Rob Ryan... You must be smiling....
After the terrible performance last night, we have many questions going forward, what's wrong with Romo, what's wrong with the play calling, or as Bart Scott once referenced about the Pats... This D can't stop a nose bleed, no Bart, you got mixed up with the teams when you made that statement. I'm going to dig up some history notes to offer what I feel like is the reason this team, well, frankly is mediocre. Like everything with the Dallas Cowboys, this will be centered around our beloved #9, the man we defend through thick and thin.
We can remember that game like it was yesterday, Cowboys driving at the end of the half, near the end zone and Bledsoe makes a bad decision and it's picked off, and we all remember that feeling.... Michelle Tofaya saying "I spoke to a Parcells and he said Romo... Get ready". It was an era of hope, this goofy looking QB who played with no fear slinging the ball around making magical plays and avoiding sacks. I'm sure you guys all have seen that YouTube video of it with that magical music and shows how the year started and than he fumbled the FG snap at the end.... Poor guy, just can never catch a break and has gotten the blame always.
I've pulled up some stats at Pro Football Reference, since 2006, the start of his playing career, the Cowboys have made the playoffs 3 times. Out of those 3 times, the defense was top 15 in Points Allowed. All the other years have been more in the mid 20s among points allowed. Yet offensively speaking, every year this team has been top 15 in points scored and yardage. Is it a coincidence that the only times this team has made the playoffs under the Romo Era we've had a better than average defense? I think not. Now that we've somewhat gathered some data that Romo simply can't do it on his own, and some stats to back it up, I want to take this in a couple different directions.
Firstly, I want to make a suggestion based on the evidence I've somewhat gathered. Tony Romo is a media scapegoat, he's always the one at fault, and he's always the one at blame, because he is the quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys. Since us fans went through quarterback hell post Aikman, we anointed Romo as our savior, and rightfully so. He's given us hope and inspiration that better things were to come, but is it possible that we've been blinded by the truth? The reason I pulled those stats were for this reason, it's clear that Romo doesn't have the capability to do it himself, evidenced by the only times we've made the playoffs... Is when we've had a good defense. Which suggests one of two things, Romo isn't elite, can't elevate a team, or is average and needs a defense.
Lets look at the recent SB winners, Ravens, Giants, Packers, Saints, Steelers, Giants, Colts, so on and so forth. There are two common factors when you look at SB winning teams.... It usually involves an elite QB, And either a good defense or an opportunistic defense (Saints, Colts). The Dallas Cowboys currently have neither, slightly opportunistic but not when your giving 600 yards a game it doesn't even matter when you win the turnover battle +4. It is also starting to become rather clear that Tony Romo is not elite and never was and frankly, never will.
The glory years for Romo in company have passed. The best team was in 2007 when we lost to the Giants and we had TO praising "that's my quarterback". And at this point you may be asking yourself, Where Are You going with this?
Here is where I am going. Tony Romo and this offense are not good enough to be a contender and make a push. Whoever you want to blame, coordinators, coaches, players, etc. The one constant with this team is Tony Romo, coaches come and go, but at the end of the day, IT'S HIM who makes the throw. I mean you think is Bill Callahan was Payton Mannings coordinator he wouldn't be good? There was an excellent post today about Romo making the wrong decision when guys were open, the Denver game everyone says the guy stepped on his foot, or how about Demarco Murray wide open? The depressing part is this, I love Tony Romo, I love Ware and Witten. But the prime years have passed. It's pretty clear that Romo is starting to depreciate, and this will be another ugly contract. Romo has input in the game plan, Romo makes audibles, how come he never gets accountability for the decision making, why's it always Callahan and Garret making the wrong call and terrible play calling. So many stats about how elite Romo is and all this 4th quarter QB rating is the best in the league and all this.... But who ya kidding here? At some point enough is enough, and when he can never lead this team and throws a gut wrenching Int there comes a time when we got to face reality. Tony Romo is the heart break to this team, he gives us so much hope only to have it crash down, and it's because he lacks that's killer instinct. It used to be there, there used to be a time when he got the ball with one drive left to win the game, I knew he would do it. Unfortunately now, I see a man who is scared to take the chance, a man who has been ravaged and blamed for all the teams failures, and I honestly feel bad for him.
I acknowledge that without him this team would be even worse, and he is the only hope we got. "But hope is a dangerous thing, it can drive a man crazy" ~ Shawshank. There's just so much defending we can do, there's not a person here who can say they are confident he can lead a drive at the end with the game on the line. He's become terribly inconsistent, not making the right reads, afraid to take chances in case it's picked off, although last game NO dropped more than a couple. He used to be this young kid who had nothing to lose and played like it was always his last game... That man is gone.
The more depressing part is this, by the time this defense can manage to get good again, Romo will really be done and we will be on the hunt for a new QB. And what's more depressing? Is knowing that Romo will be here for another 2-3 years, so we won't be bad enough and won't be good enough, just 8-8 like usual. But even more, is knowing will be in this same spot for another 3 years only to have to really suck and rebuild when we don't have a QB.
Tony, you gave us hope, you deserved better, you've had an unfair time here, as much heartbreak as you gave us.... I wouldn't change a thing!
But the times aren't gonna get any better!