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Tony Romo got early jump on Panthers defense

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IRVING, Texas -- Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo started working on his preparation for the Carolina Panthers while recovering from his broken left collarbone, watching film, jotting down notes.

The quick turnaround before the Thanksgiving game is tricky for quarterbacks, so Romo got ahead of the game a little bit.

Last week was all about the Miami Dolphins and “zero to do with Carolina.”

This week, he looked back at his notes on the Panthers.

“I (went) back and refresh with some of the stuff I did earlier to kind of hopefully give me a little bit of a head start,” Romo said.

Playing two games in five days a year ago was not kind to Romo. He didn’t throw a touchdown pass, was intercepted twice and had a season-low in completion percentage in the Thanksgiving Day loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.

He was out of sorts for most of the game.

He didn’t take a pain-killing injection for his back before playing the Eagles, which was a curious decision since he had for the other games with a normal preparation time.

“I think last year was experimental in a lot of ways at different times,” Romo said. “We had to figure that out. We hadn’t had a short week throughout the rest of the year. In some ways, just some of the decisions I made were not conducive to me being ready in that short period of time. It happened. You learn. You move on. I think I’ll be better this year because of it.”

Romo said last week his surgically-repaired back was feeling as good as it has since his surgery in December 2013. The collarbone is healing and he said he had a “good soreness” after Sunday’s win against the Dolphins.

This week, he has condensed a normal week into a shorter time frame both in terms of keeping his back and core strong and understanding the Panthers' defense.

“You just try to do maybe more of it in a single day, and there’s just a lot of little things that I would normally do in a week’s routine and you’re just doing sometimes a couple things per day,” Romo said. “And being the first week back, you’ve obviously got to get your body back feeling good in a short turnaround and that’s at least half the battle. And then the mental side of it and trying to catch up with the plays and understanding what they’re doing and how to attack them and where they’re vulnerable and my thought process in those moments and all that.”

Last week, Romo said he had to get back into his “situational thinking,” after a two-month break. As the game against the Dolphins wore on, he said he felt better and more sharp.

He expects that to continue Thursday.

“That’s going to get better each time I play, every quarter I play,” Romo said. “I think just the more you play football, usually the better you get at football.”