Is this Tony Romo or Jason Garrett? I can't tell
As we enter this quite period of the nfl off-season, there generally isn't too much news that will come out that we can analyze or speculate about. Last week may have been the last time in a while that we get to watch the players on the field or listen to the coaches answer questions about the team. There was a lot that we learned, on and off the field, but one specific matter really got me thinking.
There has been a great deal made out about the switch in offensive play callers, with Coach Garrett officially confirming that last Tuesday, which when compiled with many other actions by the front office this off-season, has left pundits from multiple media streams questioning whether Garrett still has control of the team and the locker room. As all of these reports rolled in last week, I came across one interview which has me holding a completely opposite belief.
By now, we are all aptly aware that quarterback Tony Romo has been sidelined through all of OTAs and minicamp. But Romo has definitely made his presence felt and, in a 20 minute interview last Tuesday, silenced any doubts I had about this team's allegiance to Garrett and the massive influence he has.
In the interview, Romo is asked a variety of questions, ranging from his health to the playcalling situation, but it wasn't his answers that intrigued me, it was the way he responded to them.
When asked about details and his opinion regarding the execution of the offense in the off-season:
"I don't want to get into the details about it, just from a competitive standpoint."
When asked about the play calling and game planning:
"It's a collective effort."
What I'm trying to show from this is that Romo is responding literally with the same words Garrett has been using all along. What was Garrett's excuse as to why the decision on play calling had not been said publicly earlier? Because he saw no competitive edge from releasing information out early. His response to what his role would be in the offense now? Everything is a collective effort and everyone has a great deal of input.
And not only is he using Garrett's words as his, but he's also answering questions in the vague way Garrett does and tries not to give away anything more than what's necessary. When he was questioned about whether the role of the no-huddle offense would be expanded:
"I think we'll be doing a lot of things that are going to help us this year, that you may or may not have seen before."
There are far more examples of this throughout the interview, but what I conclude from it is that Garrett has had a profound influence over Romo, the man who is undoubtedly the face of the franchise and who holds a large amount of influence in the locker room. Garrett has tried to mold Romo to become more like him and to think like him, and it seems that Romo has clearly accepted this mindset. When you as a coach have such a strong control over arguably your most important player, it leads me to believe that you can, and do, exert a strong control over the team as a whole.
Furthermore, Romo has become increasingly involved with the players on the field, critiquing and helping them execute their plays more effectively. He's been involved so much, that the players have begun to call him "Coach Romo". That's what you want to see from your "coach on the field".
When you assess the words that Romo has spoken, with the actions that he has taken, it's easy to see the impact that Coach Garrett has had on him. Things may change if the team starts losing games when the season starts, but as of right now, I don't believe anyone can question this team's loyalty and dedication to Jason Garrett.