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The Pressure Is Already Building For Romo In 2014

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Dallas needs a healthy Tony Romo under center to succeed in 2014. Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images.
Dallas needs a healthy Tony Romo under center to succeed in 2014. Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images.

It’s only April and the word is that Tony Romo is progressing on pace and possibly ahead of schedule in his recovery from back surgery. However, there is still cause for concern for the Cowboys.

The herniated disk he suffered in Week 16 of the 2013 season cost Romo the final regular season game and probably cost Dallas a chance at the playoffs. Kyle Orton got them nearly close enough to win, and one could argue whether or not Romo would have done enough to get them into the playoffs. But that’s in the past, and now the bigger discussion is what Dallas should be expecting out of Romo in the 2014 season.

Romo belongs near the top on a list of players facing the most pressure in the NFL. The Cowboys draw the most media attention — often more criticism than praise — and as quarterback, Romo takes most of this attention (criticism). So with the pressure and expectations of the media already weighing on him heavily, he now bears the weight of recovering from the late-season back surgery.

The Cowboys missed the postseason in 2013 by one game while sporting the worst defense in the NFL and nearly one of the worst in league history. So, even a naïve fan would be able to recognize that the offense must have been strong. The offense wasn’t an overpowering one, but Romo managed the offense efficiently and kept Dallas in nearly every game, even if the defense tried to play them out of it. But now Romo is coming off back surgery, and Dallas fans have to be concerned. He is Dallas’ only chance at making the playoffs in 2014.

The defense has made some changes. Dallas has plenty of draft picks to play with, but not enough has been done to the defense to say that their defense will win them games. Romo will win games for Dallas. He has a rare playmaking ability and can win football games that not just any quarterback can. Therefore, he needs to be healthy in 2014. Orton and Brandon Weeden are the Cowboys’ current backups, and they give Dallas a significantly less chance at winning any game they play.

Again, it is only April. But this is a legitimate concern because, at age 34 (Romo turns 34 on April 21) and coming off back surgery, there is no guarantee that Romo will be able to play all 16 games. Dallas will need him in all 16 games if they want any chance at making the playoffs.

The rest of the division has made significant upgrades this offseason, and it could be a four-team race. Dallas will need every win that they can get, and just the thought of Romo missing time and Orton or Weeden under center could have experts sending Dallas to the divisional cellar in their predictions.