OXNARD, Calif. - Because Jerry Jones has no other choice, the best part of 2014 Dallas Cowboys training camp so far has been Tony Romo. The same Tony Romo who has barely played as he recovers from back surgery he had after Week 16 of the season last year.
"I'm really pleased with where we are in camp," Jerry told us media horde after Thursday's final complete practice here in California before the team departs. "My highlight from camp is how Romo looks. How he has looked with (offensive coordinator) Scott Linehan. I think it's really going to help our team."
It is normal for Jerry to spew optimism at this point in training camp because this is what optimists do. He said the same thing when the team was 5-11, and when they were 11-5 (yes, that actually happened).
It is not normal to spew optimism about a player that has kept his practice time to a minimum.
This is where the Cowboys are - holding their breath that Romo is as "OK" as they say he is. To suggest otherwise is a reality they do not want to consider. The defense looks to be about the same from its record-setting ways established one year ago. The backup quarterback is the backup quarterback.
This whole franchise is riding on a back that had two surgeries performed on it last year.
Romo is scheduled to play against the Ravens on Saturday in the Cowboys second preseason game. Don't expect him to play a lot, and nor should he - it's the preseason.
Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett has repeatedly said Romo's progress has been "good", that they have monitored him closely, and that he continues to look more like the player they know.
To watch Romo and there have been times when he looks like the same player. And there have been times when some of those passes do not look the same. He has never had a huge arm who sprays ropes all over the field, but some of the throws during practice have not had much on them.
Maybe Jerry, Garrett and Romo are right and that everything is fine.
To suggest otherwise is a reality they do not want to consider.
Facebook Mac Engel