Monday, December 16, 2013

Dallas' December Blues are Bigger than Tony Romo

It's almost cliche to blame Tony Romo for the Cowboys' woes in December. I've done my share of criticism. The best quarterback my team has had since Troy Aikman but he walks with self-inflicted bullet holes in shoes.

This year, though, we need to be honest. Romo has not been the only reason the Cowboys are treading water. Forget all those December stats on Tony Romo, these are some stats that matter.
And that was before Sunday's game. The Cowboys allowed 51 points to Denver, 49 points to New Orleans and 45 points vs. Chicago. Denver and Chicago failed to punt the whole game. They allowed 329 receiving yards to Calvin Johnson despite creating four Lions turnovers. Now they blew a 23-point halftime lead vs. Green Bay at home, who didn't punt in the second half.

That's not on Romo. Unless he plays linebacker, cornerback or safety and last I checked, he didn't. This defense made two backup quarterbacks look very good with a very good corps of WRs.

I've said it on Twitter but defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin needs to politely fall on the sword. I saw him struggle his last year at USC and while Dallas has forced more turnovers, they've been burned more often than garlic bread at my house. The man that helped create the famed "Tampa 2" defense is finding out that his beloved scheme is losing its effectiveness in today's NFL.

Here's another stat you can't blame on Romo.
I watched DeMarco Murray get off to a great start against Chicago. He had another 100+ yard day against Green Bay but only had 18 carries. How do you have a big lead and not give Murray the ball more to chew clock and wear out a defense that clearly wasn't stopping him?

That's on offensive coordinator Bill Callahan. If you don't want Romo to make poor decisions late, don't put him in position to do so by throwing the ball with a big lead. This isn't the run-and-shoot offense. Run the ball and keep doing it until they stop you or you have to pass.

I'm not apologizing for Romo. But it bears mentioning Romo's two interceptions were 1) a bad throw behind the target, 2) the result of the WR not finishing his route and letting his defender dive for the ball. One was his fault, the other was because Cole Beasley gave up.

His passer rating is 3rd best among QB's who have thrown over 500 passes and he's only thrown nine interceptions. But it's when those interceptions happen that people remember and usually they come at bad times to overshadow the good he did beforehand. This I know all too well.

All I'm saying, though, is look beyond the simple narrative. The Cowboys have bigger problems than No. 9 and until they solve them, the December blues will continue being a familiar song.

(P.S. I have no problem with Dez Bryant leaving the field. If anything's clear this year, Dez cares about winning as much as anybody and I know he was sick seeing that collapse after another great effort. He will grow from this season personally and learn to battle his emotions but I don't question his ability to handle adversity. Not after what he's been through in his personal life.)

1 comment:

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