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Tony Romo: The Truth About December

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Cowboys Blog - Tony Romo: The Truth About December 1

The narrative on Tony Romo was set a while back. "He is the quarterback that will always choke with the game on the line."  While yes there was the botched the snap in Seattle but a moment like that doesn’t define a career. While there have been instances where he has made a decision to cost the team a game, he has just as many good decisions. Tony Romo has owned the month of November as many Cowboys fans have referred to it as Rovember for his play.

A player doesn’t forget how to play just because your turn the calendar to the next month. Romo is gunslinger who seems to get out of the most difficult situations with his legs and athleticism.  A play that comes to mind to show off his athleticism was against the St. Louis Rams. The ball was snapped over his head about 25 yards and ran the ball back for a four yard gain and the first down.

Romo has the led the Cowboys in the month of November with a 105.5 quarterback rating. The team is 24-5 for the month with him under center. There is no denying what Romo has meant to this team during the month. Romo has had his struggles in the early part of his career in the month of December. From 2006-2008 he has put up pedestrian numbers as the starting quarterback of America’s team.

In his 26 career December games, Romo has led the Cowboys to a 11-15 record during that span. As stated earlier his numbers are somewhat pedestrian from 06-08. The Cowboys were 5-8 during December games. Romo had a quarterback rating of 70.5 with 14 touchdowns and 19 interceptions. It isn’t hard to see why they had a losing record during those three seasons. His last game during the three year span in question Romo had no touchdown, one interception and a rating of 55.8 during a 44-6 loss to end the season.

2009 seemed to be a changing point for Romo and the Cowboys as he would turn around his play. After the Cowboys started the month with back to back losses, they won the next three games even shutting out divisional opponents on the final two games. Romo had a rating of 104, nine touchdowns and two interceptions.  In 2010 he wouldn’t play due to a fractured collarbone, the same injury that Aaron Rodgers is currently dealing with.

In 2011 and 2012 has even stepped up his game even more. He has posted the rating of 103, 22 touchdowns and five interceptions. While the Cowboys were 4-6 during that time, you can’t place the blame at the feet of Romo. Tony Romo doesn’t play defense, and there were also games lost due to clock management.  When it comes to Romo in December, he is one of the best. His rating is 106.3 since 2009 and only Aaron Rodgers has a better rating. He also has 31 touchdowns to seven interceptions in that time.

The W-L record is not a quarterback’s record, it belongs to the TEAM. The other stat that is horrendous is Romo’s record in “elimination” games. I though Phil Simms said it best during the Thanksgiving Day game telecast.

“Elimination games? What are those?! Let's make up a new stat so you can make it look worse!”

So it is time for NFL fans to start praising Tony for the great quarterback that he is and start laying some blame on the team. The team gets wins and losses put in the NFL standings and not NFL quarterbacks.

 



Patrick Conn is the founder and creator of Valley Ranch Outsiders. His work has been seen on SI.com, FanSided, Yahoo and Blue Star Times. He is an avid Cowboys fan and NFL Draft analyst. He currently hosts a podcast about the Dallas Cowboys.

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Dallas Cowboys: The Case For Regression In 2019

Kevin Brady

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Predicting Dallas Cowboys Roster Locks, Pre-Training Camp Edition
Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

It's been a few years since things around the Dallas Cowboys felt this good prior to a season. Coming off a 10-6 year in which Dallas won both the NFC East and a home playoff game before losing a one possession road game to the future NFC champions, Cowboys Nation is expecting some big things in 2019.

After all, the Cowboys went out and improved their roster in multiple ways this offseason and brought in some new blood on their offensive coaching staff. Spirits are high among Cowboys Nation, and just about everyone is anticipating a two team race for the NFC East.

But some numbers indicate we should be thinking "not so fast."

The details of the 2018 season are not as pretty as the total picture. Rarely are they ever, of course, but these particular details point towards possible regression for the Cowboys in 2019.

Basically, their point differential a year ago spells out impending doom. (That was dramatic, but let's discuss).

The Cowboys were +15 in 2018, and by pythagorean wins expectation, they were about as strong as an 8-8 team (8.53 wins to be exact). This means they won nearly 2 more games (1.47) than would be expected, fourth most in the entire NFL.

This point is furthered when looking at their record in one possession games. Dallas went 8-2 when the game was decided by 7 points or less, winning close games at a rate that is simply not sustainable year to year.

These numbers make the Cowboys a prime candidate for regression in 2019, as they were in 2017.

Why The Numbers Expect Regression, But Success For Cowboys In 2017

Back in 2016, the Cowboys outperformed their pythagorean expectation by a whole 2 wins. The following season? Dallas finished the year 9-7. The model also indicated that the 7-9 Eagles performed 2 wins under expectations in 2016, meaning they would get back on track in 2017. As we know, they ended up winning 13 games and the Super Bowl the following season.

Of course, this isn't set-in-stone, and the Cowboys very well could outperform these expectations and avoid regression. This would mainly hinge on their coaching staff and quarterback performing at an elite level, carrying them through close games and winning more games by greater than one possession.



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Newly Acquired DE Robert Quinn Brings High Expectations

Kevin Brady

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Robert Quinn
Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Winning games in the NFL typically comes down to accomplishing two goals. One, being successful when passing on offense. And, two, stopping the opposing team's passing game.

The Cowboys set out to accomplish that second goal this offseason, re-signing defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence, and trading for veteran pass rusher Robert Quinn. Quinn, who tallied 6.5 sacks last season for the Miami Dolphins, is one of the leagues more feared rushers when at his best. The former All Pro has multiple 10+ sack seasons under his belt, including a whopping 19 in 2013.

And, as expected, the Cowboys coaching staff is ecstatic to have such a respected pass rushing specialist on their roster.

“He’s got that first step. He’s an established pass rusher in this league, so he’s going to bring some good stuff for us.” - Cowboys defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli.

The Cowboys acquired Robert Quinn for a 2020 6th round pick, which could end up being the steal of the offseason. Quinn has played with some top-notch pass rushers in the past, and each time they have brought out the best in his own game.

Back with the Rams in 2017, when Aaron Donald was on the same defensive line, Quinn got to the quarterback 8.5 times. And, last season, he remained consistent in his sack totals playing alongside Cameron Wake. Now he joins a DeMarcus Lawrence who has 25 sacks over the last 2 seasons.

"I think it was kind of one of those where I get to have fun, pin my ears back and just disrupt the backfield, which is what they want us to do." - Robert Quinn told NFL.com. 

Quinn and the always dominant Lawrence will form an impressive defensive end duo on passing downs, with the potential to be one of the best in all of football. Dallas is also hoping to add Randy Gregory into this mix, a piece which could prove vital late in football games if he is able to return from his current indefinite suspension.

Whether or not Gregory finds his way back onto the field, though, this defensive front will be in good hands. The edge combo of Quinn and Lawrence, combined with a plethora of skilled interior rushers such as Maliek Collins, gives the Cowboys a fearsome defensive line which should keep quarterbacks uncomfortable every Sunday.



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Can Rookie OL Connor McGovern Compete For A Starting Spot?

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Connor McGovern

Raising eyebrows in the third round of the 2019 NFL Draft, the Cowboys added Penn State offensive lineman Connor McGovern to their already deep OL depth chart.

McGovern, who played guard for the Nittany Lions, was reportedly by-far the best player remaining on the Cowboys draft board when they came on the clock in round three. Still, with seemingly more pressing needs yet to be addressed, Dallas' selection of McGovern was certainly a surprise.

When you watch the tape, though, you immediately see what the Cowboys loved about Connor McGovern.

A "plug-and-play" type guard, Connor McGovern is the type of rookie you'd expect to contribute in year one. On many teams he may be a candidate to start at guard or center from the beginning of his rookie season, but here in Dallas, his role for the 2019 season is somewhat in question.

Clearly, being a day two pick, there's no doubt that McGovern will make the Cowboys roster. But can he compete for a starting job?

During OTA's McGovern took reps at both guard and center, pointing towards the possibility of him being the first interior offensive lineman off the bench if one of the starters were to go down with an injury. Fellow interior linemen Joe Looney and Xavier Su'a-Filo each contributed in big ways during the 2018 season, however, and will be tough to beat out during camp.

Obviously McGovern won't be starting over All-Pros Travis Frederick and Zack Martin, but could he dethrone Connor Williams from his left guard position?

While possible, I would still say it's unlikely. The Cowboys selection of McGovern seems to be more about 2020 and beyond than it is about the 2019 season. With right tackle La'el Collins coming up on a contract year, Dallas might elect to let him walk in free agency, move Williams back to his college position of tackle, and slide McGovern into the left guard slot.

This seems fool-proof in theory, but this many moving parts across the offensive line could spell trouble early on in 2020. Regardless, Connor McGovern's arrival gives Dallas the flexibility to consider all options on their offensive line.

In reality, McGovern strengthened a strength for Dallas, and may be needed to prove himself as early as this Fall if injury issues arise.



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