If the Cowboys are to make the playoffs this season, Tony Romo will likely be the person most responsible for carrying the team to the tournament. Of course, the statistics do not support that hypothesis.
In wins, Romo has posted a passer rating of 89.7. In the Cowboys losses, however, Tony has a stellar rating of 110.7. That would suggest that Dallas wins despite average performances by the quarterback.
Of course, that isolated statistic could also mean that the rest of the team plays well in victories, reducing the organization's dependence upon the quarterback's performance. Considering that Romo has thrown six interceptions in the seven Cowboys victories, perhaps Romo takes more chances in the games Dallas wins.
As repeatedly mentioned on this site, statistics can be transformed to support almost any position. As a change of pace, this post will conspicuously omit statistics. I look forward to the feedback.
"Romo’s additional involvement, and I’m talking about in the actual preparation of the game plan — his early-week work — a part of that should have, and has, brought along a more sensitivity about protecting the ball and about the bad play," Jones said during a weekly segment with 105.3 The Fan in Dallas on Friday, via Carlos Mendez of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "And I think you’re seeing that at work."
Tony has always been a hard worker and spends many hours studying opponents. He has been portrayed many times as an intellectual player that delves deeply into the game within the game.
As a former athlete, there is no other trait that I admire more than the intellectual understanding of the athletic contest by an athlete. Without an in depth understanding of the multitude of intricate facets comprising the foundation of an individual sport, any athlete is limiting their potential.
Developing a profound comprehension of the athlete's respective sport has powerful positive impacts upon the level of consistent performance. With a cerebral approach the athlete can minimize the depth and frequency of the valleys experienced in competition. A cognitive reliance on the execution of a play, a move, or the tendencies of an opponent can raise a competitor's game to peak levels.
Unfortunately, there are two sides to every tack. With an increased reliance on the mental portion of the game comes the strong possibility of a decreased dependency upon instinct and talent. As most athletes will attest, balancing reaction with thoughtfulness is a difficult equilibrium to achieve.
An over reliance on cognitive directed performance frequently leads to a perceived decrease in speed. Since thinking about doing something before committing to completing the task is slower than just reacting and doing it, intellectually guided athletes often seem slower than their counterparts.
With Romo becoming engrossed in the mental portion of the sport, I wonder if he is experiencing a concurrent delay in processing his actions. His deliberate execution appears as a more conservative approach, passes that are slightly off target or late, and an overall dullness in his level of play.
When Tony relies on his instincts, however, performances such as that witnessed against Denver still occur. Long game winning drives result from Romo relying more on his instincts than on processing the plethora of information surrounding him. Defensive simplicity in those circumstances suit Romo's greatest assets.
There is a story that describes where Romo needs to develop:
"An artist approached a zen master and asked for his guidance in becoming an accomplished artist of landscapes. The zen master instructed the artist to leave the comfort of his village and live in the wilderness for several years. The master commanded the student to immerse himself in the smallest details surrounding him and study every leaf, branch, pebble, and pattern surrounding him. The zen master told him not to return for three years.
When the student returned brimming with knowledge, he anxiously awaited the master's next command. With the student ready to demonstrate everything that he had learned, the zen master flatly instructed, 'Now forget everything that you have learned and begin painting.'"
Adding more intellectual parts of the competitive puzzle to Romo's plate may lead to extraordinary results in the near future, but learning how to achieve the appropriate equilibrium between thought and action is Romo's greatest challenge. If Tony falls into the enticing alternative of intellectually over analyzing his every decision, he will struggle. Based on how Romo has progressed, however, I anticipate his career path will bring him closer to excellence.