For me, there’s never been any question about whose the leader for this team. I can’t say that for others. That includes a lot of the media and a whole lot of fans. Even during the 6 game winning streak, Tony Romo was given very little credit for the team putting together 6 consecutive victories.
I’ve heard things like, “the run game is keeping him from making mistakes” or “He hasn’t been forced to win a game this year.” Yeah that last quote was by Heath Evans the weekend before the Washington game.
Never mind the Texans game or Seahawks game, what about the Rams game, Heath?
But this isn’t a bash of Heath Evans' piece for the obvious lack of oxygen to his brain preventing common sense statements about the game of football (Although, I could write at least 3,000 words on that).
This is about the hope I have that everyone’s eyes are open to how important Tony Romo is to this team.
Like I mentioned before, I’ve known this since he became the full-time starter back in 2006, and I’m not by myself here; a lot of people realize this.
I’m speaking to those people who continue to doubt or bash #9.
After Romo was hurt against the Redskins, Brandon Weeden came in and did an admirable job while he was in the game. Matter of fact, he scored points on both possessions before he took a seat so Romo could return to the game.
You know what happen after that. Romo wasn’t able to lead the team to victory and the chatter that Weeden should have stayed in the game because he had the “hot hand” began. And honestly, maybe that was the case. Who knows? Maybe the coaches would have relied more on the run game in that last possession in overtime. But that’s hindsight now, and hindsight is 20/20.
So the days following it looked more and more like Romo wasn’t going to be able to play against the Cardinals. But many people - the media included - felt the team could still function well enough to beat Arizona, and then if needed, Romo could sit out the next game against Jacksonville too, sending the Cowboys into their bye week with an impressive 8-1 record.
What Weeden gave many fans and media was a false sense of hope. I mean, in a way I can see why. The run game has been one of the reasons why this team has been successful, and the defense is leaps and bounds better than last season. So I get it, but I knew better than to believe it.
It took about 4 plays on the offensive side of the ball for me to see this team was going to struggle. And if it wasn’t for a defensive touchdown, the offense would have put up three points heading into the Cowboys last possession of the game.
I will say that the team not having two starting offensive lineman didn’t help things. But that wasn’t the big problem. The five o-lineman that did play did well enough for the team to be successful. What hurt them the most was the guy playing behind the center. It wasn’t just the fact that Weeden had a bad day or couldn’t make the same throws as Romo; he had no control over the offense.
The difference between Romo or Weeden playing under center was like night and day, or a playoff team to a team who was headed to top 5 pick in the next draft.
Yes, there’s going to be a difference, because one guy is the starter while the other guy is a backup. Not hard to figure out. But when that backup comes in and it changes everything, you’re going to have problems.
Weeden came in looking like a guy who just walked in off the streets and had only been working with that offense for a week. He most certainly didn’t look like a guy that got a big portion of snaps during training camp - almost all of the snaps during preseason games - or a guy that's been getting any snaps with the first team during the week up to this point in the season.
Like Troy Aikman said, “He should be the most prepared back-up in the entire league.”
But it just didn’t work out that way, and if Weeden continues to play, it will never be that way. Tony Romo is the heartbeat of this team; he’s the conductor of the train, the maestro of the orchestra.
He does things on the field that Weeden just isn’t capable of, and I’m not talking about just the physical play. I’m talking about running the offense; setting you’re o-lineman up in the correct blocking scheme, and letting your wide receivers know what they should do. There was none of that going on during the last game.
So it wasn’t just the throws or bad decision-making for me, it was the know how or lack thereof that stood out more than anything else.
Yes, this team has had much success running the ball this season, which has led to much success so far for this entire team. One could say the offensive line is the main reason behind it, and indeed that has a lot to do with it. But Tony Romo, with his knowledge of the game, his physical ability to make plays out of nothing, and his ability to carve up a defense, is the main reason this team has had success and will have success going forward.
If people want to think it’s the run game and this offensive line that’s the heartbeat of this team, that’s fine, they can do that. But they're dead wrong.
People often say not to judge one performance on future performances, and I’m usually one of those people who say that. But this team has no shot going forward with this 2014 season if they don’t have #9 under center.
For those that have doubted how important Tony Romo is, I hope the last game gave you a glimpse on how it would be going forward without him. And maybe, just maybe some of you can learn to appreciate what we have in Tony Romo.
Report: Center Travis Frederick Undergoing Shoulder Evaluation
After missing the team's walkthrough this morning, it is being reported that Dallas Cowboys starting center Travis Frederick is having his shoulder evaluated due to multiple stingers. According to reports, Frederick has been dealing with stingers all training camp, and the Cowboys are unsure what is wrong with his shoulder.
Frederick rarely misses any practice time at all, and has not missed a start since he entered the league in 2013. He's the catalyst of this offensive line, and will be greatly missed if his injury is severe enough to make him miss regular season game time.
Jason Garrett says Travis Frederick is getting his shoulder looked at in Los Angeles. He's been dealing with stingers. No update behind that #cowboyswire
Joe Looney has been tasked with replacing Frederick for the time being, taking first team center reps during today's walk through and practice.
Given how meaningless Saturday's game is, I'd expect Looney to start at center against the Bengals this weekend as well. Hopefully the evaluation reveals that Frederick's issues are not serious and he will be ready for game one, but consistent stingers will always make fans fear for the worst.
Cowboys G Marcus Martin Needs Surgery; Impact on 53-Man Roster
Marcus Martin, the veteran guard Dallas signed as a free agent last March, suffered a potential season-ending injury in the team's preseason opener last Thursday night. Just how long he'll be out is still be determined, but it still should impact the Cowboys' final 53-man roster this season.
Martin tore ligaments in his right big toe against the 49ers. However, as of yesterday, it was not decided if he would pursue surgery.
The Cowboys don't expect backup OG Marcus Martin to play this season after he tore ligaments in his big toe in the preseason opener, but he's seeking a 2nd opinion before deciding whether to have surgery. Martin signed a 1-year deal with Dallas as a free agent this offseason.
A former third-round pick in 2014, the 24-year-old was brought in as a potential reserve at both guard at center. He was still in competition with Joe Looney and others for a roster spot, though, and his minimal one-year contract suggested nothing was guaranteed.
Even if Martin doesn't have surgery, he is almost sure to miss the start of the season. Dallas would likely place him on injured reserve, but still have the option to recall him after Week 8.
Marcus' absence all but guarantees that Looney will return in 2018. This will be his third year in the system and his ability to play center is critical.
In my 53-man roster projection last week, I had both Looney and Martin making the team. So if I had that right, that means a spot has opened up for probably fifth-year veteran Kadeem Edwards, who was playing with the second unit in the preseason opener.
The notorious Chaz Green, who has played guard at times, could also be the beneficiary of the open roster spot.
Damien Mama, an undrafted free agent in 2017 who Dallas added this offseason, is the only other guard currently on the roster. We should get to see more of him as the preseason continues.
Marcus Martin's availability, or lack thereof, and how it ultimately impacts the roster will be determined in the coming weeks.
LB Jaylon Smith 100% Healthy Entering 2018 Season
If you need any more reason to be excited about the Dallas Cowboys upcoming 2018 season, then look no further than their 2016 second-round draft pick, Jaylon Smith. His comeback story from the devastating knee injury he sustained in his last collegiate game at Notre Dame has been well-documented, but recent news suggests his journey has finally come full circle.
Once considered a top-five pick, Smith saw his draft stock plummet due to concerns he may never be able to step foot on the field ever again. Fortunately, the Dallas Cowboys were willing to gamble he would be able to make a full recovery and once again become the player he was with the Fighting Irish.
The long and grueling rehab process couldn't have been easy to endure. Jaylon Smith was forced to pretty much redshirt his rookie season and played on a pitch count Year 2 while he continued to rehab, waiting for nerve regeneration that may never fully heal.
Luckily for him, he joined a team with a really good support system both on and off the field. A support system that just so happened to include his brother, Running Back Rod Smith. It's that support system that could have made a huge difference in his approach to rehab. An approach that may have finally paid off.
All reports indicate Jaylon Smith is 100% healthy once again, or as close to it as possible. Rod Smith, his brother, said Jaylon is back to being as good as he was at Notre Dame. Jaylon however said he is even better than he was. But, they are not the only ones weighing in on Smith's health.
Scouting Director Will McClay went on 103.3 FM ESPN Radio Monday morning and declared LB Jaylon 100 percent healthy from the injury he suffered in college that kept him out his rookie season in 2016 and had him on a pitch count in 2017.
Will McClay isn't the only one that has noticed a difference in Jaylon Smith. Head Coach Jason Garrett has said Smith has grown leaps and bounds from last year and are treating him like a player with no limitations.
"Again, he worked hard in his rehab. Coming into this off-season he was able to take that brace off. I think that's freed him up a little bit," Garrett said.
"And he just looks much more natural. So again, you'll have to ask him that very question, but from our point of view, he looks like he's moving around really well, changing direction really well, making a lot of plays. I think he's gaining more confidence with each day. We really don't have a plan for him right now. He's full-go and ready to practice every day with no limitation."
All of these accounts certainly make it sound like Jaylon Smith's arrow is trending upwards and that he is as healthy as he has been since joining the Dallas Cowboys.
Luckily, we don't have long to see him in action. I don't know about you, but Thursday night when the Cowboys take on the San Francisco 49ers in the Week 1 of the NFL Preseason can't get here soon enough.
Are you excited to see a 100% healthy Jaylon Smith this season?
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