Tuesday, April 8, 2014
Is Tony Romo too close to Jason Garrett?
By Calvin Watkins
Former Cowboys defensive end and new SEC Network football analyst Marcus Spears had an interesting comment Monday night on Twitter that sparked debate on the social media site. It also prompted a written piece by Spears on the Dallas Morning News' website in which he questioned the perception of the relationship between Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett and quarterback Tony Romo.
During the NCAA men's basketball national championship game, Romo, Garrett, Jason Witten and DeMarco Murray were seen in Jerry Jones' suite watching UConn-Kentucky along with former presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.
Spears brought up the visit of Garrett and Romo to the Duke campus for a men's game in March. The former Cowboys defender's question about whether the relationship sends a bad message to the rest of the team: Are Romo and Garrett too close?
A quarterback should have a close relationship with the head coach. There are many examples of that being a successful union with other NFL franchises. But we've also discovered close relationships can fall apart, which was the case with Robert Griffin III and Mike Shanahan in Washington.
Each relationship should be judged on its own merit. Garrett-Romo is a good one.
The reality of the relationship is this: Garrett, entering the final year of his contract, needs Romo to buy into the program more than ever. And Romo, who has more say than any Cowboys quarterback since Troy Aikman, is doing whatever he needs to build his relationship with the head coach.
The career paths of Romo and Garrett are similar so far, that of undrafted players who fought for everything they got on the field.
Garrett seems to gravitate to players with similar backgrounds.
When wide receiver Miles Austin was dealing with his hamstring issues last season and reporters began to question his commitment, Garrett defended him. Garrett mentioned Austin being an undrafted player from Monmouth University and how, despite all the money he's made, knows his place on the team.
There's nothing wrong with having a good relationship with the head coach. I believe Garrett-Romo is genuine.
However, things can go bad quickly.
If the Cowboys don't make the postseason, Garrett is most likely gone as head coach. It wouldn't make sense to keep a man who has failed to reach the postseason four consecutive seasons in charge. If Jones was about to fire Garrett, would Romo step in and say something?
Garrett and Romo hanging in the luxury suite of the owner with Witten and Murray doesn't send a bad message. You just wonder, where was Dez Bryant? Where was Henry Melton? Orlando Scandrick? Travis Frederick? Doug Free?
You can't put 51 guys in there. Well, maybe in Jerry's suite you can, but solidarity is an important aspect for NFL teams.
You'd hate to think that something like coach and owner personal relationships with players would lead to hard feelings among a team.
The Cowboys' brass needs to make sure it never comes to that.