Most of the offseason conversation surrounding the Dallas Cowboys revolves around the wide receiver position after the team jettisoned Dez Bryant. The unknown question is how Dak Prescott will perform with a seemingly rag-tag group.
Joining NFL Network's NFL Total Access on Wednesday, former Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo likened the situation to when his 2009 team lost Terrell Owens.
"It depends on what you're defining as a No. 1 receiver. Is it by name alone? Is it by talent? I mean, you don't know that they don't have one," Romo said when asked if Dak not having a No. 1 wideout matters. "There's always someone that can come up. For me, it was Miles Austin after T.O. left, and it was the same discussion then."
Austin went from gaining a combined 104 yards in his first three seasons to back-to-back Pro Bowl selections with 1,320 yards and 1,041 yards in 2009 and 2010, respectively. Dallas entered the 2009 season with a shaky receiver corps made up of Roy Williams, Patrick Crayton, Austin and Sam Hurd. Romo still made the Pro Bowl while throwing for 4,483 yards. In some ways, that wideout crew is not all that different than the 2018 version with Allen Hurns, Terrance Williams, Cole Beasley, Deonte Thompson, etc. -- it's worth noting that unlike Prescott, Romo had a prime-career Jason Witten to utilize.
Romo points out that while a No. 1 receiver makes life easier for a quarterback, offenses can still function well if the signal-caller is accurate.
"At the end of the day, if you put the ball in small windows and you're aggressively putting the ball where you want, there's going to be windows," Romo said. "It's just, when you have someone who is super talented, the windows are wider. So, if you have Julio Jones, the windows are wider, so you don't have to be as perfect as a quarterback."
Putting the ball into tight windows is where Prescott must show improvement in 2018. Bring up the Dez Bryant release on social media and you're sure to be inundated with Bryant-backers sending photos and videos of Prescott overthrows, blaming the QB for the receiver's struggles last season. Without Bryant and Witten, it's on Prescott to elevate the play of his receivers until a go-to target emerges.
"As Dak continues to improve and gets to the level he feels comfortable at, then I think the windows don't have to be as big," Romo said. "So, from that perspective, they just need guys to get into their spots and the ball will get there and that's how they're going to do it."
With one of the best running attacks in the NFL behind Ezekiel Elliott, the Cowboys will focus on pounding the ball in 2018 as they wait for one of their nondescript receivers to morph into a Miles Austin-like producer.