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News » Romo returns, questions remain

Romo returns, questions remain

Romo returns, questions remain
Tony Romo missed practice Wednesday with flu-like symptoms, took some medicine and was back at it Thursday.

If only it were that easy to cure what ails the Dallas Cowboys' offense.

The return of their quarterback gave a boost to the Cowboys as they continued preparations for Sunday's regular-season finale at Philadelphia. A win gives Dallas a wild card and a loss sends the team packing into what could be a turbulent offseason.

"I feel like 100 dollars," Romo told reporters in Irving.

Romo took all the snaps with the first team during the portion of the workout open to the media.

"We'll make him practice double today," Cowboys coach Wade Phillips joked before the workout. "We'll make him practice extra so he can catch up for people who worried about him missing practice."

Considering the way the offense has performed lately, some would argue Romo could use the extra work.

Dallas (9-6) has been shut out in half of its past 12 quarters. In those three games, the Cowboys managed only a combined 17 points before halftime and are 1-2 in that span.

On Tuesday, Romo suggested the fact that each of the past three opponents - the Pittsburgh Steelers, the New York Giants and the Baltimore Ravens - has outstanding defenses is the main reason why the offense has sputtered.

But some of his teammates found fault with themselves.

"We just need to eliminate a lot of mistakes," Terrell Owens said. "We've had a lot of penalties. ... We've got to clean up everything from a mental-assignment standpoint. We've got to clean up all across the board. If we eliminate those mistakes and if (the offensive linemen) give Tony time to assess the defense and deliver the ball downfield, we'll be OK."

Another receiver said the offense still hasn't found its identity.

"It's been up and down," Patrick Crayton said. "It hasn't been a constant thing. I'm not sure exactly why. Last year, we were dominant. We were being billed as having an explosive offense with all the talent and a decent defense. Now, I think the defense has established their identity and we have to step it up and bring our side to the table."

One problem that's easy to pinpoint is the inconsistent nature of Romo's play. In losses to the Steelers and the Ravens, he threw a combined five interceptions, three of which were converted into scores. But in the 20-8 win over the Giants, he threw two touchdowns without an interception en route to a 113.8 passer rating.

Phillips said Monday that Romo must do a better job of protecting the ball, a difficult task sometimes for a player with a gunslinger mentality.

"There's a line there as far as being able to improvise and also being able to make plays some guys can't make," Phillips said.

Eagles safety Brian Dawkins was asked Wednesday to assess Romo's recent play.

"He still is making some of the throws he needs to make - pumping one way and going the other," Dawkins told reporters in Philadelphia. "Obviously, he has missed some passes and thrown some errant passes down the middle. Those are some of the things he does. He just takes chances that way. That's just him. He just has one of those gunslinger mentalities. He is going to take chances."

Notebook: The Cowboys re-signed right tackle Marc Colombo to a four-year extension Wednesday. "We have a pretty physical offensive line, and he's one of the more physical guys," Phillips said. "He's after 'em every play, and that carries over to other people." ... Running back Marion Barber (toe) and tight end Jason Witten (ankle) practiced.

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: December 27, 2008

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