A lot was said (and implied) last week about Tony Romo’s lack of participation in the teams OTA’s. The fact is, Romo was very involved in the activities with coaches and teammates … both on the practice fields and in the clubs meeting rooms.
Dallas quarterback Tony Romo directs teammates during the Dallas Cowboys first OTA practice at Valley Ranch
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo directs teammate Jason Witten after he runs a pass route.
Tony Romo warms up arm during the Dallas Cowboys first OTA practice
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo tries not to collide with Dez Bryant as he runs a pass route
IRVING, Texas – Tony Romo wants to take part in the June 11-13 mini-camp.
Romo had a small cyst removed from his back in April and has been limited in his conditioning work for most of the offseason. He has only recently done some light jogging to go with work on the bike and elliptical machines. He has not done any sprinting.
Over the next few weeks, he will be able to make progress in his conditioning to get on the field for full-speed practices.
Romo’s experience has been touted for his ability to be more involved with the game planning and instillation means so much, then OTA’s in May will not be a great deal of help.
Let him work through some individual drills the way DeMarcus Ware is doing. Ware is coming off major shoulder surgery. He could take part in full practices if necessary, but the Cowboys are being conservative with his comeback.
There are $108 million reasons why the Cowboys must do the same with Romo.
SPRINTS, NOT SQUATS: Dallas Cowboys safety Matt Johnson adjusts fitness program to reduce hamstring issues
IRVING — In examining why he had reoccurring hamstring injuries last year, Dallas Cowboys second-year safety Matt Johnson said he realized it could have had something to do with his weight room routine. Johnson said he cut back this off-season on the amount of weight he was squatting.
“We’ve done more hamstring work instead of putting on 400 pounds and squatting,” Johnson said Tuesday after the Cowboys’ first organized team activity practice. “When I was in college, I did that some. When you get to the pros, and playing at safety, I don’t need to squat 500 pounds. We did more position specific and more dynamic work. You don’t need to be a bodybuilder to play football. I was big enough.”
Johnson said he’s lost three or four pounds and weighs about 212 now.
“I feel better at that weight. This league is all about running,” Johnson said. “Obviously you have to be big, too, but on the back end, you have to run a lot.”
Johnson – a 2012 fourth-round pick out of Eastern Washington – is competing this off-season for a starting safety spot against veteran Will Allen, who joined the Cowboys as a free agent addition after starting seven games for Pittsburgh last year, and rookie third-round pick J.J. Wilcox from Georgia Southern.
Johnson injured his left hamstring in June last year and missed most of training camp. He did get in a few padded camp practices and was in for about a dozen plays in the Cowboys’ third preseason game against St. Louis.
However, on his first play against the Rams, Johnson felt pain in his right hamstring.
Johnson’s right hamstring injury kept him out until mid-October. He returned to practice and was set to appear in his first NFL regular-season game Oct. 21 at Carolina when – two days before the game – he again injured his right hamstring in practice.
Last year at this time, Johnson wasn’t allowed to participate in the Cowboys’ OTAs because he was still finishing school at Eastern Washington.
In mid-March, Cowboys radio announcer Brad Sham called Johnson “the greatest safety to ever play” in an interview on KRLD-FM.
“The reason I know that is I’ve been doing this 35 years,” Sham said, “and he’s the only guy I’ve ever seen make the team practicing once, so he must be the greatest safety to every play.”
Through all the hamstring injuries, the Cowboys stuck with Johnson last season. They carried him on the active roster most of the year before finally putting him on injured reserve in mid-November.
Johnson, however, wouldn’t have survived on the Cowboys’ roster if they didn’t believe in his potential.
“His ball skills are incredible,” Cowboys cornerback Morris Claiborne said. “When the ball is in the air, he knows how to go up and play it.”