It is official. Tony Romo will not play this weekend in a play-in game against the Philadelphia Eagles. The Cowboys held hope for the undrafted veteran to overcome a miracle to play. But, Jason Garrett finally announced that Romo is out for the rest of the season. With the news, Kyle Orton will be Dallas’ starter for their biggest game of the season.
Obviously, Kyle Orton is not the same player as Tony Romo. Orton does not have Romo’s ability to escape the pocket. But, Orton can zip the ball and make all the necessary throws to win a football game. For all of the people who dislike Tony Romo out there, watching this game will provide a reasoning how important Romo is to this football team.
The injury bug has hit Dallas real hard throughout the season. In fact, the bug has hit their best player and has sidelined him for the rest of the year. It is remarkable that the Cowboys are in a spot to win the division even with all of the injuries they have sustained. The Cowboys still have the playmakers to win a football game of this magnitude.
Below is a gameplan that can help the Cowboys win this game:
1. Run the football
I cannot explain enough how much Murray means to this offense. Murray is an interesting back because he’s a bruiser but also has excellent vision. He is also patient, meaning he waits for holes to develop from his blockers. Running the football not only takes up time, but it is very effective with Murray in the backfield. In their last meeting, Murray did not play. He can make his presence felt if he gets the enough carries in the game.
2. Do not shorten the playbook
Many believe that Dallas will not use any many plays with Orton, as they would with Romo. This may hurt the Cowboys because Orton is not new to this playbook. Also, it is believed that Orton has more arm strength than Romo. Like Romo, Orton is a risk-taker. In a game that could turn into a shootout, the Cowboys cannot afford to not let Orton loose.
Let your playmakers make plays for you. This saying is very crucial for this offense to have success. If Bryant can get the football in his hands at least a dozen times, this offense will be able to ride him for success. It is no secret that Bryant is one of the best receivers in all of the NFL. But what is even more special is what he can do after the catch. With dazzling speed and elite athletic ability, Bryant can single-handedly make a big play for this team. With the more opportunities he gets, there is a higher chance for this offense to move the ball.
4. Be risky
The Eagles are going to put up a ton of points in this game. Their offense is much different and much better from their previous meeting in Philly. This is why the Cowboys must go for it on fourth down. Field goals are great. But, they may need to score touchdowns to win this game. Think back to their games with Denver and Green Bay. When you play a high-scoring offense, you need to score as many points as you can. Seven points is much better and much more effective than three points.
5. Get pressure on Nick Foles
In the last meeting, the Cowboys got “natural” pressure on Nick Foles. Foles looked delirious, and he had his worst outing of his NFL career. Foles is a pocket-passer, but he can move outside of the pocket if needed. Natural pressure is pressure by not bringing extra rushers. This is very important for the Cowboys. Although DeMarcus Ware has had an awful year, Ware can salvage this opportunity to overcome the obstacles he has faced all year. The Cowboys need to get a few sacks on Foles to create some stops on defense.
6. Use the dime package
This defense has not gotten a lot of stops with all of the injuries. But in the last drive against the Redskins last week, the Cowboys used their dime package on every play. The package looked like it was clicking on all cylinders. The Cowboys are getting the best out of DeVonte Holloman at linebacker, utilizing his ability to cover receivers is important for him because that is what he can do in the dime package. This package should be used until it does not work.
7. Win the special teams battle
If there is a unit where the Cowboys have an advantage, it is special teams. With the return of Dwayne Harris, the Cowboys have gotten their best all-around special teams player. Harris makes a difference in the return game, as well as tackling opposing returners. In my previous article, I predicted a return for a touchdown in this game. That is just how explosive Dwayne Harris is. He is an unsung hero and a big-time difference maker for this team.