Quarterback Tony Romo and receiver Dez Bryant are back on the field together for the first time on a regular basis since 2014.
The Cowboys are hoping that means a return to the offense and success of 2014 as well, when Dallas went 12-4 and claimed the NFC East title.
Bryant was named All-Pro and Romo had the most efficient season of his career with 31 touchdowns and 9 interceptions to vie for NFL MVP honors.
That offense was based on a strong running game led by DeMarco Murray’s 1,845 yards. They controlled the ball and the clock.
The addition of fourth overall pick Ezekiel Elliott at running back has the Cowboys hoping they can not only duplicate the success of 2014, but surpass it.
“I think in terms of style we want to able to run the football,” Romo said. “We know we are going to be able to do some things pretty well. It’s just a matter of the execution being at the level our leaders want. That part takes a lot of hard work in practice. The expectation is to raise that bar, really better than 2014. Obviously we know we did a lot of good things then, but if you are resting on that as the standard then you are missing out on what possibly could be.”
What possibly could be and what the Cowboys are hoping for is not just another NFC East title and a trip to the playoffs, but a possible Super Bowl berth for first time since their last title in 1995.
That burning desire to win it all is why Romo still gets excited heading into what his now his 14th NFL training camp. He tries not to think about the day he has to hang them up, although he knows that will happen and the moment is getting closer with each passing year.
His focus and sense of urgency remains on still trying to improve to become the best version of himself and finally win a Super Bowl.
“You appreciate it more,” Romo said. “I think you just, you love the competition. I know I love to compete and I love to see how good I can be. You’re challenged in that every day and every year. Getting to a point where one day in your career you get to be that version you always wanted to be.
“You’ve just got to wear it out for years. And you’ve got to go accomplish your goals. That’s what we’re trying to do. It’s a sense of urgency every year. Every year you walk it in you feel like it’s the most important season you are ever going to play. I feel that way again this year. That’s why you do everything you can to be at your best.”
For all practical purposes, Romo and Bryant aren’t yet at their best to start training camp.
They still have rust to shake off and some timing to get down.
Remember that Bryant missed all of last offseason in a contract dispute. He was limited in training camp with a hamstring injury and suffered a fractured foot in the season opener.
Romo broke his collarbone in Week 2 and actually played in just four games last year after twice fracturing the collarbone.
Of the Cowboys’ 969 offensive snaps last year, Romo and Bryant were on the field together for just 123 of them.
Bryant was held out of the offseason program and minicamp to rehab the surgically-repaired foot.
So rust is a problem, but neither player is worried.
Romo has completed 349 passes for 5,017 yards and 50 touchdowns to Bryant since 2010.
Any time you can practice and play together, it is never a negative,” Romo said.