The Dallas Cowboys will start the season without three of their defensive starters. With a young and a shaky defense, Tony Romo will have to carry the team.
He’s a top-10 quarterbacks in the NFL, and one of the best in Cowboys history, yet quarterback Tony Romo has never been past the second round of the playoffs, let alone won a Super Bowl.
That’s not all of his fault, however.
For a quarterback with his talent, it’s a shame the Cowboys organization never equipped Romo with all of the tools needed to carry a team to the Super Bowl. Before anyone tells me I don’t know what I’m talking about, allow me to explain myself…
Since Romo became the starting quarterback midway through the 2006 season, the talented signal caller has only had one good head coach, Bill Parcells. Forget about Wade Phillips and current head coach Jason Garrett.
Phillips and Garrett couldn’t lead a pack of ants at a family picnic to an unattended baloney sandwich.
Romo was surrounded with talented teammates in ’07, but Phillips was out coached and upset by the New York Giants in the playoffs. In only this case, Romo had help at every position on both sides of the ball.
Sadly, there was no coach in sight.
Sorry, Wade, but a defensive coordinator disguised as a head coach doesn’t cut it in this league.
As we all know, it was all for nothing that season. Even though Romo led the Cowboys to a 13-3 record, homefield advantage in the playoffs, a divisional title, and led Dallas to several come from behind victories.
Of course, Romo wore that loss on his chest like a tattoo, although it wasn’t his fault for the heartbreaking loss.
Disappointments like this would be Romo’s calling card over the next several seasons, something that would brand the former undrafted free agent like a birth mark. Like I stated before, it’s not all of his fault.
His owner can’t find a competent head coach or find a blue print to consistently win.
Romo has always carried the burden for the Cowboys, win, lose, or draw. It’ll be no different this upcoming season as the Cowboys are loaded on the offensive side of the ball, but mediocre on the defensive side.
This means Romo will have to throw on his cape and find ways to win games when the defense isn’t playing up to par. Or to put it simply, getting whipped badly because the defense can’t stop anyone.
It’ll force Romo to pass more, throwing the ball 40-45 at times because the Cowboys will find themselves in a shootout. I’m aware of dynamic rookie running back Ezekiel Elliott carrying the rock and improving the offense.
In reality, Elliott isn’t expected to carry the team, that’s Romo’s job. The veteran quarterback is expected to come out and score points and make up for any deficiencies on defense.
In games where there is a shootout, Romo will do his best Brett Favre impersonation and throw for five touchdowns, 500 yards, and 3 interceptions.
The Cowboys might win some of those games. In the losses, however, you can bet Romo went beyond the call of duty trying to win the game by forcing the ball into tight coverage and resulting in costly interceptions.
I don’t blame Romo for exerting his will to win the game by any means necessary, regardless of how many interceptions he throws. The blame goes to Garrett and the organization, and especially Jerry Jones, for not having an all-around better team for Romo.
The Cowboys defense has been mediocre at best for several seasons. Year in and year out Romo has had to score a bunch of points and sacrifice his body even more because the defense couldn’t stop the opposing team.
Does anyone remember three straight years of season finale losses to divisional rivals?
It was either a failed pass rush, an ineffective secondary, or a significant injuries to key players that doomed those teams. Romo had to find ways to win the game, even if it meant completing a pass to a receiver blanketed by three defenders.
What other options did Romo have? Options have always been an issue from an organizational standpoint.
One of the options is a good head coach.
Jason Garrett proved last year he didn’t know how to game plan and win with backup quarterbacks when the NFC East was winnable until the end. The NFC East has never been that weak. The Cowboys were still in the race to win the division as late as week 12.
The Pop Warner football league was better than the NFC East.
With a weak division, Garrett could only muster four wins, and in three of those wins, Romo started the game at quarterback. That’s all you need to know about Garrett’s coaching abilities.
The reality is that Jerry Jones and family have never given Romo the all-around support he deserves. It’s that simple. Yes, there have been years where the talent is there but the coaching was nonexistent.
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Or maybe the Cowboys will have a good coach and players in place but then lose the coach to retirement, like Parcells.
The Cowboys have talent on its current roster, but three of its most productive defensive starters are starting the season suspended.
For whatever reason, there is always key pieces missing from the puzzle and that has EVERYTHING to do with the front office and NOTHING to do with the QB.
I’ve never witnessed a top-10 quarterback in the NFL get less support from his organization like Romo. That’s a sad reality for a really good quarterback.
The top signal callers in the NFL don’t have this issue. I’ll name a few: Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Cam Newton, Drew Brees, Phillip Rivers, Eli Manning, Ben Roethlisberger, Russell Wilson, and Joe Flacco.
It’s embarrassing that he has more fourth quarter comebacks than any of them since 2011.
I chose those quarterbacks because Romo is as good as most of them, and all of these signal callers have either won a Super Bowl or participated in one (except Rivers).
The only difference between those quarterbacks and Romo is that they usually had a better supporting cast, every year in some cases.
If Romo played on any of those teams, the former undrafted walk-on would have won a Super Bowl ring and been patiently awaiting for his introduction into the Hall of Fame.
Instead, Romo wears an anchor around his neck as the quarterback of America’s Team with the expectation to win the Lombardi trophy every year despite inept coaching and invisible players.
That’s a heavy burden for any quarterback to bear.
Once again, Romo has to carry it.