Tony Romo feels he’s got another five years in him. That’s the timeline he told owner Jerry Jones when the Dallas Cowboys successfully recruited offensive lineman La’el Collins to join the organization.
Jason Witten isn’t going to argue with that, suggesting it could be even longer for someone he’s played with since 2003. Witten admired how well Romo played last season, particularly coming off an off-season in which he had a second consecutive back operation.
“For him, he played as well as he’s ever played,” Witten said. “I think the way he’s handled the back and the way he’s on top of his body, I think he can play as long as he wants to play.
“I thought the last 12 months have been remarkable. … His standard and his expectation for what he wants to do and achieve is so much higher than what any of us thinks. He’s constantly changing things to give himself an opportunity to be at his best. I think that’s what makes him so elite, how he’s approached it and he doesn’t listen to any of that other stuff.”
Romo, who turned 35 last month, played well enough to put himself in MVP consideration in 2014. He had a career-bests with a 113.2 quarterback rating and 69.9 completion percentage in leading the Cowboys to a 12-4 record and NFC East division title.
The Cowboys won their first playoff game since 2009 by defeating the Detroit Lions in the wild-card round, but then fell to the Green Bay Packers in the divisional round.
Most fans felt it was a wildly successful season for a team that had three consecutive 8-8 seasons. But Romo and Witten are striving for something greater.
Witten said the goal is simply “not to win a playoff game.”
“That’s not the standard for me, that’s not what I want, and I think that’s not what anybody in the organization wants to see,” Witten said. “Last year was good, but we’re trying to be better than that.”
The Cowboys have been busy trying to put together a more competitive team, namely landing defensive end Greg Hardy and essentially acquiring three first-round talents from this year’s draft class by adding Collins, first-round cornerback Byron Jones and second-round defensive end Randy Gregory.
They also brought in Darren McFadden to try and help soften the blow when the league’s leading rusher, DeMarco Murray, signed with the Philadelphia Eagles.
“I’m really optimistic about the season,” Witten said. “Every year you always know there’s going to be changes. We had success and DeMarco hit free agency and hate to see a guy like that go just because he did everything the right way. He worked the right way, he came up in the system and obviously had a phenomenal season last year.
“Our job is to say, ‘Hey last year is over. We’ve got to go prove it again,’ and I think that’s what we’re focused on doing right now.”
Drew Davison, 817-390-7760