Left guard duties will most likely go to recent free agent pickup Nate Livings, who signed a 5 year deal worth $19 million ( $6.2 mil guaranteed ). Livings comes to the Cowboys after 6 seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals. With 47 starts under his belt, that brings the experience level Dallas has been seeking that could give Romo more time in the pocket, and also improve their running game as well. Mackenzy Bernadeau was also signed as this off season as an unrestricted free agent coming over from the Carolina Panthers. Bernadeau could be a good fit at right guard, but he’ll have to compete with Dallas’s 2011 draft picks David Arkin, Bill Nagy, Rookie free agent Bill Kowalski, and 3rd year veteran Phil Costa.
Even with the signings of Livings and Bernadeau, I wouldn’t be surprised for a minute that the Cowboys will be looking in this year’s draft for more competition on the offensive line. Especially at the Center position where Phil Costa did a decent job in his first year as the starter, but didn’t really do anything spectacular. Possibly looking in the 2nd round ( 45th overall ) at Wisconsin’s Peter Konz, Georgia’s Ben Jones, or Baylor’s Phillip Blake would make logical sense for an upgrade.
So the big question is: Will Tony Romo be even better in 2012 ? That remains to be seen. It will mainly depend on how the offensive line responds to the new adjustments and who will be handling the 3rd wide receiver duties? Other factors include how effective the running game will be this season and will everyone remain healthy? Also will the new additions be any improvement over the old ones and can Romo survive a 16 game season without injury?
The bottom line is that big question will be answered with several other big questions as the season progresses. But if Romo had any say in the matter, I think his answer would be something along the lines of proving his negative critics wrong, and holding up that Lombardi trophy in February of 2013.