Tony Romo says he's 'getting close'

IRVING, Texas -- In his most expansive comments since undergoing back surgery last December, Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo said he has no doubts he will be able to return to form in 2014 and make a team that has not made the playoffs since 2009 a contender.

"I've got one job over the next five years and it's to get our team in position to win a championship," Romo told ESPN.com. "And anybody who knows me knows that I won't rest until that's done."

Before he can get the Cowboys to that point, Romo, 34, will have to work through the final stages of rehab from a discectomy. Romo has taken it slowly in his recovery, working through a limited part of the on-field workouts with coaches the last two weeks, but anticipates doing more during the organized team activities beginning next week.

"I'm getting close," Romo said. "We're just going to be smart during the OTAs and have a little bit of a pitch count but we're going to go out there each day and try to do all that we can. The guys are working hard and doing great and I think we're going to be ready."

Romo needed the surgery after aggravating his back in a Week 16 win against the Washington Redskins. Last spring he had a cyst removed from his back that kept him out until the beginning of training camp.

"A lot of it's going to be determined by how good I feel," Romo said. "Like any injury you go out and try to do everything, but if you have to throttle back then you do that or if you're feeling good you push forward. What you set up in the beginning is based on what you've been doing and from there you keep pressing on and keep getting more and more done."

In 15 starts last season, Romo threw for 3,828 yards with 31 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He was sacked 35 times. With Kyle Orton starting against the Philadelphia Eagles, the Cowboys lost their third straight regular-season finale in which a win would have guaranteed them a playoff spot.

The Cowboys will be on their third playcaller in as many years with new passing game coordinator Scott Linehan given the duties. Coach Jason Garrett will be hands-off, and last year's playcaller, assistant head coach Bill Callahan, will go back to working with the offensive line.

"He brings a great track record," Romo said of Linehan. "You look at the tape and see some of the things he's done and some things are similar but some things are different. Sometimes the smallest things can be a big deal on Sunday and I believe some of the small things are going to benefit us tremendously. Scott has a great mind for the game."

Romo believes an offseason of work, even if he is on a "pitch count," will help in his development after not being able to do anything leading into the 2013 season.

"It's amazing how much you can improve in an offseason as an athlete, a football player, a quarterback," Romo said. "I think one of the great joys is attacking your craft and being a better player than when you left. This offseason has started off that way."