ARLINGTON, Texas -- Maybe it is just the natural optimism that surrounds every NFL player when training camp is about to begin, but Tony Romo, who is entering his 10th season with the Dallas Cowboys, has a feeling about 2012.
"I think as a player there's a sense of urgency every single year that this is the year we're going to have success and do the things we're excited about," Romo said Tuesday during a promotional appearance across the street from Cowboys Stadium for Starter. "I haven't been this excited about a football season as far as the collection of talent we have on the football field, and I think that's exciting."
So what is it about this collection of talent that has him so excited as he enters his sixth season as the team's starting quarterback?
"In some ways, we didn't have the offseason last year and we have a defensive coordinator who has put in some new things that I think are really going to help our defense. They're going to have an offseason in the system," Romo said. "We've got some new players on both sides of the ball through free agency and the draft. I think we have some good, young talent that are continuing to grow and get better. Some of them won't even be young anymore. We're going to ask them to do a lot.
"I think for a lot of those reasons, it will allow us to have an opportunity to be a good ballclub this year."
In Romo's first full season, the Cowboys went 13-3 and had the best record in the NFC. They have reached the playoffs three times since, but are on a two-year postseason drought after finishing 8-8 in 2011.
The Cowboys missed out on the playoffs last year by losing the winner-take-all season finale at the New York Giants, and then saw their NFC East rivals win their second Super Bowl in five seasons.
"I think you use the negative things that happen from the year before -- and from other years, too -- to spur you to do the things you need to do to take the next step," Romo said. "At the same token, the excitement level is there for the season because of the players we have on the team, some of the new additions and the amount of work and new stuff that we're doing this year. And that's exciting to me."
Romo will have to wait until next week in Oxnard, Calif., to get on the practice field. He has been excused from workouts this week at Valley Ranch that will feature rookies, first-year players and assorted veterans, although he is hoping to change Jason Garrett's mind.
"I talked to Jason to see if I can come out here [Wednesday] but I know they want to get some of the young guys some reps," Romo said. "So we'll see what happens and what the coaching staff wants to do, but I'm ready to rock and roll."
Romo is coming off what many consider his best season -- 4,184 yards, 31 touchdown passes and just 10 interceptions. After second-half mistakes against the New York Jets and Detroit led to crushing defeats, Romo altered some of his approach that led to success.
"I am excited a little bit from that perspective, and the fact that I have continued to improve," Romo said. "I learned a lot at the beginning of last year. I had a stretch at the end that I was able to utilize some of the negative things that happened to me at the beginning of the season to play at the level I was starting to last year. I think that will only continue.
"It sucks you have to go through those things. But they were great experiences for me in the long run. The short-term sucked. That is part of growing as a quarterback and getting better. But you've got to utilize it, and I did. I think my best years are ahead of me and that's exciting."