First in a series breaking down the Cowboys by position:
Roster locks: Tony Romo, Jon Kitna, Stephen McGee
Good bets: None
On the bubble: None
Long shots: Matt Nichols
Tony Romo can build upon what he did last year for the Dallas Cowboys. You talk about all the things they asked him to do -- playoff win, protect the football, be a leader -– he did. You have to feel he can build on that.
Where Romo improves is if the players around him improve, if you get another outstanding year from Miles Austin, if Jason Witten continues to be a Pro Bowler, if you get a lot more from Roy Williams, if Dez Bryant makes an immediate impact. There were times that Romo made good passes, but his teammates let him down.
Romo's playmaking ability will improve if the people around him improve. You're going to have times where he has mistakes because of his ability to make the loose play, but that's the great thing about Tony Romo. He has the ability to make the loose play where everything breaks down and he moves around and finds the open receiver. Just don't try to do something he can't complete. He was much better last season at not being careless with the football. You can live with the mistakes he made, but you can't live with getting stripped in the pocket, fumbles, those kind of things.
If something were to happen with Romo, you could win a game with Kitna as your quarterback. He's at least a solid, dependable backup. I don't see a physically imposing player. He might be losing a little of his physical ability -- I don't think he throws the ball with near the velocity that he had -- but he makes up for it with his smarts. He knows where to go with the football and has the quarterback savvy.
With McGee, I really need to see him play this preseason. For the Cowboys to really evaluate where he is, he needs to play quite a bit. He needs to prove that he can handle the mental aspect and the physical aspect. He needs to think much quicker out there. He needs to do things faster. Decision-making needs to be faster. That's the biggest problem he has. I like the way he looks -- quarterback build, arm strength seems good enough -- but he has to work on the decision-making. He's more than smart enough, but he needs to do it faster.