Little over a week ago the Dallas Cowboys found themselves once again the object of torrents of criticism from sports talk shows and NFL fans alike. The spark for this criticism came from statements by owner and general manager Jerry Jones that indicated that quarterback Tony Romo would be expected to spend “Peyton Manning-type time” at Valley Ranch this summer preparing for next season.
The time commitment this summer was part of the stipulations of Romo’s $108 million contract extension in March which brought similar criticism to the organization.
Jones’ remarks gave sports talk shows across the nation fresh ammunition to take new shots at the already over-criticized QB and team. Critics immediately assumed that Romo has not done his fair share of work in preparation of the Cowboys’ offense.
Was this additional clause in Romo’s contract intended to ensure the QB spent plenty of time on the job? Should fans assume that this is an indicator of Romo’s commitment to winning and the Cowboys not being enough?
This is a hasty conclusion that many fans and analysts have made. A more likely conclusion is that Jones and head coach Jason Garret simply want Romo to have more input as to what goes on offensively. This was evident in the draft when the Cowboys drafted center Travis Frederick and tight end Gavin Escobar, two players Romo thinks very highly of.
“The more Tony can be involved in what we’re doing offensively, the more the product we have out there (that) complements his skills, the more we’re going to do it,” Jones said.
The Cowboys want to base their offense around the strengths of their quarterback that threw for almost 5,000 yards last season. To do that, he must be more involved in developing the offensive scheme and perhaps even play- calling.
So to those saying that Romo doesn’t take his job seriously enough or that he would rather play golf, be reminded that this is a guy who played his college football at the small university of Eastern Illinois. Undrafted, he spent two years as a holder before he finally got his shot at being starting quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys.
He’s thrown for over 4,000 yards four out of the last six years. He’s kept an often inconsistent team in countless games, giving them the best chance to win. He’s a competitor that wants nothing more than to win a Super Bowl as he has said on many occasions and most importantly he has something to prove.
In short, Jones’ comments should not be regarded as a slam against Romo’s commitment. Jones was justifying his large investment in Romo while also getting him more involved in offensive scheming to help the team highlight his quarterback’s skillset and hopefully help them bring a championship back to Cowboys Nation.