The NFL has undoubtedly developed into a passing game. The old theory of success, run the ball and stop the run, still works to an extent, but without a good quarterback a team likely isn't going anywhere. The last time a team with an average quarterback won a Super Bowl was 2003 when Brad Johnson was carried by the Tampa Bay Bucs' all-time great defense.
In today's NFL, the likes of Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers are considered the cream of the crop in term of signal callers with Michael Vick, Ben Roethlisberger and Philip Rivers following close behind. One quarterback who has yet to enter that elite company is the Dallas Cowboys' Tony Romo.
Romo has put up a number of solid seasons including a 4,483-yard, 26-touchdown campaign in 2009. Due to Dallas' penchant for falling short of expectations, however, he has been somewhat of a scapegoat. Romo didn't do much to further the masses' opinion of him last season as he missed 10 games with a broken collarbone.
With that said, all signs point to Romo bouncing back with a career year in 2011. Not only has he been given a clean bill of health, but with Jason Garrett as Dallas' head coach for a full season, the passing game should be a priority.
While Philadelphia and Green Bay certainly put up a fight, it can be argued that no team possesses a more talented trio of receivers than Dallas. Miles Austin and the freakishly athletic Dez Bryant should continually cause matchup problems for opposing defenses while Jason Witten will own the middle of the field.
Romo should also be given more support from the running game this season as Felix Jones takes over the full-time gig. His fresh legs should revitalize a Dallas ground game that was bogged down by the plodding Marion Barber last season.
The only concern for Romo is his injury history. He has missed 13 games over the past few seasons, but he shouldn't exactly be considered injury prone. Provided Romo's line can protect him, he should be fine to play out a full season.
The Cowboys are among the Super Bowl favorites this season, and while that type of pressure has caused the team to wilt in recent years, this is a decidedly younger and more explosive Cowboys team.
The NFC East will be tough to navigate, but it actually plays into Romo's hands a bit. Both the Philadelphia Eagles and New York Giants figure to have high-octane offenses, meaning the Cowboys could have some shootouts on their hands. The Cowboys' defense is still in question, so Dallas' offense will likely have to be the team's breadwinner.
If Dallas' offense operates to its full potential, Romo should have little problem throwing for over 4,000 yards and 35 touchdowns. He'll get stiff competition from the likes of Brady and Rodgers for the overall touchdown lead, but Romo is clearly poised for a break-out season.