Tony Romo signed a 7 year deal today worth well over $100 million, and a reported $55 million guaranteed. In 7 years, Romo will be 40 years old. It’s kind of pointless to comment on the financials of the deal until we know all the details, so let’s hold off on that for now.
Instead, let’s just talk about Romo the player (much of this is a re-post from my Cowboys’ offseason team needs post in February).
By now, we pretty much know what Tony Romo’s ceiling is. He could certainly play better if Jerry Jones actually put a half-decent offensive line in front of him, but in terms of skill-set, nobody is going to argue at this point in his career that his arrow is pointing up.
OK. With that caveat out of the way, I understand that Cowboys fans are frustrated by Romo’s penchant for blowing games in spectacular fashion, and I also understand that opposing fans love to revel in Romo’s worst moments. However, without Romo this past season, the Cowboys wouldn’t have even been competitive.
Let’s consider a few things:
• The Cowboys finished 31st in rushing yards this season.
Here were their rushing totals, by game:
The league average for rushing yards per game in 2012 was 115.9. The Cowboys failed to reach that mark 13 times. They failed to break 100 rushing yards 11 times. They failed to even reach 50 yards 7 times.
• Opposing teams knew the Cowboys were going to throw.
At times the Cowboys abandoned the run completely. That helped contribute to the meager rushing numbers in the chart above, but it should also be noted that when the Cowboys ran the ball, they averaged just 3.6 yards per carry, which tied them for second worst in the NFL. And so, I don’t want this to sound like I’m blaming Jason Garrett for not running the ball enough, because frankly, they couldn’t run it. Still, the Cowboys had a pass-run ratio of 65-35:
|Team||Rushing attempts||Passing attempts||Total plays||Pass %|
Playing QB is already hard enough in the NFL, but when you become as one-dimensional as the Cowboys were last season, the ante is upped.
• The Cowboys were 2nd in the NFL in penalties last season.
They had 138 penalties, or 8.6 per game. Doug Free led the league with 15, while Tyron Smith had 11, which tied him for 10th in the league. When you’re passing as much as the Cowboys were last season, this is what can happen. 2nd and 8 becomes either 2nd and 13, or worse, 2nd and 18. That’s added pressure on the QB.
• The right side of the offensive line was very bad.
I’m looking at you, Doug Free and Mackenzy Bernadeau.
If you can’t run it, you have to pass. When you pass too much, opposing defenses pin their ears back and attack the QB. When opposing defenses can pin their ears back and attack the QB, you commit penalties and the weak links along your OL are exposed. This typically leads to bad QB play.
However, in Romo’s case, he was great for the better part of 2012, with the exception of a few rare clunkers (Bears, Skins, etc).
But this is how Romo’s 2012 season will be remembered, which is fair.
Just know that Tony Romo carried the Cowboys on his back the entire season, without a lot of help from some of the circumstances around him. The Cowboys wouldn’t have sniffed 8 wins without him. His contract is deserved.