All offseason, we've read the same thing over and over, just phrased in different ways. The Dallas Cowboys could be contenders in 2016 if Tony Romo is healthy. As long as Tony Romo is healthy this offense should be among the best. The Cowboys will go as far as Tony Romo's health will take them.
The problem is many people don't think Romo can stay healthy. For one, he's 36-years-old. While not exactly ancient as far as quarterbacks go, that age is definitely starting to hit the senior citizen plateau. Then there's the history. Since 2007, the year he first began a season as QB1 for Dallas, he's only played the full 16-game schedule four times, which means five times he missed games due to injury. That sounds bad, but in reality there are only two seasons where he's missed a significant number of games. In 2010 he missed 10 games, and in 2015 he missed 12 games (and left two of them early because of injury). Romo is about as tough as they come, he's played through plenty of injuries.
So all the projections for the Cowboys in 2016 tend to be muted, they tend to be downsized because of the specter of injury hanging over their franchise quarterback. But, let's just say Romo does stay healthy, like in this bold prediction from NFL.com.
Dallas Cowboys: Tony Romo plays the whole season. We've heard so much speculation, from, "The Cowboys can win the NFC East if Tony Romo stays healthy," to, "Dallas' defense will play better if Tony Romo stays healthy," ... yada, yada, yada. Well, here's a thought: The Cowboys will be employing No. 4 overall pick Ezekiel Elliott, Darren McFadden and the oft-forgotten Alfred Morris at running back. Couple that with the best offensive line in football and a blueprint that should have Romo throwing just 25 times per outing, and the franchise quarterback will see his way through 16 games for the first time since 2012.
There's the blueprint. With the Cowboys offensive line, and their stable of competent running backs which hopefully includes a superstar in Ezekiel Elliott, there will be less exposure of Romo to evil intentions from defensive linemen. Maybe Romo can set a career low in pass attempts per game for a season. That's what happened in 2014, Romo had a career low in attempts for a season in which he played over 13 games. That career low did not harm his efficiency ratings or his touchdown production.
Of course injuries can happen to any player at any time. Romo's health will always be a topic until he can prove the collar bone and the back are no longer a hindrance. If he proves that in 2016, the Cowboys should be right back to 2014 form. That was a dangerous team.
What say you BTB, will Romo play all 16 games? Vote in the poll then hit the comments.