CANTON, OH - AUGUST 8: Tony Romo #9 of the Dallas Cowboys looks on against the Cincinnati Bengals during the 2010 Pro Football Hall of Fame Game at the Pro Football Hall of Fame Field at Fawcett Stadium on August 8, 2010 in Canton, Ohio. The Cowboys defeated the Bengals 16-7. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Tony Romo is over his flu bug, but his right tackle just had knee surgery.
He's getting better throwing to Roy Williams, but he's still waiting to get his timing down with injured rookie Dez Bryant.
He's moved the ball every drive he's had this preseason, but he hasn't produced a touchdown and neither has anyone else on the Dallas Cowboys.
For everything that's gone right so far during training camp, something's gone wrong.
Romo believes the Cowboys are just working out the kinks. He's so sure of it, he said Tuesday: "I think we're going to have a pretty good red-zone offense this year. I think we're going to have a good offense, period. It's going to be fun."
He should be optimistic. He helped shape the plan.
During the offseason, Romo and offensive coordinator Jason Garrett reviewed what worked and what didn't last season, then discussed why. That led to some tweaks of the playbook to make sure they're emphasizing their strengths.
"I think that's a big part of it, learning what we both like, what we think can be more successful, what we can change, what we need to do better, what I need to be better at," Romo said. "That's how you become a better player and a better offense. I think we're doing that."
It helps that they're familiar with what everyone can do. Dallas has only one new starter on offense, left tackle Doug Free, and he started seven games at right tackle last season. Although right tackle Marc Colombo had an arthroscopic procedure Monday, he's expected back for the opener.
"You get better command of the offense every year that goes by," said Romo, who is going into his fourth full season as a starter and his fourth working with Garrett. "Me and Jason, you grow together in the system. That's a good thing. I'm lucky to have somebody there for an extended period of time like that."
The Cowboys gained a club-record 6,390 yards last season on their way to going 11-5 and winning the NFC East. However, they scored one point fewer than the previous season, when they were 9-7 and missed the playoffs.
Dallas just had too many problems scoring inside the 20-yard line.
"When you look at it, everything we did last year, there's a lot of correctable things out there," Romo said. "It's not that we need to go out and find someone who is a better football player. Sometimes that's part of it, but we don't have that problem."
Fans are grumbling because the same problem has crept up this preseason. Dallas already has tried seven field goals in two games.
Romo counters by noting they haven't had any three-and-outs.
"So we're doing some good things," he said. "But scoring touchdowns obviously helps a lot and matters. From a confidence standpoint, there's no question we need to get in the end zone. And we will."
Garrett was so upset with the offense Sunday that he made them go through an extra round of practice after their second session. They've been crisp in the two workouts since, including while in pads Tuesday.
Part of the problem Sunday might've been Romo playing through his illness.
"You need these days," he said. "So you come out here and fight through it a little bit and you'll be fine."
Williams has been here 1½ seasons without developing a strong on-field relationship. It's a touchy subject because of how much money Williams makes and how much the Cowboys gave up to get him.
If Williams doesn't have big numbers, he probably won't be back next season. The clock could be ticking already because of the high hopes for Bryant, who is eager to return from a high ankle sprain but is being stalled by management concerned about the risk of a setback. Talk of him playing two preseason games has tilted toward the caution of keeping him out til the opener.
Whenever he's back, Romo will be ready to continue breaking him in.
"He's got good instincts," Romo said. "He's got a natural way about running the routes and being in position. He's still got some stuff to learn that we've got to get through, but he's coming along. ... He had a lot of time, he had a lot of work in, and he corrected a lot of mistakes pretty quickly there. But there are still things we're going to continue to work on."
Romo came off the practice field having already heard the news of Brett Favre's likely return to the Vikings. He jokingly said he was taking back all the nice things he said a few weeks ago when Favre was thought not to be returning.
"He's terrible. I can't believe he's still playing. He's got no ability left," Romo said, laughing. "No, he's a great player. It's going to be fun to play those guys this year."