Are The Dallas Cowboys Really ‘Romo Friendly’ ?


Back in 2009 when Jerry Jones cut Terrell Owens loose, he used the reasoning that he (actually, it was Stephen Jones) wanted to make the team more ‘Romo friendly’.

T.O. was a divisive influence in the locker room for sure, not straight out tumult like in Philly, but divisive just the same.  I understood the reasoning behind getting rid of him, but I still thought that we were better with T.O. than without him.

The next year it was Patrick Crayton, traded to the San Diego Chargers for like a 7th round pick.  Crayton tended to speak out and seemed to side with T.O. in locker room division.  Though Crayton played his last year in Dallas without T.O., it was too late in Jerry and Stephen’s minds because of his outspoken behavior.  He wore out his welcome.

In my opinion, Crayton cost us the playoff game against the New York Giants in 2007.  That being said, Patrick Crayton seemed to have a better knack than any other Dallas Cowboy, including Jason Witten, of getting Tony Romo’s attention when a play broke down.  Hard to replace that kind of chemistry.

Lets not forget about Roy Williams.  Jerry paid too much for him and traded away too much for him, thinking that Williams on one side and T.O. on the other, with Patrick Crayton in the slot, would be too much for opposing defenses.  Well, Roy could never get on the same page as Tony Romo.  Roy believed it to be Romo’s problem, not his own, mainly because he had experienced success ’til he got to Dallas.  Whatever the truth was, the Jones’ weren’t going to get rid of Romo.  With that fact and the emergence of Miles Austin, Roy Williams had to go.  This was a disaster from the start and long overdue.

Enter Dez Bryant.

No one was more excited than I when we traded up to grab Dez Bryant in the 2010 draft, and I’m not regretting it…yet.  Dez is a freakish talent who has the ability to dominate on every play.  He doesn’t though.  He seems to get lost – on routes and in whole games sometimes –  Whether its poor conditioning or poor route running, Dez Bryant is not the receiver the Dallas Cowboys need him to be.  Sometimes he makes spectacular catches that make Romo look great.  Sometimes he runs a slow or poor route and makes Tony Romo throw interceptions.  I truly hope that, this off-season, Dez turns a corner and gets a clue and becomes a pro.

Now lets talk about Sam Hurd.   Hurd caught his first NFL pass from Tony Romo, it was also Tony’s first completion in the NFL.  That’s not chemistry necessarily but a good connection.  Sam Hurd hosted a radio show with Romo for a while and on the field he caught what Tony threw.  Of course, the Cowboys let him go to the Chicago Bears.   Unfortunately, Sam Hurd was making other connections involving a different kind of chemistry while trying to become the next Al Capone.

Miles Austin had chemistry of sorts with Romo, but that was all lost at least in 2011.  Miles was hamstrung most of last year but wasn’t able to get on the same page with Romo.  Here’s to hoping that connection returns.  Who is left to talk about?  Jesse Holley and Kevin Ogletree.  Out of these two, Holley has a better connection with Romo, Ogletree has none (Guess what, we signed Ogletree.  really?).

Of all these Dallas Cowboys receivers, Robinson clearly has (had) the best connection with Tony Romo.  Laurent was the most ‘Romo friendly’.  He has been the only receiver since Patrick Crayton to have that – get open when the play breaks down – chemistry.  Do you think it was a coincidence that Tony Romo and Laurent Robinson both had their best years as pros when they were on the field together?  The Dallas Cowboys did not see this as enough reason to pay to keep him.  The Jacksonville Jaguars threw stupid money at Robinson hoping that he will have the same affect with Blaine Gabbert.  That is a 6 million dollar a year gamble, and Blaine Gabbert is no Tony Romo. (“Blaine! That’s not a name,  its a major appliance!”).  Good luck with that Jaguars.  I hope the best for Laurent, though,  he needed to take the best deal for his family.

This is where I may lose some of you.

The single best relationship and resulting chemistry on the Dallas Cowboys is Jason Witten and Tony Romo.  Maybe as long as that connection stays,  the Jones family considers that ‘Romo friendly’ enough.  Take Witten out of the game by scheme or whatever and then what?  There needs to be others that have a similar chemistry.  Of all the receivers that Tony Romo has thrown to over the years,  Laurent Robinson clearly had the best chemistry with Tony.  Next was Patrick Crayton.  After those two,  Miles Austin would be next, then T.O., then Sam Hurd, then Jesse Holley and I would say Roy Williams before Ogletree.

This is all in my opinion and the point being the Cowboys are disregarding a very important aspect to success.  Whether it’s a QB and his receivers or an offensive line, or a defense.  That aspect is Chemistry.

It seems like Jerry Jones doesn’t hold much value in chemistry, he must figure – your a pro, I’m paying you good money, there’s your chemistry -.  The Dallas Cowboys have, in the past, tried to assemble a group of all-stars.  It hasn’t worked.  Chemistry works, it can even trump talent in many cases.  The most important connection, in today’s or yesterdays NFL, is the quarterback and his receivers.   Tom Brady and Wes Welker;  Peyton Manning and Reggie Wayne;  Joe Montana and Jerry Rice;  Troy Aikman and Michael Irvin;  Roger Staubach and Drew Pearson.  The list goes on.  Lets hope that we can add Tony Romo and Dez Bryant or Miles Austin to that great list.   For a little while last year, I was thinking Tony Romo and Laurent Robinson.  That would have been very ‘Romo friendly’.

Artie Cappello

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