Cowboys’ Romo expects Free, others to protect him
AP Sports Writer
GRAPEVINE, Texas (AP) – Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo isn’t sounding too concerned about life without five-time Pro Bowl left tackle Flozell Adams protecting his blind side.
“I can’t worry about it,” Romo said Wednesday. “I have to trust the people around me.”
That includes fourth-year player Doug Free, who is expected to slide over to left tackle after starting the final seven regular season games last season on the right side for injured Mark Colombo. It also includes newly acquired Alex Barron and re-signed Montrae Holland.
“This will give us competition, it will give us real experience if you add up all the games our offensive line has played. That’s pretty impressive, and it gives us depth,” team owner Jerry Jones said. “So I’ll be very candid with you. I’m no longer concerned about the offensive line at all. As a matter of fact, I like the mix.”
Romo hasn’t had the opportunity yet to throw passes to first-round draft pick Dez Bryant. That will come next week when the Cowboys hold the first of four consecutive weeks of workouts that will culminate with a mandatory minicamp in mid-June. Training camp opens in late July.
“They say he’s pretty natural and fluid,” Romo said of Bryant. “That’s obviously a good thing.”
Roy Williams is coming off a disappointing season (38 catches, 596 yards, seven touchdowns) after Terrell Owens’ departure cleared the way for him to be the No. 1 receiver. He expects to be better next season and welcomes the addition of Bryant, who the Cowboys got with the 24th overall pick in last month’s draft.
“He’s a playmaker, a game-changer,” Williams said. “I welcome that. You get a steal like that that far down, why not. … Our team got better.”
Romo, Williams and several other teammates played golf Wednesday as part of an annual Cowboys-sponsored function at a course bearing the name of the team.
It was the second day in a row on a golf course for Romo, who Tuesday shot an even-par 72 in a pre-qualifier for the Byron Nelson Championship, the PGA Tour tournament in the Dallas area next week.
That got Romo a spot in the open qualifying Monday, when the top four finishers earn a spot in the Nelson field. That is also the first day of OTAs for the Cowboys. Romo said he obviously will not miss football workouts, but his tee time for the qualifying event likely will be in the afternoon, allowing him to do both.
The golf outing Wednesday was certainly less stressful than the pre-qualifier the day before.
“I’m not having to grind over every shot. I don’t mind if I hit out of play today,” Romo said. “It’s good to get out here and have fun.”
Next week, it’s the start of OTAs, though Romo and others have been working out already for several weeks.
“We’re always doing football,” he said. “Next week will just be a little bit more for other people to see. We’ve kind of been doing it for a good month or so and on the field. It is just part of the next step in the process, but it will be fun next week.”
It will also be Romo’s first time on the field with the 6-foot-7, 315-pound Barron, who played in 76 games for St. Louis, all but two of them starts. The Cowboys got him after trading linebacker Bobby Carpenter to the Rams in a swap of former first-round picks.
Holland, the Cowboys’ only unrestricted free agent this offseason, signed a two-year deal to stay after being inactive all 16 games last season. He started two of his eight games for Dallas in 2008 after starting all 16 the previous season for Denver.
“Right now, we’re going into it thinking that with Doug and these other guys, we’re going to be able to keep doing what we’ve been doing,” Romo said. “And hopefully the team can grow as an offense.”