Let me start this off by saying I am a big Tony Romo lover and have defended him time and time again.
Now that we have that out of the way, let me also say that I am also extremely worried about Tony Romo and his back. He may be saying that his best football is still to come and people from the Dallas Cowboys may be saying that he’s 100% percent. But I’m not buying what any of them are selling, especially when he’s not practicing regularly during training camp. I’m sorry, but wasn’t this dude supposed to be full go?
Perhaps I’m overreacting. Maybe Romo and the Cowboys are just trying to be as smart and as cautious as possible. But this isn’t some random ankle injury and it isn’t when Romo was coming back from his broken clavicle in 2011. This is a back issue, which has been the beginning of the downfall for plenty of athletes. Romo clearly isn’t right yet and if this season hinges the hope that he will be right, then Dallas might not even get to 8-8.
For years, this team has been built in a way that puts a ton of pressure on Romo’s shoulders. With a bad offensive line and a mediocre to bad defense, it’s always been on Romo to make as many plays as possible. Sometimes even that isn’t enough because of all of the other holes that this team has had. Just looking at last season alone, the Cowboys needed Romo to be brilliant in all eight of their wins. He was great in most of their losses as well, even with the untimely interceptions. Most of those fourth quarter interceptions, such as the in the Broncos and Packers games, were because Romo was put in a position where he had to do way too much because his defense couldn’t get him a stop and the Cowboys refused to run the ball.
That can’t happen this year. I don’t think we’re going to be seeing the Romo that runs around the pocket to avoid pressure, escapes a sack and makes a throw that only a magician could. Romo won’t be as mobile or as quick on his feet after the back issues, so don’t expect to see as much of that as we used. With a good offensive line again, the Cowboys have kept saying that they plan to run the ball more with DeMarco Murray. But, can we really trust this team and offense to do that? Only time will tell.
But even with a better offensive line and a new approach on offense, there is still too much on Romo’s shoulders because of this defense. It’s hard to get any worse than how historically bad Dallas was on defense last year, but it’s still not like they’ll be good or even average this year. Sean Lee is already lost for the year and rookie Demarcus Lawrence is out for eight to 12 weeks because of a broken foot that was sustained on Tuesday. The Cowboys are banking on Bruce Carter and Morris Claiborne to take the next step and become stars at their respective positions. They are expecting Brandon Carr to finally show that he is worth the $50 million dollar contract they gave him a few offseasons ago, and they are banking on guys like Henry Melton and George Selvie to be dominant up front to replace Jason Hatcher and DeMarcus Ware. That all goes back to Mr. Jerry Jones for not being able to assemble a team with any depth at almost every position.
As the great Dirk Nowitzki once said, you can’t build a franchise on hope. But how does this relate back to Romo? Well, if the defense starts giving up points in bunches then we all know what’s going to happen to the running game that the Cowboys have talked up so much. It’s going to disappear and we won’t even know what hit us. That will leave it up to Romo to keep the Cowboys in the game.
Same song, same dance.
The Cowboys are still built in way that there will still be a heavy burden on Romo. At 34-years old and coming off a herniated disc that is a recipe for disaster. There’s so much that’s still up in the air with the quarterback and we still haven’t seen how he will respond to being hit in a real game situation yet. Plus, it’s a question mark as to whether Romo will be healthy for all 16 games. Are we really expecting Brandon Weeden to shoulder the same load that Romo does?
It seems that once again, the Cowboys will be depending on their quarterback to do way too much. And, this time, they are also depending on his health. Get ready for a 6-10, maybe 7-9 season, because that plan isn’t going to fly.