Dec 22, 2013; Landover, MD, USA; Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo (9) shouts instructions against the Washington Redskins during the first half at FedEx Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
Before his injury, Dallas Cowboys starting quarterback Tony Romo was having what most can arguably agree was arguably one of his best statistical seasons of his career. With one of his lowest total interception count at 10 for the 15 games he played, Romo haters are biting at the bit to find whatever flaws they still can with him. While Romo did not have an all-star season he kept it together and tried desperately to rally his team yet his team failed him last year. Romo finished his season early, however still managed in 15 games to throw 31 touchdowns for 3828 yards and a Quarterback Rating (QBR) of 96.7. With Romo coming off his second surgery in as many seasons on his back, it’s really time for the Cowboys to buckle down and start rallying around their starting quarterback. Here are some ideas I’ve come up with to show how this team can do that.
The coaching staff can help their team and quarterback succeed by just simply calling plays better. The coaching staff had a bad habit of abandoning the run last season with all sorts of excuses as to why they did so. The coaching staff also needs to manage the game and time clock better. Yes I realize that this falls on both the offense and the coaching staff but the coaching staff has really never figured this out the past few years. There are games, namely, the Denver Bronco’s game and the Kansas City Chiefs game that come to mind where better time management and more running the ball could have been wins for the Dallas Cowboys. Finally, the coaching staff can rally around its franchise quarterback by making adjustments at half time. I cannot tell you have infuriating it was as a fan last year when the Cowboys came out of a half time just to continue doing the same plays and playing with the same emotion they went into the half with. The NFL is a game of adjustments or a better term would be a mind game with the other team. Making adjustments at half time would benefit the entire team in the long run and keep the opposing team on their toes.
The Offensive Line
The offensive line was one of the major concerns coming into the 2013/2014 season but by the end of the season turned out to be one of the brighter and positive aspects of the Dallas Cowboys. They did allow 35 sacks for the season, which is down one from 2012/2013 in which the offensive line allowed 36 sacks. It’s a small improvement but the bigger picture was the offensive line did what was necessary to get by. What the offensive line needs to do going into next season is to continue to improve upon protecting Romo. The less pressure Romo feels the more time he has to set his feet and find his open targets. Along with this protection, the offensive line needs to continue to improve on their blocking to open up holes and aid the running back into positive yardage, which then in turn takes the pressure off Romo to continue to throw the ball. Finally, the offensive line needs to continue improving on reading and picking up blitzes.
The Rest of the Offense
The rest of the offense really needs to get their heads into the game. While the offensive line can protect all day, the receivers and tight ends really need to step up and do their part. It was frustrating last season to still see receivers and tight ends running incorrect routes which in turned caused a lot of 3 and out’s on the offensive side of the ball. It also seemed like a lot of receivers had the “short arm” disease. There were times players would not put their hands up and make passes that were able to be caught once again causing more 3 and out’s the Cowboys did not need. Finally, as much heat as receiver Dez Bryant received from the media and Cowboys fans on social media, the truth is as a fan I wish the rest of the team would show that hunger and emotion. If they want it, they need to be hungry for it. There is that lack of hunger with a core group of receivers and believe it or not, you have to want it bad enough to get it.
Finally we come to the defense. Yes the defense has been picked on and dragged through the mud but not without reason. The defense can rally around Romo by actually showing up on game day. There were a few games, we more than a few games that the defense looked like they were taking naps on the sidelines or forgot to board the plane. There were times they were lackluster and zombies and while we did have our share of injuries it’s not an excuse. The defense can also start getting more 3 and outs so that our offense gets back on the field quickly and the result of this is a worn down defense on the opposing side of the ball. The defense also needs to continue to force turnovers and give the offensive better field position thus insuring that the offense scores at least a field goal if not touchdowns.
It’s really quite simple when you break it down, if every aspect of the Dallas Cowboys pull together and rally around Romo, this team could be unstoppable. The puzzle pieces needs to fall together and Romo needs to stay healthy. It will be an interesting season coming up, as it always is!