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The Return Of Tony Romo Will Help The Cowboys Improve In Three Big Categories

The Cowboys took a big dive in some key statistical categories, but should see a big improvement just by getting Tony Romo back.

Dallas Cowboys v Miami Dolphins Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

It can be a challenge getting a sense of what type of football team the Dallas Cowboys will be when they take the field in 2016. When a team goes from 12-4 to 4-12 in just one season, it raises a lot of questions. If you ask a lot of fans, most of these questions can be answered by playing the "Tony Romo was injured" card. Is that just wishful thinking or do fans have a legitimate leg to stand on?

Recently, ESPN posted a stat that showed how Dallas suffered significantly in three important categories.

That’s terrible.

From these rankings, ESPN stated the Cowboys have nowhere to go but up. While this cliché has merit a lot of times, just because they’re at rock bottom doesn’t mean they can’t stay there. Dallas could turn right around and still be horrible in these categories if they aren’t able to make improvements. While they can’t get better overnight, the Cowboys could make a drastic jump in these areas by doing one thing, and one thing only – keep Tony Romo healthy.

Points per game, 17.2 (ranked 31st)

It doesn’t take a highly advanced crime scene investigation to see that the Cowboys performance at quarterback really hurt the team last year. The offense was just awful last year. Even in games where the defense kept doing their job getting off the field, the offense would just go out there and spin their tires. It was appalling at times. In the games against Seattle and Tampa Bay, the defense did everything you could expect from a defense, but the offense just couldn’t help them out. It is a really disappointing day for a fan if you don’t get to watch your team get into the end zone. The Cowboys had four games last year where they never scored a touchdown.

But that’s the 2015 Cowboys. The regular Cowboys aren’t like that at all. Don’t believe me? Well, the offense finished in the top five in points scored the previous two seasons. That’s way better than 31st. Rest assured, with Romo back behind center, it changes everything.

A healthy Romo means the Cowboys make a huge jump in this category.

Points per game differential, -6.2 (ranked 29th)

Well, this statistic goes together with the last one. If you look at the Cowboys defense, they were pretty consistent in points allowed over the last two seasons. They dropped from 22.1 (ranked 15th) in 2014 to 23.4 (ranked 16th) last season. That’s hardly noticeable. The issue clearly was the ineptitude of the offense, so a big change in points scored will have them soaring up this category.

Just to put this in perspective – if the Cowboys offense gets back on track and produces points similar to 2014 (28.4 pts/game) and allow the same amount of points they gave up last year (23.4), that would give them a point differential of +5.0 pts/game, which would have been good enough to finish 8th last year. And all seven of the teams that would have finished ahead of them, made the playoffs. Fix the offense, fix the team.

So it shouldn’t be a surprise that the Romo-led Cowboys finished 5th in this category in 2014 with a differential of +7.2 PPG.

A healthy Romo means the Cowboys make a huge jump in this category.

TO margin, -22 (dead last)

Many are aware of the drastic change of takeaways from the previous two seasons. After thieving 31 turnovers in 2014 (ranked 2nd), the Cowboys lost all ability to take the ball away and finished with a pathetic 11 takeaways (ranked 32nd). Finally, something that is the defenses fault, right? Well, sort of. There is no question that the defense needs to do a better job at taking the ball away, but this defense is still a work in progress. They weren’t that great in 2014 either when they were one of the best at taking the ball away. Having more opportunities will certainly help them improve and those chances will come when their offense gets back to their scoring ways.

But as much as I wanted to get the defense involved in this write-up, it again comes back to other side of the ball as well. The TO margin was aided further by a sloppy offense that gave the ball away 33 times (tied for worst in the league). The 22 interceptions last year was a big culprit in finishing last. That’s the side effect of shuffling through the incompetency of quarterbacks the Cowboys had last years. Tony Romo has had some struggles at certain points in his career, but it’s never gotten so bad to where he’s reached 20 interceptions in a year. Good quarterback play will reduce their interception totals.

A healthy Romo means the Cowboys make a huge jump in this category.

Dallas will be trying to get better in many areas, but just the addition of their playmaking quarterback will solve a lot of their problems. And just think of how relieved we’ll all be.