FanPost

Inconsistency is not the sum of the problem; it is the product of the players.

The Dallas Cowboys are 3-4, just as they were at this point in 2011. Questions regarding the coaching have engulfed the team. The General Manager/Owner is once again hearing the displeasure of the fans. Coming off of a four interception performance, and only three games removed from a five interception game (against the Bears), news of Tony Romo receiving a 5-year extension (Tony is currently 32 years old) in the very near future may send many of the fans into a shark-like feeding frenzy.

But for a moment, assume that those in charge of the football operations at Valley Ranch have a great deal of experience, insight into the team that fans do not possess, and an intimate knowledge of the game of football. For some, this assumption may be too much to accept: for others, it may be reasonable.

For those that cannot accept the afore mentioned construct, please stop reading.

Please redirect:

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/855960-dallas-cowboys-cheerleaders-best-pics-of-the-leagues-hottest-squad

Quick aside:

Believe it or not, a study conducted at rock concerts showed that violence among males attending those concerts significantly decreased when images of breasts were shown on the video screens around the stage.

Hopefully, that link has a similar effect.

Welcome back.

Last season, Tony Romo had one of the best decision making scores through advanced statistics in the NFL. Considering that Romo had the highest yards per attempt (8.02) of any other quarterback at the top of the list, it was remarkable for a gun-slinging quarterback to have such a good decision making score.

Romo had a passer rating of 102.5 in 2011. Tony's lowest passer rating in any season that he has thrown a pass has been 91.4: his career passer rating is currently a 95.1.

This season, however, Romo's mistakes have far outweighed his success. Tony has a passer rating of 78.8 in 2012, having thrown three more interceptions than any other quarterback in the NFL.

This violent drop-off in performance begs the questions:

Have Romo's quarterbacking skills deteriorated, signifying the beginning of the end for Tony?

Is Tony a good quarterback having a bad season?

The fact that the decision makers at Valley Ranch are working on extending Tony's contract for another five years prompts the latter question as an answer. But then why is Romo having a bad season?

Comparing player performances from 2011 to 2012, with the 2012 numbers projected through a full 16 game schedule yields interesting results.

Player (2012)

Receptions

Targets

Yards

Rushes

Yards

TD's

Miles Austin

78

133

1282

0

0

9

Dez Bryant

94

142

1115

0

0

5

Jason Witten

117

165

1113

0

0

2

Felix Jones

27

43

254

112

384

5

DeMarco Murray

39

41

270

171

754

2

Kevin Ogletree

48

87

567

5

21

5

Total

402

610

4601

288

1159

27

Player (2011)

Receptions

Targets

Yards

Rushes

Yards

TD's

Miles Austin

43

73

579

7

Dez Bryant

63

103

928

9

Jason Witten

79

117

942

5

Felix Jones

33

45

221

127

575

1

DeMarco Murray

26

35

183

164

897

2

Laurent Robinson

54

81

858

11

Total

298

454

3711

291

1472

35

Romo attempted 522 passes in 2011, but is on pace to pass 647 times this season. Only Brees, Stafford, Rodgers, and Luck are on pace to attempt more passes in 2012. Also of note is that despite having roughly the same amount of rushing attempts, the Cowboys top two backs are on pace to gain 313 fewer yards rushing in 2012.

But the running backs are on track to score four more touchdowns this season than last season. Only Miles Austin is on track to meet his touchdown production from 2011 in the receiving corps. Dez Bryant (-4), Jason Witten (-3), and the third wide receiver (Ogletree [-6] vs Robinson) are on track to account for 13 fewer touchdown receptions in 2012. Jason Witten was mostly healthy last season, and was severely limited for the first three games of 2012, so his production may rise correspondingly. The same cannot be expected from Bryant and Ogletree.

Dez has been wildly inconsistent this season. Call it growing pains, as his production will improve by 10% in yardage and 20% in receptions, but his poor route running and untimely drops have been well documented. Dez also leads all of the wide receivers in penalties this season.

But Dez is not the only wildly inconsistent player on this team. Ogletree was much ballyhooed after the opener (8-114, 2TD's). Over the next 6 games, Kevin has caught only 13 passes despite being targeted 27 times, for only 134 yards.

Felix Jones is on track to score 5 touchdowns this season, but will probably not have the opportunity to do so. Felix is averaging but 3.4 yards per carry. The current NFL average per carry is 4.2. Jones will probably receive significantly fewer carries after Murray returns to the lineup.

Doug Free has accumulated 9 accepted penalties through the first seven games and struggled in his blocking assignments. In fairness, only Nate Livings has been adequate along the offensive line. Tyron Smith has struggled, and Phil Costa, while brilliant in his brief play, has been injured for most of the season. Cook is inconsistent, while Bernadeau has been disappointing, and is probably influencing some of the poor play from Free.

Offensively, only Austin and Witten have demonstrated consistency, and in the case of the latter, only over the last three games. Returning to the premise that Romo is not primarily considered the problem by the decision makers at Valley Ranch, the arrow now points firmly at Bryant, Ogletree, Jones, and four-fifths of the offensive line.

Those players should be approaching or in the prime of their careers. Dez is in his third season, Ogletree is in his fourth season, and Jones is in his fifth season. The Cowboys should be able to rely upon these players, but their undependability is fatally hurting this team.

Despite the endorsement by the Cowboys administration, however, Romo is not completely free of blame. Tony is still a gunslinger by nature. He is capable of making sound decisions, as last season (and past seasons) demonstrated, but he will still take chances.

When Romo takes a chance on a predictable player, there is only minimal risk: corresponding directly to that of Tony's decision making. Romo has targeted the normally dependable Austin and Witten on 44% of his throws. Unfortunately, 41% of Tony's tosses have been directed to Dez Bryant, Kevin Ogletree, and Felix Jones.

If Dez's poor route running and the subsequent interceptions are included in the passer rating to each receiver, the results speak for themselves:

Player (2012)

Receptions

Targets

Yards

INT's

TD's

Passer rating per receiver

Miles Austin

34

58

561

2

4

99.86

Dez Bryant

41

62

488

4

2

73.86

Jason Witten

51

72

487

2

1

82.35

Felix Jones

12

19

111

1

0

57.13

DeMarco Murray

17

18

118

0

0

93.99

Kevin Ogletree

21

38

248

4

2

53.29

Total

176

267

2013

13

9

79.38

Only Witten, Austin, and Murray have receiver ratings higher than Romo's 79.38 passer rating to his top targets. Tony has thrown 8 interceptions when targeting Ogletree, or when Bryant makes an error on running a route. That is an interception percentage per pass attempt of 8% to those two wide receivers.

To Witten, Austin, and Murray, Romo's interception percentage is a paltry 2.7%. This number is more in-line with Tony's career interception percentage coming into the season, 2.8%. Therefore, that can be considered the baseline in regards to Romo's decision making. About one of every 37 passes thrown to reliable targets will result in an interception.

Include the two fumbles from Felix, as well as the fumble from Dez on a punt return, and plays involving Ogletree, Bryant and Jones constitute 11 of the 19 Cowboys turnovers. While Garrett continues to address ball security as a function of the team, there are really only three primary culprits.

Dez has already seen his punt return duties diminished. Considering that Kevin Ogletree and Felix Jones are not producing at a level anywhere near Dez Bryant, expect their roles to diminish sooner rather than later.

Another user-created commentary provided by a BTB reader.

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