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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Tags: Dallas Cowboys Jason Garrett Jerry Jones Tony Romo

  • SharksBreath

    I saw a stat that showed who the best 1st qt and 1st half offenses were. 7 out of 8 of the playoff teams were in the top 10.

    The cowboys were ranked in the bottom 3rd. What does that show. Playoff teams come ready to play and usually hand their defense a lead.

    Jason Garrett’s plan to start a game are usually pretty bad.

    • ‘mericas_team2013

      Well, what about the year before last(2011) when they would come out hot and fade out in the 3rd and 4th quarters? Your logic is good for last season(2012) but doesn’t fit the season before when they fell apart in the 2nd half.

  • ‘mericas_team2013

    I have been saying awhile that they need to game plan around what their players do well and don’t do well. Look at what Harbaugh was able to do with Alex Smith or Shannahan was able to do when RG3 went down and Cousins came in, even Andy Reid with McNabb, Kolb, Vick, and even Foles. These guys are all able to make the game plans around the strengths/weaknesses of their players. Garrett has had the same game plan since he came into the league throwing who ever is playing into it whether they fit or not, which is why it is now so predictable. You have seen how smooth the offense runs in the 2 minute/no huddle and that is because Romo is able to call the plays that fit him! The only stat that is needed to explain Garrett is Redzone Touch Down %, something that has been severely lacking since Garrett took over.

  • ctcowboy1968

    JG is a lousy HC and motivator. The team comes out flat almost every week. As for his game plans, they suck. He is predictable. He can not adjust. It’s as if he isn’t watching the game. He tries the same play time and again when it hasn’t worked. He continues to throw the ball when Detroit is beaten allowing them back in the game, when he should be running the clock out. He runs the ball with no success against defenses that are weak against the pass. He used to pass the ball out to Dez repeatedly while he was standing on the line. That play never worked. A WR’s, especially Dez, strength is getting the ball when his feet are moving. It’s really not that difficult. Understand the opponent’s strengths and weaknesses. Adjust during the game. Don’t give up on the run (sometimes hard to do with our awful OL) and become one dimensional. Stop being an idiot and a process robot.
    Be aggressive. Don’t let the last minute of the game tick away. Forcing your kicker to hit 50+ yard FGs. Get those extra 10 yards for an easier kick. After all these years, he still can’t manage the clock. And he can’t call the next play until there is only 10 seconds left on the play clock. The plays come in to slowly, allowing the DL to know exactly when the ball is being hiked.

    • Pounda

      This is the Cowboys problem in a nutshell. Along with the fact they have a haphazard drafting strategy infatuated with wide receivers and injury-prone athletes.

  • billy

    i think mostly whats wrong with the offense is about half the time they cant get a play off because of a penalty or having to call time out because they have taken too long in getting off a play or dez cant run his route correctly. thank god ogletree is gone he couldnt run the routes either. it seems they can hardly ever execute the offense because of a missed block or some other thing. they seem almost totally disorganized or out of sync except when they run the hurry up offense. i dont know the answer and i guess neither does garrett.

  • Texas-Writer

    I agree with many of the comments about Garret seeming to be out of touch with the game. It never hurts to be a little unpredictable, but his odd choices are predictable. Why run a double-reverse when you need two yards and your running game is working? The bad play choices and the bad offensive line have left Tony running for his life all the time.