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Does Romo face make-or-break year in Dallas?

We know Troy Aikman believes in Tony Romo. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones never hesitates to say he believes Romo can win a championship. Those words are nice, but results matter more.

Is it time to start wondering whether this is a make-or-break year for Romo? Dallas' most prominent sportswriter thinks so.

"Romo turns 32 this month," Tim Cowlishaw of the Dallas Morning News writes. "I suspect if he has less than a Pro Bowl season in 2012, the Cowboys will start thinking about more serious competition than Kyle Orton."

It's not that crazy a notion. If the Cowboys missed the playoffs, it would be their third straight year doing so.

It's also worth noting that Orton is a pretty serious backup. He could be the highest paid and most accomplished backup quarterback in the entire NFL. Going aggressively after Orton sent a message larger than any words from Jones or Aikman.

We don't think Romo should necessarily be under the gun. He is a top 10 NFL quarterback and is low on the list of reasons the team has fallen short of expectations. That might be a tough argument for Jones to make, however, if the Cowboys struggle in 2012.

Romo is no longer a young, rising quarterback. He's closer to the end of his prime than the beginning. That makes 2012 perhaps the most pressure-filled year of a pressure-filled career.

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