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We’re Going to Miss Him When He’s Gone

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What this world needs is another opinion on Tony Romo.  I’m certain of it.

Please bear with me and resist the urge to eye-roll.  Throwing my hat in the contributors ring around here should call for an initiation of sorts, complete with a formal declaration, as in Name, Rank, Serial Number, and Stated Position on Tony Romo.  I know and accept that what I say here will be held against me forever more, and might even prompt an audit.

The name’s Erod, scrub captain, BR549, and Lord help me, I love the knucklehead at QB.  Can’t help it, and the intervention and therapy you prescribe won’t work, so stuff it.

So let’s get to it without trudging the tired and beaten paths more than minimally necessary.  Romo is synonymous with politics, religion, chickens, eggs, and Gordon/Earnhardt.  Hadn’t been an original thought on this subject since TO had money and LeBron was a Cavalier.  I mean, the first time he was a Cavalier.

Simply put, never has a player this good been this summarily and unfairly dismissed in the NFL, ever.  If you can name another, please share.

Before I make my case for Romo, know this about me.  I detest statistical arguments.  Despise them to their core.  Why?  Because they’re too often used definitively to cloud the truth.  Too many think stats win arguments, when they do exactly the opposite.  We have an inherent skill to create them from thin air, and ambiguously skew them as our agenda requires.  Reality is, you can’t quantify players in team sports with just mathematics.  It ain’t golf.

Football is more art than science, so to truly know and understand a player, it takes time and thought and prolonged observation, something not everyone can or will devote to a single player.  I can’t say from here that I fully understand or appreciate Matt Ryan or Jay Cutler or Phillip Rivers either.  I don’t drench myself in the day-to-day with those teams to have more than a fan’s impression from afar.  However, I still take care not to lean on stats for any of them, and base my impressions from my mind’s eye, with room to change my mind.

Jeff George had kickass stats.  So did Ernest Givens and Herman Moore.  Troy Aikman and Drew Pearson and Lynn Swann didn’t.  Peyton Manning has them; Russell Wilson doesn’t.  Numbers reflect circumstance, style, and approach.  Imagine if Emmitt had been drafted by Kansas City, or Jerry Rice was catching passes from Steve Pelluer.

Hey, let’s be honest, Romo has great stats.  A bajillion yards passing and enough TD passes to make Roger and Troy blush.  “Greatest QB rating in the 4th quarter of all time” is the coolest one to say out loud.  Whatever, I don’t care about Romo’s numbers because his case doesn’t depend on them.  All I’ve had to do is open my eyes and my mind, watch the games, and ask myself….

Where would this team have been the past five years without him?

Pardon the shudder, that’s scary to ponder.  Romo has danced the Charleston on a high-wire act throughout this ongoing circus since Tuna left town, suffering through Wade, and now waiting on the rebuilding hopes of Garrett, McClay, and now Linehan.  I so wish Parcells was 10 years younger and could have raised him properly in this Beatles-band spotlight of Dallas.

Way back when, Romo inherited a pretty salty team, but he was an NFL quarterback in training at the time, relying on Jedi mind tricks and a boyish grin to get him from one huddle to the next.  As the newness wore off and his game sharpened, that same roster began to age and falter almost overnight.  His arrow pointed opposite the team’s, without enough fruitful draft picks and cap room to catch the fall.

The offensive line became tattered and torn, and the defense regressed into historic incompetence.  There were still shiny, skilled objects to distract the masses, which allowed Romo to amaze us all with sleight-of-hand and Houdini acts along the way.  Because of him, this 4-12 roster got more attention than it deserved.

Garrett knows this.  So do coaches and quarterbacks past and present, who often seem to be the only public voices to support Romo.  Even the likes of Jaworski and Simms and well-intentioned RG3 have made a distinct point to say to him and us, “You’re a damn fine quarterback, don’t listen to what everybody says about you.”

What grits my teeth is that so many Cowboys fans don’t get this.  They go full goose-step and adopt the opinions of ne’er-do-wells hundreds of miles away, instead of trusting their eyes and their instinct.  It’s easier and less exhausting to just chime in with the thoughtless hordes.

No, I haven’t forgotten the bobbled snap.   (How many starting QBs hold on field goals?)  I watched the failure of 13-3 end against the Giants. (If Crayton doesn’t drop the ball.)  I saw the 2011 finale in New York.  (Romo played with a sprained throwing hand), the 2012 pick against Washington, (the defense gave up nearly 300 yards rushing before Romo’s awful pass), and Orton against the Eagles (if Romo played that day, they win easily).

And yes, I’ve seen the late-game interceptions that transfix the zombies.  Games, mind you, that Dallas had no business being competitive in without Romo.  Brady and Manning throw late interceptions, too, but their defenses put out the fire, so nobody remembers.  Other quarterbacks do – or don’t – throw picks late, but they’re down three touchdowns, so nobody cares.  I share your frustration with Romo at times, understand, but balanced in context.

Just how perfect does he have to be for this team to win?

Forgotten too often are the numerous games, more than most any QB, that Romo has taken the Cowboys down the field to win a game late, too.  Most of those included flaccid rushing efforts and a Cowboy defense giving up yards and points in droves.  So many losses that should have been, but weren’t, thanks to No. 9.  So many drubbings made competitive.

Perhaps the pinnacle of my pissed-off-edness came last year against Denver.  We ALL saw Romo outplay Peyton, stem to stern, on every level, before stepping on his lineman’s foot and throwing a plucked duck that led to a OT field goal.  Romo was brilliant beyond brilliant, but couldn’t overcome his French-ified defense that day, and he finally made a mistake.  Nanoseconds after the game, the simpletons and dolts spilled from every crevice and hung Romo in effigy.  It explains so much about so many things, I suppose, especially beyond football.

I contend that if Romo was the QB in Seattle, he’d be going for his third straight championship this season.  Same for San Fran.  He’s markedly better than both Wilson and Kaepernick, though his circumstances aren’t.  Jerry’s past failings ladle over this team and haunt Romo’s legacy.

If there’s football justice – and there often isn’t – good health will allow Romo a real shot or two with a worthy roster.  It’s getting better, but it might oughta hurry it up.  Bad backs are onerous injuries.

When Romo is no mo’, it’ll finally sink in among us all.  I hope it doesn’t come to that, but I know this.  We’re going to miss him when he’s gone.

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3 Comments
  • Paul Leatherman

    I’ve got my pitchfork and torch ready for when the trolls get here. Good stuff Erod. Bringing stats into any argument usually just clouds the whole thing. Stats can be used to support any argument either for or against something. My last article was full of stats. Mainly just to prove a point. For years all we’ve heard is people diss Romo for his 4th quarter failures but when you use stats to prove otherwise the haters still find a way around them. It’s frustrating hell. And you’re damn right we’ll miss him when he’s gone. I freaking dread it. The team has shown no plan at all to address the future of the QB position. And it makes me angry. Arrrrrrgggggggghhhhhh

  • catch33

    Yep

  • JS

    good post!!!!

Star Blog

Dallas Cowboys’ 2017 Rookies Need to Avoid Sophomore Slumps

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Ranking The Dallas Cowboys Rookies Through Week 8
Dustin Bradford / Getty Images

Right now, it’s pretty tough to predict how the 2018 Dallas Cowboys’ season will turn out. Even with Jason Garrett, Scott Linehan and Rod Marinelli all returning for next season, there’s a lot of change going on in Dallas. The Cowboys will have to deal with a lot of new position coaches as they try to get back to the top after a 9-7 season in 2017.

Obviously, there are a lot of things that’ll impact the outcome of this season.

One of those questions hasn’t been discussed much. That question is: how will the 2017 rookie class fare in their sophomore seasons? 

In 2016 and 2017, rookies were very important for this franchise.

Two years ago, Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott took the NFL by storm, ending the season with a 13-3 record and the #1 seed in the NFC. Anthony Brown looked to be the Cowboys’ future shutdown cornerback, and Maliek Collins looked very promising.

Last season, the Cowboys didn’t have rookie seasons as spectacular as Dak and Zeke had in 2016 (I don’t think we’ll see anything similar in the NFL for a long time), but the rookie class ended up being a very important one for sure.

After letting a lot of veteran players walk in free agency, the team went ahead and fixed the secondary by drafting Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis in consecutive rounds, and trading up to get Xavier Woods in the sixth.

Are Dallas Cowboys Building A Championship Defense?

Dallas Cowboys CB Jourdan Lewis, CB Chidobe Awuzie, S Xavier Woods (AP Photo / Ron Jenkins)

Jourdan Lewis made his presence felt early in the season, while we had to wait a bit to see Chidobe Awuzie in action. Both of them had surprising rookie seasons and they truly look like the future in Dallas’ secondary.

Both have shown what they’re capable of; we’ve seen them make plays and turn their heads to the ball… really, something we hadn’t seen in a long time.

Ryan Switzer didn’t get a chance to play as a wide receiver that much, but he was very impressive as a returner. He still has a long way to go, but I’m betting on Switzer to remain among the NFL’s best returners for a long time. After seeing him replace Cole Beasley in the season finale, I’ll be shocked if Dallas doesn’t give him more playing time on offense next year. He deserves a more important role.

Taco Charlton still has a lot to improve on, but surprisingly, he did a nice job during the final games of the season. It’s always premature to call a player a “bust” after a single season, and Taco’s been called a bust since the moment he was drafted. Let’s give him a chance.

For 2017, we set the bar high for the Cowboys’ sophomores.

We thought Dak Prescott would be among the best QBs in the league, that Ezekiel Elliott would pass the 2,000-yard mark, that Anthony Brown would be an ideal CB1, and that Maliek Collins could even lead the team in sacks as a defensive tackle.

There are a lot of reasons this team struggled in 2017, and some of those reasons still preoccupy us when thinking about next season.

The Cowboys will definitely need their 2017 rookies to continue playing quality football. It will be key if they want to leave a painful 9-7 season behind and get back to winning this year.

Here’s to hoping the Cowboys’ 2018 sophomores avoid the “inevitable slumps.” In a season filled with uncertainty, they’ll sure be needed.

Tell me what you think about “Dallas Cowboys’ 2017 Rookies Need to Avoid Sophomore Slumps” in the comments below, or tweet me @PepoR99 and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!

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Star Blog

Cowboys en Español: ¿Estará Dez Bryant de Vuelta en el 2018?

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Cowboys en Español: ¿Estará Dez Bryant de Vuelta en el 2018?

Dez Bryant es ese jugador que incontables veces me hizo gritar y saltar de alegría con sus excepcionales recepciones y su manera de pelear el balón en el aire. Tantos momentos tan memorables con Tony Romo e incluso algunos con Dak Prescott lo han vuelto uno de mis jugadores favoritos…

Pero ahora, después de una difícil temporada de los Dallas Cowboys, los sentimientos están encontrados.

En muchos momentos, no parece que estamos viendo al Dez Bryant de antes. Claro, podemos decidir recordar esa recepción de touchdown que rompió el récord de la franquicia contra los Redskins, o esa escapada de 50 yardas en New York en la semana 14.

Pero Dez no ha sido el mismo las últimas tres temporadas. Y este 2017, todos los momentos de frustración culminaron en el partido que eliminó a los Cowboys de la temporada.

Cuando los Cowboys se enfrentaron a los Seattle Seahawks, un fumble acompañado por un pase soltado de Dez que resultó en una intercepción, todos nos pusimos a pensar.

La cosa no es que Dez Bryant sea un mal receptor. El talento está ahí, y es fácil verlo en ciertas jugadas. A veces es visible cuando atropella a algún defensivo, a veces cuando busca el balón y consigue atraparlo de una manera impresionante.

Quizá el próximo año se sacuda la mala racha que ha tenido los últimos años y encuentre una manera de ser el jugador que alguna vez fue… el problema es la cantidad de dinero que se le paga.

Después de la temporada del 2014, cuando Bryant terminó el año con 16 touchdowns y más de 1,300 yardas, el receptor estrella firmó un contrato por $70M.

Los Dallas Cowboys tienen frente a ellos una pregunta muy importante que resolver este offseason.

 

¿Deberían Deshacerse de Dez Bryant?

A pesar de tener una mala racha, la razón por la cual Dallas le diría adiós a Dez es su contrato. Dez está listo para cobrar $16.5M en el 2018 y otros 16 millones y medio en el 2019. De ser cortado, los Cowboys se ahorrarían ocho millones y medio la próxima temporada.

Suficiente dinero para firmar a un jugador que realmente haga impacto esta agencia libre.

Takeaway Tuesday: Awuzie and Lewis Impress, Concerns Around Dez Bryant

Dallas Cowboys WR Dez Bryant (Brad Penner / USA TODAY Sports)

Normalmente, cuando hablamos de jugadores como él, hay muchos conflictos para los aficionados. Vaya, yo mismo acabo de plantear que es uno de mis jugadores favoritos, pero quizá a veces el cambio es necesario.

Sí, la producción de Dez Bryant no ha sido la misma desde la última temporada que tuvo con Tony Romo. Pero ¿es eso excusa suficiente?

Basta pensar en jugadores como Larry Fitzgerald y DeAndre Hopkins para darse cuenta de que no. Aún con quarterbacks mediocres, ambos se mantienen como receptores de elite en la NFL.

Es cierto que Dak Prescott no es el mismo QB que Romo era, y no es un jugador que vaya a lanzar pases profundos tan frecuentemente como Tony lo hacía, pero eso tampoco significa que sea algo malo necesariamente.

Este equipo le construyó un equipo a su ex-mariscal para sacarle todo el provecho al #9. Es hora de hacer lo mismo por Dak Prescott.

Insisto en que los Cowboys tienen que buscar a un WR tan pronto como en la primera ronda del NFL Draft o incluso hasta en agencia libre.

Los Dallas Cowboys tienen tantas cosas que hacer antes de la próxima temporada y decidir que hacer con uno de sus jugadores más emblemáticos de la actualidad, Dez Bryant, es una de ellas.

¿Les gustaría ver a Dez Bryant de vuelta en el 2018?

Tell me what you think about “Cowboys en Español: ¿Estará Dez Bryant de Vuelta en el 2018?” in the comments below, or tweet me @PepoR99 and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!

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Star Blog

Will Ryan Switzer see an Increased Offensive Role in 2018?

Brian Martin

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Will Ryan Switzer see an Increased Offensive Role in 2018?

The Dallas Cowboys clearly had a specific role in mind for Ryan Switzer when they drafted him 133rd overall in the fourth round of the 2017 NFL Draft. Come to find out, that role didn’t include being involved much on the offensive side of the ball, at least not as a rookie.

After watching the way the Cowboys utilized Ryan Switzer in 2017, it’s pretty obvious the sole purpose he was drafted was to improve the special-teams play in the return game.

They clearly didn’t envision him being a part of the game plan on offense, despite the continuous outcry from fans.

Like most rookies, Ryan Switzer didn’t really get off to a fast start, and took a while to get used to the speed of the NFL. But, once he calmed his nerves and regained his confidence, he proved to be an upgrade in the return game.

Switzer ended up ranking third in kickoff returns, averaging 25 yards per return in 2017 and 12th in punt returns with almost 9 yards per return.

He also became the first Dallas Cowboys player to return a punt for a touchdown since 2013. He accomplished this against the Washington Redskins, in Week 13 when he took an 83-yarder to the house.

Surprisingly enough, using Ryan Switzer solely as a return specialist wasn’t enough for a lot of Cowboys Nation. A lot of fans wanted to see his talents utilized more on the offensive side of the ball as well, but were only left disappointed.

Ryan Switzer

Dallas Cowboys WR Ryan Switzer

Getting Switzer involved in the offensive game plan just wasn’t in the cards in 2017.

He only managed to catch six passes for 41 yards and rushed four times for 5 yards. This isn’t exactly what Cowboys fans envisioned after hearing Switzer was opening a lot eyes in training camp and organized team activities (OTAs). That was the main problem.

He was hyped up so much heading into the season that fans expected to see him involved much more on offense.

The Cowboys, on the other hand, had something else in mind, but I doubt that’s the case for the upcoming 2018 season.

I really think we’re going to see an increased role for Ryan Switzer next season.

The Cowboys coaching staff should have a much better understanding of his strengths and weaknesses now that he has a year in the system under his belt. And, they’ve seen firsthand how explosive he can be with the ball in his hands.

What the Cowboys coaching staff will have to determine this offseason is just how big of a role Switzer will have next year.

Should Switzer take Cole Beasley‘s job?

Cole Beasley, like the rest of the Cowboys receivers, had a down year in 2017. We shouldn’t assume that his job is safe, especially with someone like Ryan Switzer waiting in the wings. But, is Switzer ready to take over full-time?

Tough decisions will have to be made eventually, but such is life in the NFL.

Will Ryan Switzer see an increased offensive role in 2018?

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