Few people have had a better view of Tony Romo’s body of work than Cowboys teammate Jason Witten.
And the veteran tight end thinks there’s no doubt the 36-year-old quarterback will return to form this year, after the compression fractures in his back that will keep him out for some portion of the start of the season. Romo has dealt with back injuries before and returned to play well, and that’s part of what makes Witten so confident.
“I’m not a doctor, I’m not here to give him a sales pitch or anything like that, but I do know what he’s about, I know what his mindset is and he’ll get back quickly and play at a high level,” Witten said, via Drew Davison of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “Age is just a number from that standpoint. You can’t allow that to get in the way of what you’re goals are and how hard you worked. He’s had a great off-season, he’s built on a lot of those things.
“He had his best season after the back injury in ’13 going into ’14. People are going to bet against him, that’s fine, and I don’t think that’s unfair to do so. But if you know what he’s about, which everybody in this building does, he’s going to be back sooner than probably expected and he’ll play better than anybody thought he would because I know that’s what he’s about.”
Of course, the Cowboys are buoyed by the fact rookie Dak Prescott had such a good preseason, and they deliberately tried to Romo-proof their offense by drafting running back Ezekiel Elliott in the first round.
But losing their leader is still hard for them.
“On the face of this, it really does hurt,” Witten said. “Tony possesses traits that very few have. When he’s not out there, it’s challenging.
“But I don’t think the expectations adjust any. I think the reason for that is we believe in the construction of this team, that it is strong. One of the things we’re trying to do is build on our offensive line, our run game, play-action game, threats down the field, defense, flying around, getting balls out, play field position. I commend coach [Jason] Garrett for that because he does build this structure around that, that it’s not about one individual.”
The hope is that there will be a season left to play for when he returns. The Cowboys were 1-11 without him last year, and since he took over as the starter in 2006, they’re 78-49 with him and 10-23 without him.