At some point an NFL team has to make a decision on it’s quarterback and it’s season. Are we going to win this year or are we building for next year?? Is this our quarterback for the future or do we look to draft someone new?? Well after four weeks, Dallas Cowboy fans are up in arms over the play of Tony Romo and the team is mired with a 2-2 start. The interesting thing is the Cowboys were well ahead in each of their four games and collapsed late punctuated by interceptions from Romo. Yesterday’s game squarely landed on Romo’s shoulders with 2 of the interceptions being returned for touchdowns. Yet this year Romo has had his moments. The win on Monday Night last week was one where he willed his team to win amidst injuries and having to play with second string players.
Yet what happened to a balanced attack?? Do you realize the 2011 Cowboys have run 40% of the time and passed 60%?? See for yourself: http://www.pro-football-reference.com/teams/dal/2011.htm Show me when that was true during the Aikman era?? We looked already..so surprise us. So which is the player in Dallas wearing #9?? Is he the leader that emerged in weeks 2 & 3, or the one Hollywood Henderson labeled a choke artist for throwing straight to Darelle Revis to end game one? That’s before we get to yesterday’s outing.
To be frank, he’s both. He has come back from his injured season more of the leader brass envisioned when they let Terrell Owens go several years back. He has to be the man by virtue of the contract they presented him. It’s his team and his late interceptions cannot be excused. Everyone of those throws he’d want back. Yet at this time we have to take a step back and figure if he is the quarterback of the future for the Dallas Cowboys. Now when this season began we were critical of Romo’s attitude and leadership ability https://taylorblitztimes.wordpress.com/2011/06/08/2011-dallas-cowboys-preview/ and he’s grown in that realm. Now he has to work on not playing with nervous feet near the end of games. Is it all his fault?? He deserves alot of the blame.
Whatever happened to running out the clock to end games?? Everyone is up in arms that he is no Troy Aikman, yet short sighted fans don’t remember that those 90’s teams weren’t throwing at that point of the game for Aikman to throw any late game interceptions! Case and point: Remember the famous drive in Super Bowl XXVIII when the Cowboys took the lead on the Buffalo Bills, and they ran 8 straight times and Aikman didn’t throw one pass?? You can still hear Brad Sham on the highlight film “Smith for 7, Smith for 3, Smith for 8, Smith for 9…etc” Ask Jason Garrett because he was standing there signaling the calls in. Which brings us to the real issue…
While it is true that a coach is to put his players in the best possible situation to be successful, it’s also his job to put you in a position to minimize your chance at making mistakes. What is the number one thing that Hall of Famer Bill Walsh was lauded for when it came to game plans?? He would pass the football early and run late on a tired defense. Not only did the 49ers base a dynasty off that premise, so too did the 80’s Redskins, 90’s Cowboys and 00’s Patriots with Corey Dillon. So that’s 14 Super Bowl wins by dynasties in the modern era. How about the 2000 Ravens who won with rushing the football and Trent Dilfer?? They threw vertical routes and hooks because Dilfer threw terrible down the middle and made poor decisions on out routes. So Brian Billick called plays that were his strengths and didn’t ask him to do what were known weaknesses.
Now let’s cycle this back to the present situation in Dallas. We warned you when the Cowboys drafted DeMarco Murray and were going to get rid of Marion Barber that they were going to be a true passing team only. https://taylorblitztimes.wordpress.com/2011/06/08/2011-dallas-cowboys-preview/ Did we not? Where was the heft to blow the Lions off the ball when the score was closed down to 30-27?? You remember when Dallas was pinned to their own 3 yard line with 5:00 to go in the game. Funny, our CEO remembers the 1995 NFC Championship when the Packers had the Cowboys pinned to their own 1 and Emmitt romped them out of there. Yesterday?? Two paltry attempts that couldn’t gain 1 yard from Felix Jones. Critical time in the game to run out the clock and that’s all the Cowboys could muster?? This illustrates why on previous drives Romo was still passing when the team clearly needed to be running. Had they been running out the clock the game would have been over in Dallas. Continued passing stops the clock and allowed Detroit the chance to get back in the game. Albeit off of terrible throws by Romo, but he shouldn’t have been passing that late in the game. This was the death knell to the Run n Shoot as an offense over a decade and a half before!! Systemic factors that leave blame squarely on the shoulders of Coach Jason Garrett and Jerry Jones.
The hiring of Jason Garrett was one for us that wasn’t the best decision and it’s showing in the game plans he’s presenting and not masking team deficiencies well enough. In the first game against the Jets, it had been noted and discussed, how many injuries the Cowboys had to their defensive backfield. The Cowboys kept throwing and didn’t milk the clock to protect their struggling with fatigue defense. Don’t you realize it’s those injuries and tiring defenders that make up the punt block team that allowed the punt to be blocked in the first place?? Coaches do!! Or should we say coaches are supposed to!! Romo and the team were in a panic by the time he threw his interception yet look at what set that up??
Its Garrett’s job to put his team in the best possible position to win and also to get word to player personnel (Jones) that he needs a running back to close games. He has to sell that to Cowboys brass just as he has to sell the gameplan to his players. What’s worse is he knows better. He was standing right there watching Emmitt Smith close all those games for the Dallas Cowboys. Many times during that era, Aikman wouldn’t even attempt a pass under 8:00 to go. So quit the Aikman / Romo comparisions because it shows a lack of football knowledge to all aspects of the game. Furthermore, as we watched the Cowboys offensive line not be able to create a hole or a push when they had the ball at their goal line illustrates something further. They aren’t even practicing true running plays enough. We keep using that sequence in our analysis because the team knew they needed to run and couldn’t do it. Moment of truth and they were knocked on their ass.
As for Romo, he has played better and will flirt with 5,000 yards passing this season because the Cowboys UNDER GARRETT will not run. Not in the traditional sense. Just tricky draws and screens and not enough power plays to weaken an opponents defense. Hence the Lions defense was still breathing fire in the 4th quarter… yet I digress: Romo has to take a sack or throw the ball away when the throw isn’t there. He is taking some chances and making some throws that have put the Cowboys well in front. He’s maturing into a leader yet has to stop short circuiting in the 4th quarter and it’s up to his coach and game plans to aid that. Some blame needs to be placed there. Cowboy fans want to scapegoat all of the losses to Tony Romo but forget he was the central reason they won games 2 and 3. So without him where would the Cowboys be?? They’d be 0-4. Throwing in a rookie next year isn’t saving the Cowboys either. We watched the demise of the run and shoot for these exact same factors. It’s systemic. Know your history. Our blame is landing on Garrett’s shoulders more than it lands on Romo’s. How much?? How about the 60/40 pass ratio from before…Garrett gets the 60%
Thanks for reading, feel free to comment and share the article.