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Tony Romo – And Then Came Injury

Bryson Treece

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See, my theory is that Tony Romo being injured caused more problems for the Cowboys than in just the three games he missed. Sure, suffering through the play of Brad Johnson and Brooks Bollinger was bad, but nobody seemed to catch on to just how limited Romo was after he came back.

Most people can tell you about the splint he wore on his hand, and how that affected his game, but overall, the splint couldn't have been the cause for his troubles after his return. Just look at the numbers from the season and you can see that before Romo's injury, he played a lot better than he did after. Just for the record, the before represents the 6 games he played before, including the loss to Arizona where he was injured. The After represents the 7 games he played starting with the second Washington game.

Tony Romo Yds. YPG Comp. % TD INT Fumb Turnovers Sacked Rating
Before 1,689 281.5 64.2 14 5 6 11 7 103.7
After 1,759 251.3 60.1 12 9 7   16 13 82.9

The only real confusing statistic there is that he had more yards after his injury, but remember he only played 6 games before, and 7 games after. His average yards per game tells the story better, but looking at his average yards per completion is the most telling.

Before his injury, he averaged 13.2 yards per completion, and never had an average below 10.7 or above 15.3. After his injury, his average per completion was only 11.7 yards, with his low and high being 8.7 and 15, respectively.

Now those numbers show that Romo was obviously different after returning from his broken pinkie finger, but it wasn't just his injury that caused problems. Another injury that compounded the affects of his injury was that to Pro Bowl Punter Matt McBriar, who was also injured in week 6 against the Cardinals.

He was averaging 49 yards per punt, and his replacement, Sam Paulesque only averaged 41.8. Sam did punt the ball twice as many times as McBriar did, but looking to McBriar's numbers from last year shows that he punted 10 more times than Paulesque did and still averaged 47.1 yards. In a game where field position means so much, this is a huge statistic.

During the same time frames of before and after Romo's injury, the running game played a part as well. Never mind that Felix Jones didn't take another snap after that Arizona game. The Cowboys ran the ball an average of 23.5 times per game before, and 20.8 times per game after Romo's injury. As we all know, the primary job of a defense is to make a team one dimensional, and these numbers clearly show that once Romo came back, this team was forced to rely on its passing game more.

That also lends to the increased number of times that Romo was sacked after his injury than over the first 6 games of the season.

So when someone says that every team sustains injuries in a season, I have to agree, every team does; just look at New England. But unlike the Patriots, who only lost one key player for the season, the Cowboys lost several. It doesn't take long to figure out that the game against the Cardinals affected every game we played after.

It's also not hard to understand that Romo, as a quarterback, had less to do with this team's failures in 2008 than people want to believe. It's still something he has to work on, but every quarterback spends all year working on less turnovers and more completions. That's his job.


Nothing gives me greater joy than the experience of being a Dallas Cowboys fan come time to check another victory on the schedule every Sunday. I live Inside the Star everyday and blog on it occasionally, as well. Follow us on Twitter - @InsideTheStarDC

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7 Comments
  • Joe C

    Good stuff, I keep telling everyone that keeps sayin Romo is garbage, that he hurt is f’n pinky on his throwing hand, and the pinky is a very important finger for a qb. But yet everyone is saying “REAL QB’S PLAY THROUGH PAIN” and I just have to laugh at them cuz they have no clue. Only one I can think of that plays through pain the best is Favre, or was. I was at the Boy’s vs Skin’s game in MD, and I could tell he wasn’t 100%, and all the games after that aswell. Felix didn’t play after the Cardinals game because he got hurt on that one punt return, don’t remember what it was, but I am sure it was something they didn’t want to risk injuring more with him still being a rookie, but I dunno. Romo has some learning still to do but it was only his 2nd year as a starter, so of course he does. I don’t have “high” hopes for the 2009 season, but I think they might just shock us all.

  • https://insidethestar.com/ Bryson Treece

    Yeah, Felix had a common injury and they played it safe for that game because it was a hamstring injury, which is an easy injury to worsen without rest. His IR placement was from a toe injury during the rehab of that hammy injury.

    That’s something that hasn’t gotten enough play this off-season, and I’m going to have to see if I can find some stats on it. We had two players this year suffer injuries, only to suffer more severe injuries of a different location during the rehab. I’ve never heard of this before, not even with just one player on a team in a single year.

    It’s one thing to to re-injure the injury that put you in rehab to begin with, but to suffer a completely separate injury during the rehab, that’s just ridiculous and MUST be addressed this year. The treatment crew on this team was heavily involved in the near-complete destruction of a very potent and high powered running game. I can’t even imagine how different this year would’ve been if not for the injuries suffered in rehab by Felix Jones and Marion Barber.

    And what about Newman? It was said, I believe by Jerry Jones, mid-season that Newman said he was ready to go after the first injury, and him playing too soon is what is attributed with his second, and highly more substantial injury. The injury (first one) was a strained groin, which a is common injury in the NFL. Seems like if our medical staff was as good as they are supposed to be, they would’ve done a better job.

  • https://insidethestar.com/ Bryson Treece

    Not sure I follow Joe … Felix first injured his hamstring, a light sprain. That’s why Phillips kept saying every week that he would come back, because that injury works that way. He injured his toe, ripped a ligament in his big toe on the right foot I believe, during rehab a few weeks later, that’s what put him on IR.

    Now Barber, he injured his foot when it was stepped on, and then developed a sore calf that plagued for the remaining few games of the season. Hence his 2 run, 0 yard production against Baltimore.

    This medical staff is said to be the best in all of football, and ever in the sport, but even if they were simply average I would have a problem with the injuries this year. Look at Kosier, how in the hell was that a season long, season ending injury?

  • https://insidethestar.com/ Bryson Treece

    Furthermore, it kind of makes me wonder what role they had in Terry Glenn’s injury. What about Stanback and the forever injured shoulder of his? How about Hurd and Austin both? I mean, the injuries this year are seriously concerning, and I mean more than just the fact of numbers. Yeah, there were a lot of injuries this year, but so many of them don’t usually faze teams as much as they did the Cowboys in 2008. Something is wrong with that …

  • Joe C

    Yeah I thought when Felix first got hurt with the toe injury, the reports came back as he was out for the remainder of the season? Or was I just seeing things? If that’s the case why was he even back in anyway? And i agree we should prolly hire some new medical staff beause they were obviously not doing there jobs proper.

  • https://insidethestar.com/ Bryson Treece

    Well, they did say that for Jones, but Adam, not Felix. I think it was just a neck stinger or a ruptured disk, something like that, and they kept saying that he’d likely be out for the year, and he came back a couple of weeks later.

    Maybe that’s what you’re thinking.

  • Joe C

    Maybe it was the hammy, I couldn’t remember. But I thought I saw that they were saying it was a season ending injury, maybe that was for someone else but coulda swore it was for Jones.

Player News

REPORT: Cowboys DE/DT David Irving Suspected of Domestic Violence

Jess Haynie

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David Irving

[4/24/18 UPDATE: Irving's accuser has since recanted with police. However, the NFL could still investigate under their domestic violence policy.]

ORIGINAL STORY

Dallas Cowboys defensive lineman David Irving is under investigation by Frisco, TX police for charges of domestic violence, according to a report by Jobin Panicker of WFAA-ABC in Dallas.

The following was tweeted from Panicker's account not long ago:

Jobin Panicker on Twitter

BREAKING @FriscoPD confirms it is investigating serious allegations against Cowboys player David Irving. No arrests. Assault-Bodily Injury, Unlawful Restraint, & Assault-Impeding Breath and Circulation @wfaa

Jobin Panicker on Twitter

BREAKING @FriscoPD confirms allegations made against Cowboys player David Irving were reported on April 22nd. At two separate times: 5pm & 10pm. Allegations made by girlfriend @wfaa

The veracity of the accusations are certainly not ours to judge, but other recent events on Irving's social suggest he is in the middle of a breakup with his girlfriend. Posts early this morning on his Twitter account appeared to be from an unauthorized user, and David later posted on both Twitter and Instagram that someone had hacked him.

Furthermore, Irving shared that he was already taking steps due to the volatile situation.

David Ja Rodd Irving on Twitter

@DCBlueStar Changed the locks yesterday

While personal lives should stay that way, Cowboys fans are understandably concerned after what happened last year with Ezekiel Elliott. As we saw then, Roger Goodell's "justice" system allows for just an accusation to lead to a suspension. There is no burden of proof on the accuser.

And as in that case, even if the police dismiss the allegation, the NFL can still pursue the matter under the personal conduct and domestic violence policies.

It would be nice to just say "let the process play out," but the NFL commissioner doesn't hold himself to that standard. Therefore, we have to report this as it could mean consequences for David Irving and the Dallas Cowboys no matter how legitimate the claims are.


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Jaylon Smith Practicing Without AFO Brace

John Williams

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Jaylon Smith Voted Cowboys' Ed Block Courage Award Winner 1

A lot of the talk circling the Dallas Cowboys and the NFL Draft is the need for the Cowboys to draft a linebacker as insurance to Sean Lee and Jaylon Smith's injury issues.

One of the questions, Sean Lee, will always be a question. When he's on the field, he's as good a linebacker as there is in the NFL. In 2016, he finally got in a near full season and rewarded the Dallas Cowboys with an All-Pro season that led the team to the playoffs. Talent has never been the issue with Lee. Keeping him on the field has been.

Jaylon Smith's question isn't his health as much as it is his recovery. The surgery to repair his ACL and MCL that he suffered at the end of his final season at Notre Dame was considered a success. There was a caveat, however, that there was no telling how much functionality would return because of the massive nerve injury that occurred.

Last year, Jaylon Smith actually played football games. No small step. In some games he made some plays and in other games, it was clear that he was still struggling with changing directions and running with receivers and running backs in coverage.

Time is Jaylon's biggest ally and another offseason removed from his injury should only help him get stronger and more confident in his recovering knee.

Lost in all of the Dez Bryant hoopla was a beautiful little nugget that Jaylon Smith teased Cowboys Nation with last week.

Jaylon provided a great look at his training regimen on the first day of team workouts and if you look closely, you'll see with a Clear Eye View that Jaylon Smith isn't wearing a brace, tape, or any other kind of support. On his knee or foot.

Jaylon Smith on Twitter

Focused vision, Determined belief, Earned dreams. #ClearEyeView

Remember that even after Jaylon was playing and practicing without a knee brace, he was still requiring an AFO brace to help with his foot drop.

Oh, how much one offseason can change things.

Mike Fisher, now of 247Sports.com, quoted Smith as saying, "I have more power and more flexibility now. And the dropfoot (issue) is fading. Absolutely!'' over on Scout.com, and there was this:

"As our colleague Bryan Broaddus has previously noted, it does seem that some of the testing is behind him, that the nerve is regenerating, that the repaired knee is stronger than ever and that more improvement is ahead of him. Smith's 6-2, 245-pound body is about as sculpted as is imaginable. His mind is sculpted, too, the result of his faith and his intellect and his personality and more. He suggests now that more improvement is inevitable, and that includes the medical improvement that is now, to him, simply "a matter of timing.'''

Mike Fisher - 105.3 The Fan and 247Sports.com

There is still a lot of hope around The Star and Cowboys Nation that Jaylon Smith can return to the All-American form that was projecting him as a top-five talent in the 2016 NFL Draft. If he's healthy and moving with better lateral movement and agility than he was in 2017, that's a huge step forward for Jaylon Smith and the Dallas Cowboys.

The progression of his knee and his confidence in said knee is going to be a huge determining factor in Dallas' plans to draft a linebacker. If they feel confident that he will be a more functional linebacker in 2018 than he was in 2017, then perhaps they could wait until day two or three to address the linebacker position.

We can't fully know their intentions as we get closer to draft day. How they address the linebacker position in the 2018 NFL Draft could give us an excellent indication of how they feel about Jaylon Smith's progression.

What we do know is that Jaylon Smith will never give up working toward being an elite middle linebacker. Let's hope he can realize his dreams. Everyone will be better for it.


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Cowboys Quarterback is playing Moneyball

Shane Carter

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Jekyll or Hyde: Year 3 "Prove It" Season For Dak Prescott?

A Fully Focused Ezekiel Elliott can Carry the Cowboys into 2018 PlayoffsMoney talks, and no one talks louder than the Dallas Cowboys. It’s hard to find a more affordable Pro Bowl player than Dak Prescott. A former fourth-round pick from Mississippi State, Prescott is only scheduled to make around $680,000 in 2018. It’s only his third year, but it may be his most important when it comes to his future with the Cowboys.

When a team drafts its franchise quarterback, they usually only get about two seasons to prove they’re "the guy."

Every year, teams draft someone, usually in the first round, with hopes that he'll be their sought after franchise quarterback. However, by being drafted so high, there’s little margin for error afforded to them.

In Dak Prescott’s case, being drafted outside the first round, he wasn’t expected to contribute near as much in his first two seasons as he has. A day-one starter for the then injured Tony Romo gave him his opportunity and he has made the most of it.

In two seasons, Dak Prescott has a 22-10 record, made the playoffs and Pro Bowl, completed 65.2% of his passes and has added a new dimension in the Cowboys offense thanks to his mobility in and out of the pocket. However, I wouldn’t be the first to tell you that his year two wasn’t as good as his year one was. Prescott lost four more games, completed fewer passes and more interceptions in year two.

To be fair, some of his issues attributed to the injury of Tyron Smith, Ezekiel Elliott’s suspension and many of his receivers dropping more passes than we’ve previously seen. These issues will have to be cleaned up not only for the team, but for Dak Prescott’s future.

According to Spotrac.com, Dak Prescott’s market value today is around $25 million a year, which would make him among the most paid players in the league. In comparison, Kirk Cousins will be paid the most in the league at $28 million this year, while Aaron Rodgers will make $22 million.

So, the Cowboys quarterback's market value is among the best in the league.

Cowboys fans everywhere are rooting for him to succeed but year three will be crucial. If he can improve on his play from a year ago and keep winning games, he would likely see his extension happen sometime around his fourth season.

People have already seen Prescott at his highs and lows. Going into 2018 with a new receiving core, the return of Ezekiel Elliott and a new left guard will get rid of any excuses.

If Dak Prescott really is who he believes he is, and who fans know he can be, then the Cowboys have their quarterback. If not, then the search will continue.

Prescott should be plenty motivated to be the Cowboys quarterback for the present and the future. Also, he should be motivated by how much money he could get it.

It is a game, but it’s still a business. And C.R.E.A.M.


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