making was razor-sharp. He was making J.J. Watt look like J.J. from Good Times and everything was "Dyno-mite." Despite being 36 years old, the Cowboys have themselves a sharp-shooting quarterback in 2016.
Just think of all the great things ahead...
The Cowboys will have a stellar rushing attack lead by the team's huge addition at running back - Ezekiel Elliott. When opponents focus in on #21, Romo will just do what he did in 2014 and shred the defense as he carves out the best QB rating in the league. With Dez Bryant on one side, Terrance Williams on the other, Cole Beasley in the slot, and Jason Witten cloaking himself in and out of invisibility to get so wide open - Romo is going to have a blast back there. And he's going to have all day to throw the ball because the offensive line hold their ground so well that it will seem like the defenders have to fill out a short survey before starting their pass rush.
Fun fact: Dan Bailey is on a short list of the kickers who didn't miss an extra point last year. Is it because he's a great kicker? Sure, that probably has something to do with it, but let's not dismiss how much practice he got kicking PATs in 2014.
If someone could assure us that Romo would not get hurt, there would only be one question on everyone's mind - how deep in the playoffs would this team go?
Unfortunately, there are no such guarantees and we are back to being subjected to the uncertainties that the 2016 season brings. Should a dark cloud appear and Romo finds himself hurt again, is that the end-all, be-all to the Cowboys season?
The Cowboys drafted Dak Prescott in the fourth round to come in and compete for the backup QB spot with reigning backup quarterback Kellen Moore. Like Romo, Moore is an undrafted free agent who has quietly waited for his turn. In the last two games of the 2015, he finally got his turn. While Moore threw six picks on just over 100 attempts, he was still able to showcase some playmaking ability to keep him in the mix this season. Both Moore and rookie, Prescott will battle it out for the number two spot, but the rookie might be able to give the team a little sumpin' sumpin'.
Prescott is a dual-threat player. While rookies in general struggle when they first hit the NFL, there have been quite a few recent success stories for mobile quarterbacks. Granted, some have been one-year wonders or found very little success once they've had to rely more on their arm, but they've still been able to have some value right out of the gate. Pro Bowl quarterbacks like Cam Newton and Russell Wilson have been able to sustain careers in the NFL because they have developed their pocket-passing ability, but others have had short-term success by using their legs.
Robert Griffin III, Colin Kaepernick, and even Tim Tebow had success early as defense struggled to figure them out. Griffin had a record of 9-6 and rushed for 815 yards his rookie season. Kaepernick took over the starting job mid-season, but led his team to a 5-2 record with 415 yards on the ground. And Tebow would go 7-4 with a playoff victory the first year he was given the reigns.
One could make a case that defenses have since figured these guys out, but then a player like Tyrod Taylor comes along last season and has a Pro Bowl season with a passer rating of 99.4 while rushing for 568 yards. Taylor is a sixth-round pick who played his first four seasons with Baltimore, but he never got a chance to start until last season when he joined the Buffalo Bills.
Now, just because Prescott can run doesn't mean he's going to give a defense fits, but his skill set would be put to good use in this offense. He's very good at protecting the ball and keeps his passes manageable so he isn't the gunslinger risk a lot of rookie QBs are. He'll have a strong running game to work behind and he'll have plenty of weapons to throw the ball to. And if he doesn't like what he sees, he can just take off running.
It's never going to be a convincing sell when you are using Tim Tebow to make a point and certainly if Dak only has short-term success in Dallas, that's not something Cowboys fans are going to want to hang their hat on. Time will tell what path Prescott takes, but his mobility does offer the team something. Losing Romo would be terrible, but a player like Prescott gives the team some hope.