(1) No Terrell Owens. Losing Terrell Owens from the offense should free Romo of concerns about keeping his top playmaker happy, and it could also make coordinator Jason Garrett better with renewed play-calling freedom.
(2) Roy Williams becoming the No.1 WR. His old OC from Detroit, Mike Martz, chalks up Williams’ struggles in Dallas to his midseason entrance: “The timing is so different, the anticipation is so different, you really need an offseason of work.”
(3) Trio at running back. Marion Barber and Felix Jones are both healthy now, and with Tashard Choice in the mix, the Cowboys have the makings of a versatile, explosive running game to take pressure off Romo.
Flip to see the reasons why he could be worse.
(1) No TO. For all his warts, Owens got a defense’s attention. And Williams has only one 1,000-yard season on his resume, meaning that he’s no T.O. Not yet, anyway. As Romo says, “It’s always difficult to replace someone who’s been the dominant player.”
(2) Offensive line. The offensive line, a strength in 2007, really missed Tony Sparano’s firm hand in 2008, and part of that is attitude. The Cowboys’ number of rushing attempts has declined in each of the last four years, and that makes it more difficult to protect the quarterback, with more long-yardage situations accrued and more predictability in playcalling. As a result, a big, grinding unit may have lost its physical edge.
(3) Lack of depth. Last year, losing starting left guard Kyle Kosier was devastating. Similar problems could surface at receiver. With the exception of tailback, depth just isn’t there. So staying healthy is imperative for an offense that was outstanding when its lineup was kept almost completely static two years ago.
So what do you think? Will Romo be better or worse in 2009?
With his slunty girlfriend there is no chance Romo improves. I say his playoff winless streak continues. -TO