Tony Romo had his owner concerned after the season opener. Romo completed 23 of 37 passes for 281 yards with a touchdown, three interceptions and a 60.8 passer rating in a 28-17 loss to the 49ers.
“It bothered me, though, when we had his time as limited in training camp as it was, and then it really made me not second-guess, but made me concerned the way we stepped out and played against San Francisco as to his readiness or as to his ability to be ready quick enough,” Jerry Jones said on his weekly radio show on KRLD-FM. “In other words, we’re in the middle of it now, or we’re at the beginning of the middle of it, and we need him to be playing strong, and so I’m glad after that San Francisco game, he’s really responded.”
In the six games since, Romo has completed 177 of 125 passes for 1,508 yards with 13 touchdowns, three interceptions and a 113.9 rating. For the season, Romo ranks fourth in passer rating (104.7), first in completion percentage (69.2), fourth in average gain (8.36) and tied for fifth in touchdowns (914).
That after having a herniated disk surgically repaired Dec. 27.
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Romo was injured in a Week 16 victory over the Redskins that put them in a win-or-go-home game against the Eagles. Kyle Orton started at quarterback for the Cowboys in the 24-22 loss to Philadelphia that ended their season.
“I think reality set in right then [after the Redskins game] that we weren’t going to have him for the playoffs,” Jones said. “Immediately right after the game is when I found out that it was, his back injury was as severe as it was. Up until that point, I really couldn’t think about our team not being in the playoffs. I couldn’t think about that. I thought we had a playoff team last year, but we needed Romo standing to have it. All due respect to Kyle Orton, if we were going to have the success that we needed to with the makeup of our team last year, …then we were going to have to have Romo really get in here and carry us through a playoff run, and I realized we weren’t going to have him.”
The Cowboys took a cautious approach with Romo during training camp and the preseason. Jones always believed he would get his quarterback back to full strength.
“I knew what we were doing in training camp,” Jones said. “We were being advised by our medical people that he was continuing to improve. His arrow was going up, so to speak, with not only his strength but also with his ability to torque his back. So it really was not something I would let myself think about – not having him at full, 100 percent as we got into the season.”