ARLINGTON, Texas – Tony Romo feels like a kid at camp, getting to hang around with his buddies and play football every day.
"It feels good, I'm excited to be playing football, and I just can't wait for these games to get started," Romo said Tuesday, one of the few times this camp he has stopped to talk after practice.
Romo has looked sharp throughout camp and was 3-of-5 passing for 33 yards in his only series in the preseason opener Thursday night, his first game action since getting hurt last Oct. 25 against the New York Giants. There have been no problems coming back from the injury to his non-throwing shoulder and the only soreness is the kind that would be expected this time of year.
"It's just normal," Romo said. "It just feels like training camp."
Before going 1-5 as a starter last season — his most losses and fewest starts ever — Romo was coming off a record-setting 2009 season, when he completed 347 of 550 passes for 4,483 yards, threw a career-low nine interceptions and got his first playoff victory.
Jason Garrett, the offensive coordinator Romo worked with the past four seasons, is now also his head coach.
"He looks as normal as can be," Garrett said. "He's moving around well, he's clearly in very good shape, and it doesn't look like the injury has affected him in any way in terms of his movement, in terms of his ability to throw."
The former undrafted quarterback, who became the starter seven games into the 2006 season, has flourished under Garrett.
"He seemed comfortable in the game the other night, so I don't think there's any issue getting acclimated to playing in games any more this year than there are in typical years," Garrett said. "So he looks like the same guy to me."
Romo is 39-22 as a starter, even counting the disappointing 2010 season for himself and the Cowboys, who went from hoping to be the first team to play a Super Bowl in their home stadium to a 6-10 record.
After missing most of last season and then having no team-organized activity during the offseason because of the NFL lockout, Romo helped gather and lead teammates in workouts on their own. About 40 players took part.
"We were humbled as a football team last year. I think everyone knows that from our win-loss record," Romo said. "We just couldn't let an offseason go by without improving, individually and as a team. That needed to happen. That's why we did it."
Now deep into camp, the team worked out at Cowboys Stadium for the fourth consecutive day Tuesday. The Cowboys have a day off Wednesday before two days of workouts with San Diego and then their preseason game against the Chargers at home Sunday night.
Dallas is still in training camp mode, and Romo said it hasn't felt much different than the first two weeks of practice at the Alamodome in San Antonio since the team is staying in a hotel near the stadium and busing back and forth for meetings and practice.
"It's been good work," he said.
Dez Bryant moved into a starting role alongside Pro Bowl receiver Miles Austin. Kevin Ogletree is the top candidate to be the No. 3 receiver while several other young receivers have little or no experience with Romo.
On the line, first-round pick Tyron Smith is set as the starting right tackle, while rookie Bill Nagy and second-year player Phil Costa could also be in the mix to start inside.
Considering all the young players and offensive installations being made after the lost offseason, Romo was asked if there is enough time for the team to accomplish everything it wants to before going to New York.
"Well, you don't have a choice. You obviously would have liked to have had more time installing these things and getting people more looks, but that's part of the process," he said. "I think we will be a better football team in Week 8 than we were in Week 1, and I think that will be the case from Week 1 to 4 to 8 to 12. That's going to be just through experience and seeing stuff and guys all gelling together. ... But I like our chances."