Can Cowboys win Super Bowl with Tony Romo?
Romo has talent, needs run game
When the Cowboys figure out what kept them from making the playoffs for the third straight year, Tony Romo will not be among their biggest concerns. You will see that evidence this offseason when the Cowboys sign him to a contract extension that will make the talking heads scream even louder.
Yes, the Cowboys can win a Super Bowl with Tony Romo.
I believed that after he took over in 2006 and I believe that following another poor performance in a win-or-go home game Sunday at Washington.
Without Tony Romo this team doesn't win five games. With Tony Romo they are a playoff contender.
It's up to Jerry Jones to finally deliver on that "Romo friendly" promise he made a few years ago and provide the quarterback a better team around him. Not just better receivers, running backs, tight ends and flashy players on defense, but core players along both sides of the line.
The Cowboys rushed for a franchise low 1,265 yards over the course of a 16-game season in 2012. Emmitt Smith had seven seasons with more yards than that by himself in his Hall of Fame career. The last time the Cowboys had a top-10 running game was in 2009, which coincides with their last playoff performance and Romo's last Pro Bowl appearance.
He threw for 4,483 yards and had 26 touchdowns and a career-low nine interceptions.
If the Cowboys can run, then there's less pressure on Romo to do everything. And by and large he has had to do everything for this offense to succeed. Let's face it, the best the offense looked in 2012 was when they ran the hurry-up with Romo calling the plays on the field.
Jason Garrett preaches the desire to run the ball, but when you can't run, why run?
And this argument is by no means to make Romo more of a game manager.
It's not that at all. It's about making it more difficult for defenses. We saw the difference a little play action can make when the running game works.
So get better linemen up front, don't just hope for improvement from the incumbents or the young players.
And make the defense better. Yes, it was devastated by injury over the course of the year, but even when most of the starters were healthy it was not a game-changing unit despite the statistics. They rarely took the ball away, and they did not make enough crucial stops.
There are pieces in place but they need more, especially on the defensive line. If they re-sign Anthony Spencer, they could have the best starting linebackers in the league. They need to shore up the secondary as well.
The Cowboys do not need to have a perfect team for Romo to win a Super Bowl, but they need a better team.
He has the talent to get them there. It's up to Jones to get more talent around Romo.
Romo's time running out
Tony Romo is a good quarterback.
He's thrown for 4,000-plus yards four times in his career and for at least 25 touchdowns five times. He's never been benched since taking over for Drew Bledsoe during the 2006 season. He has beaten Eli and Peyton Manning, Brett Favre, Drew Brees and Donovan McNabb.
However, Romo isn't a quarterback who can lead a team to a Super Bowl.
You can blame the players around him or his 1-6 record in win-or-go-home games. That's when a quarterback is faced with a must-win situation to get into the playoffs or move to the next round.
The day after the loss, Cowboys coach Jason Garrett appeared to blame his quarterback for two of the picks. He said Kevin Ogletree ran the correct route but Romo might have misread the play and made a bad throw on the first one. On the second, Romo underthrew receiver Miles Austin on a deep ball, but Garrett said the receiver needed to fight for the ball.
The third one -- the one that basically sealed the victory for the Redskins -- was on Romo. Under pressure, Romo flung a pass to the flat that was picked off. Only this final interception led to a Redskins touchdown.
You have to question if Romo will ever solve these big-game failures. He had thrown just three interceptions the last seven weeks prior to the finale.
Then, with the season on the line, he matched that total in one game.
Romo is entering the final year of his contract, and the Cowboys will most likely extend him. He won't get a big-money deal like Brees or the Manning brothers. Why should he?
As we said, Romo is a good quarterback, but his failures in big games leave too many concerns lingering about his ability to lead a team to a Super Bowl. Romo will be 33 next season and he'll have a young corp of players around him who might need a younger quarterback.
Romo's time is running out on bringing a championship to Dallas. Some might say his time is already up.
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