Dallas Cowboys

January 20, 2014

Jerry Jones says Tony Romo on track after back surgery

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo is feeling better, but isn’t throwing a football yet.

Tony Romo is feeling much better and remains on track to practice before training camp, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said.

“I talk to Tony frequently, and so he’s feeling much better,” Jones said Monday at the Senior Bowl. “As far as how he’s feeling, and frankly how he’s responding, is very good.”

Romo underwent back surgery on Dec. 27, preventing him from playing in the season finale against Philadelphia. He is expected to need three to four months of recovery.

“I know that they don’t have any set schedule,” Jones said. “But certainly we do expect him to get some work in before we start training camp.”

Quarterbacks coach Wade Wilson said he has seen Romo and that he is walking and active, but not throwing yet.

RB headed to Hawaii

Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray will make his Pro Bowl debut. He was added to the all-star roster Monday as an injury replacement for San Francisco running back Frank Gore.

He joins teammates Tyron Smith, Dez Bryant, Jason Hatcher and Jason Witten for Sunday’s unconferenced all-star game. Smith, Bryant and Hatcher also are making their Pro Bowl debuts.

Murray started 14 games, missing two with a knee injury. He led the team with 217 carries for 1,121 yards and nine touchdowns. He also added 53 receptions for 350 yards and one score. Murray is the team’s first running back selected to the Pro Bowl since Marion Barber in 2007 and just the second since Emmitt Smith’s final trip to Hawaii in 1999.

– Charean Williams

Staff openings

Jones said the Cowboys, who lost tight ends coach Wes Phillips to the Washington Redskins and assistant special teams coach Chris Boniol to private business, have not added anyone to the staff.

“I haven’t addressed any of the vacancies, and won’t,” Jones said, declining to confirm a report that Carlos Polk has replaced Boniol. “Have not really spent a lot of time thinking about it.”

Asked when the staff will be set, Jones said, “For all practical purposes, it may be set. It may change. But I don’t have a time. I know this, that right today, we can line up and play.”

Jones said special teams coach Rich Bisaccia’s interviews with two other teams for their head coaching vacancies is a compliment.

“He did a really good job with the special teams,” Jones said. “We had hoped he would..”

Murray backup

Jones said he is “troubled” that DeMarco Murray has had injuries in his first three seasons with the Cowboys, but is confident in him and backups Joseph Randle and Lance Dunbar. Murray was added to the Pro Bowl on Monday as an injury replacement for Frank Gore of San Francisco.

“I’m troubled, but not to the extent that I want to do anything about it,” he said. “I think we really got in real good shape last year with Randle and really have a lot of promise with Randle. I think he’s every bit the player I thought he was going to be when we drafted him.

“And then Dunbar did nothing. But as far as what he’s capable of doing — competing, and playing at this level and making big plays for us — I like where we are at running back.”

Jones said he is not necessarily looking to add a runner.

“It would have to be a pretty unique situation,” he said. “ ... But we’ve got some pretty good competition there, especially if we want to keep a fullback on the roster.”

Escobar’s impact

Jones said rookie tight end Gavin Escobar did not disappoint him. The number of chances Escobar got disappointed him.

“We’re going to do something about that,” Jones said. “Going forward, he’ll have a lot more opportunity, and he should have had a lot more opportunity than last year. We looked back and said that this is something on our should-have-done list, having him more involved in the offense.”

Escobar, the Cowboys’ surprise second-round pick last year, caught nine passes in his rookie year. Two went for touchdowns, including an athletic play at the pylon against Philadelphia in the season finale.

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