Is Dallas Cowboy's Coach Jason Garrett Romo Friendly?

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Dec 23, 2012; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo (9) talks with head coach Jason Garrett during a time out in the fourth quarter of the game against the New Orleans Saints at Cowboys Stadium. The Saints beat the Cowboys 34-31 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

On the surface, it seems that Cowboy’s head coach, Jason Garrett and QB, Tony Romo, are a match made in heaven.  After all, Garrett played the QB position for the Cowboys, as a backup, for 8 seasons.  When Garrett retired as a player and went into coaching, surely he would be a QB friendly coach.

Based on early results after Garrett set up shop as the Cowboys offensive coordinator and the Cowboys were the #2 offense in the NFL, every indication is that he is a QB – and passing offense- friendly coach.  Tony Romo stats were and continue to be ridiculously prolific, despite not translating to playoff success.  Seems the evidence points to Garrett being good for Romo and (or) vice versa.

But – in my opinion – watching the games over the years, something is off.  I really haven’t been able to figure it all out yet, but it seems to involve the execution of the passing game.  And it’s not all that obvious.

Yea, I know, I must be crazy, or a ridiculous nit-picker, right?  Romo’s stats are gaudy and Garrett’s offenses are top 10 every year, so whats the problem?  If we leave well enough alone, both their careers will be backed by fat stats, sure, but to what end?

Many times I’ve commented on how you could set carnival music to the flow of a typical Cowboys offensive series.  Many positive plays seem to happen in spite of the play called rather than because of it. Couple that with the strong argument that Tony Romo looks best when the play breaks down and he has to improvise.  Why is that?  If all the forgoing is true, if broken plays work better than called plays, then what is the point of the Cowboy’s offensive game plan?

Nov 4, 2012; Atlanta, GA, USA; Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo (9) tries to escape pressure from Atlanta Falcons defenders during the first half at the Georgia Dome. Mandatory Credit: Josh D. Weiss-USA TODAY Sports

Those broken plays and Tony Romo’s improvisational skills make for exciting – even good – football.  Romo’s skill set is fun to watch (until it isn’t, as I’ve said many times) and Cowboys owner and GM, Jerry Jones knows this.  He knows that fans come to watch Romo play QB.  They should be coming to see the Cowboys dominate and win all the time, but the Cowboys don’t dominate and win all the time, so they still come to see Romo.

You can try to tell me all day long the fans come to watch TE, Jason Witten, run seamless routes or set great blocks (or get called for offsides a couple times a game) or to watch DeMarcus Ware sack the opponents QB or Jay Ratliff get emotional or  Sean Lee and DeMarco Murray get injured. They don’t.  They don’t because the forward pass is always the reason the fans watch modern football and Tony Romo is pretty good at that.

Romo is good at it and, in turn, Jason Garrett must be good at organizing and planning it all. So why, then, does it look like a train wreck so often?  Is the fact that the receivers, including Miles Austin (when healthy), can’t run the timing routes in the same way Romo thinks they will an indicator that Romo isn’t running the play right or the receivers aren’t?  Is it Garrett’s playbook?  Why does it seem that when former backup QB, Jon Kitna, or current backup, Kyle Orton, in limited time, run a smoother – tho less prolific – offense?

What Jon Kitna and Kyle Orton have in common, by the time they came to Dallas anyway, is that they are both rather good bus drivers.  Kinda like Jason Garrett was when he played.  Tony Romo will never be accused (hopefully) of being a bus driver.

Am I on to something here?

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