Three out of four ESPN NFC East beat writers agree, Tony Romo will be the most valuable player in the division this season. Naturally, the Eagles guy is the odd man out. Here are Dan Graziano (New York) and John Keim (Washington) on Romo:
Dan Graziano: I predict the Cowboys quarterback bounces back from last season's injuries and leads Dallas to a division title in a manner that looks a lot like his 2014 season. Romo and the offense may have to score even more points than they did that year to make up for what's happening on defense. But as long as he and Dez Bryant stay healthy, they are more than capable. Ezekiel Elliott will only help with Romo's protection and with diversifying the offense to take pressure off of him.
John Keim: Well, he might have been the MVP by his absence last season. The Cowboys won only four games with him injured almost all of 2015, so if they improve and play the way many fear, then credit will go to Romo's return. With Romo, the Cowboys have a quarterback who can make plays on his own, and now he'll have a strong run game to help him -- just as he did when Dallas won the division in 2014. Last season, Dallas had other issues besides just quarterback and I still worry about Romo's health. But if he's healthy in 2016, he clearly makes a huge difference and could be the reason Dallas goes from first to worst and back to first.
JPP missed both games against the Dallas Cowboys last season, so he should be eager to get after a passer that he has experienced success against (seven sacks in ten games), but he also admits that to continue his run off success, the Giants pass rusher knows he is going to have to bring it.
Pierre-Paul's answer when asked who his favorite QB is to sack?
"Tony Romo," he said. "It's just something when you play the Dallas Cowboys. He's a good quarterback. ... I'm looking forward to playing him in the first game back."
Getting to Romo in September's season opener will not be easy. Pierre-Paul credited Cowboys left tackle Tyron Smith as the toughest lineman he goes against, and Smith could be between Pierre-Paul and Romo once again, depending on where Pierre-Paul lines up.
Yeah, Jason, we are looking forward to the meeting as well.
Why the Dallas Cowboys will have one of the NFL's best offenses in 2016 - Cameron DaSilva, FOX Sports
The Cowboys have the potential to go from 31st to first on offense this season. Silva explains with a keen eye on Tony Romo.
Romo will be back at 100 percent after breaking his collarbone twice in 2015, immediately making Dallas a dangerous team. Add in the fact that he'll get his always-reliable target Bryant back, too, and the Cowboys automatically field one of the best quarterback-receiver duos in the NFL.
The Cowboys are full of mismatches on offense, from Bryant's size to Beasley's quickness in the slot to Lance Dunbar's receiving ability out of the backfield. If they stay relatively healthy as a group, no defense will be able to key in on one weapon -- they can all beat you in different ways.
Since we are talking about week one of the season, it is time to talk about how Dallas is going to adapt to the loss of several players to Roger Goodell's personal version of purgatory, the suspension. Jason Garrett has always preached "next man up" as his philosophy for the organization. It is a philosophy that he practiced as a back up player himself, and now others in the same situation will have the opportunity to follow in Jason's footsteps. David Moore gives us a look at one of the returning guys who will be expected to do just that over the first month of the season.
He should be a solid contributor in the second wave of defenders the Cowboys throw at opposing quarterbacks. But he has a chance to pick up more snaps than usual in the first month of the season.
Since DeMarcus Lawrence and Randy Gregory open the season on suspension, there will be more snaps to go around the first four games. Crawford will get more opportunities to rush from one of those end spots or can pick up additional time at the three-technique at defensive tackle while Tyrone Crawford slides outside. A fast start would earn more time for him as the season unfolds.
Since Graziano was kind enough to mention the defense, let's take a look at how getting Orlando Scandrick back will impact the team.
With Scandrick back in the lineup, Marinelli can procced with his plan of playing him on the left side and moving Brandon Carr to the right side in order to protect him in the scheme from having to deal with the ball consistently coming in his direction. It will also give him the confidence to have a reliable slot player that can not only carry his man all over the field but also bring on that occasional blitz to disrupt the quarterback which they missed without him in the lineup. - Bryan Broaddus
Having Scandrick back, along with some of the things we have heard about Carr and Claiborne during OTAs and minicamp, has me excited to see what the secondary will do this fall. Granted, the excitement may not last long, but hey, it is there.
Maliek Collins will be stepping into an opportunity to have an impact along the defensive front as well. That is if he can get healthy in time. Now that he has his first professional contract under his belt, the rookie pass rusher can focus on being ready to go once he is cleared by the medical staff, and perhaps he can be a welcome surprise for one Eli Manning when the Giants passer pulls his patented step up into the pocket move on the Cowboys during the season's opening weekend.