Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo tweeted in amazing fashion his claim that the Cowboys are certainly not ready to fold up the 2015 season. Can you really blame Mr. Romo for his somewhat unrealistic aspirations? I sure don't think they're too far-fetched by any means.
Look, it has certainly been a dismal eight weeks since Romo went down with his fractured clavicle. It has been a disappointing season that started with high aspirations. The Cowboys at least hoped for a few wins with their backup quarterbacks but what they got was a seven-game skid and a ton of searching souls. Though the majority of Cowboys fans are trying their best to temper expectations, the everlasting optimist is here with some more Kool-Aid.
Missing Tony Romo has not been the only problem this team has had but here's why he will make a huge difference in the way this season plays out.
1. Backups Are Backups, If They Weren't, They'd Be Starters.
What we have learned is that the Cowboys probably never had a backup on this roster that was as serviceable as Jon Kitna was in 2010. Tony Romo is an elite quarterback and has been for quite some time. Trey Wingo was on the money when he tweeted the following:
How important is @tonyromo? Since he became starter in 2006 they win 62% of his starts only 27% of games he misses, 9 straight losses— trey wingo (@wingoz) November 18, 2015
I could not agree more with this little stat line and numbers don't tend to lie very often. The Cowboys for better or worse are set-up around their quarterback but which teams aren't? You think the Green Bay Packers would be lighting it up without Aaron Rodgers under center? They've struggled as of late even with perhaps the best quarterback in the league. Unfortunately, we have come face to face with this truth seemingly every Sunday night. Matt Cassel can make plays, and he has won games in this league, but he's not capable of orchestrating this offense with consistency. When the Cowboys have number nine, they always have a chance to win. Where Tony Romo can see the whole field and extend plays, Cassel has limited quarterback vision and is what he is at this point. The Cowboys were 2-0 with Tony Romo, he's good for at least a handful of plays that Cassel could never make. Romo has 29 game-winning drives in his career, there's a pretty good chance that with him, we would be talking about a completely different team the last eight weeks. However, maybe it's time to go draft a solid passer to groom behind Romo.
2. Romo Can Revive The Defense
One of the more disappointing aspects of this Cowboys' team has been their inconsistent play on the defensive side of the ball. They have had a really tough time closing out games and it can't all be because Orlando Scandrick is on the shelf. Of course, these defensive players need to step up their game but Romo can disguise a lot of their weaknesses. There are plenty of issues to work out but the offense has vastly under-performed compared to the defense this season. The defense sans Tony Romo can hang their hat on the way they closed out a game against the Eagles in week two and how they kept the Seattle Seahawks to only 13 points. They also sacked the NFL's "Golden Boy" Tom Brady five times. As far as the offense has been concerned, other than the first half against Atlanta and a Sunday night rematch with the Eagles, they have been abysmal to watch. This past week, the Cowboys offense stalled and could never move the ball past the Tampa Bay 44-yard line. If the offense cannot score when Greg Hardy intercepts Russell Wilson at Seattle's 15-yard line, they have some problems. Tony Romo is not going to have a stalled offense that cannot take advantage of opportunities.
We can certainly look at the Cowboys' defense and talk about their lack of creating opportunities, too. If the defense can play a bit more aggressively knowing that they have a capable elite level quarterback taking the field, I would bet those takeaway numbers increase. I would wager the entire defense sees significant improvements.
3. With Romo, Coaching Will Improve On All Sides Of The Ball
Probably the most frustrating lull of all has been the inability to get a consistent effort from all units on this team. If the defense is playing well, you can bet that the offense is going to stall. If the offense is doing well, the defense will struggle or special teams will give up a scoring return and vice versa. They just don't scare opposing teams one bit. If you look at all these games they have played without Romo, they seems to start their collapses in the third quarter. Suddenly, after half-time, they forget how to tackle, they get absolutely zero pressure on the quarterback and can't convert on offense. It's because they have been completely figured out and have not been able to make adjustments. A lot of this falls on the shoulders of the coaches but players have to execute. When you have a premier signal-caller like Romo, he knows how to adjust to the feel of the game and he will scare coordinators. He will change out of bad plays and convert on needed third downs, he will make things happen. May I remind you of 2012? Remember when Tony Romo could be seen running out to the defensive huddle and alerting the guys that Drew Brees was going to try and draw them offsides? What happened next? Oh, the Saints tried and failed because the defense wouldn't move. Tony Romo sees everything and has played even better with his advancing age. He just knows that anything is possible and his teammates believe in him. Not only will the play on the field get better but these coaches will be better because they have their leader on the field.
Winning seven games in a row is going to be a tall task for a struggling team like the Cowboys. Yet, they have been well within striking distance in every game without Romo except one trouncing by the defending world champions. Their average deficit in points is less than a touchdown. This is a Cowboys' team that needs their leader to come back and pull off a miracle. The Cowboys went on a 6-0 run last season, what's one more game? Heck, with the way this division has gone, they may still have cushion. Is anybody really convinced that if Romo never went down, this team wouldn't be running away with the division. So call me a lunatic or whatever you will. I've seen 29 game winning drives, there is no better closer in the National Football League than Tony Romo.
"I understand what it’s like when you have had a losing streak like we’ve had. It’s tough. It’s tough to know," Romo said. "But I think the guys understand where we’re at. I think they also understand that the season is not over. It’s far from it."