Another day, another sound-bite from Jerry Jones to vindicate Cowboys fans in their belief he’s completely lost the plot. And how suiting it is that this one - like seemingly everything Cowboys related - centers around the most polarizing quarterback in his franchise’s storied history, Tony Romo.
Speaking to the NFL Network's Albert Breer, Jones said of his franchise quarterback and accompanying contract (that he signed him to) that “when you give somebody $100M, you’d like to get every ounce of anything they can bring to the table to win a football game”. There was much more to the interview then just that, but it centered primarily on what Romo is doing to change the franchise’s fortunes and get them back to the playoffs.
These comments are coming only a week after Jones proclaimed for all to hear that Romo’s involvement in the Cowboys offense, playcalling in particular, was set to increase. Head coach Jason Garrett was quick to douse the flames that surround anything Cowboys related by making it clear that things were business as usual.
Lost in all this is just how absurd it is to think that A) the Cowboys 8-8 records over the last two seasons are solely the responsibility of Tony Romo and B) That he, and he alone, can fix this problem through improved play and albeit a tenuously increased role in the game-plan. It’s also worth noting that if Jones was concerned about Romo’s ability to deliver on his brand spanking new contract, that he maybe shouldn’t have signed him to it - he does cut the cheques after all.
For the Cowboys to be successful again they will need to have a ground game; something they’ve lacked since 2009. Improved play by the offensive line would be nice, but I find it far more realistic to expect more from a healthy Demarco Murray than a newly drafted Travis Frederick.
In 2009 Romo was averaging only 34 attempts a game, and coincidentally the Cowboys won the NFC East that year. Last season Romo averaged 40.5 per game. More alarming than the rise in attempts for Romo is the lack of support provided by the ground game. In their 2009 run to the top of the NFC East they were the league’s seventh best team at running the football, averaging 125 yards a game. In 2012, the Cowboys were 31st in the league averaging just under 80 yards a game. If you're noticing a correlation between Romo receiving support and this resulting success, power to you.
The thing is Jerry Jones, much like everyone else, had to know what Romo was capable of before making him one of the highest paid players in the game. He’s not good enough to carry a miserable team (and that’s exactly what the Cowboys were last season) on his back. Tony Romo is the best not-elite quarterback in the league. He’s a great cornerstone for the Cowboys franchise, but he needs support to be successful. Maybe it’s time Jones started to evaluate the merits of how he’s spending money elsewhere.
You can follow J.D. Burke: @JDBurkeOV