Ryan Mallett Could Replace Tony Romo as the Dallas Cowboys' Quarterback

By Jeric Griffin

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For those of you that tune into Back Sports Page Texas on Thursday evenings and have heard me talk with host Jay Maguire about the Dallas Cowboys’ quarterback situation, I’m curious to know what you think. Since we’re just making this a free-for-all, I guess I should share this with those who haven’t listened. With the Cowboys’ recent surge of a winning record over the past five games, the team is creeping up in the draft order. You’ll never guess what scheme Jay and I have cooked up for the Cowboys’ future. Trust me, it’ll floor you.

Now before all this “winning” business, when the Cowboys were 1-7 and still had Wade Phillips as the head coach, I talked with my college buddy Jered Hudson about the possibility of team owner Jerry Jones pulling another one of his Razorback stunts. I can’t complain about the last one; running back Felix Jones has turned out to be a pretty good pick. In Week 9 with that miserable record, Jered and I talked about the possibility of Jones replacing quarterback Tony Romo next season. Now before you roll your eyes and click on a different article, just hold on. At that time, the Cowboys were set up to get the first overall pick in the 2011 NFL draft. I asked Jered, “What if Jerry took University of Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett with the first pick next year?” To my surprise, Jered responded, “I definitely wouldn’t put it past him.”

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Even more to my surprise, Jay suggested that same scenario on my first appearance on Back Sports Page Texas, before I even mentioned it! I told Jay that we needed to hang out more often, and bless him for having me back on the show so many times since. Realistically, I knew it couldn’t happen because of the $8.5 million Jones dishes out to Romo every year. However, now that the Cowboys are rising in the draft order, the possibility is also growing. This past Thursday on his show, Jay brought up the topic once again. He suggested that after Romo’s supposedly season-ending injury and Jon Kitna’s solid play since then, might Jones trade Romo for the top pick and take Mallett?

Call me, crazy, but just like Jered said, I definitely wouldn’t put it past Jerry. After all that “I believe in Wade Phillips” crap and “I won’t fire him,” you can’t believe a word Jones says. I guarantee if I asked him about it, Jones would give that crooked grin and say something silly like, “That would be fun but…,” and then say Romo is his man and he’s sticking with him. But then Jones could very likely go out and do it and act like he never denied the possibility. So what if it did happen? I played against Mallett in high school as we both grew up in the Texarkana, Texas, area. Therefore, I can say first hand just how hard he can throw a football as I was drilled with one once while playing free safety. I can also say I’ve been impressed by Mallett’s play since he transferred from Michigan to Arkansas. He has already set something like 26 school passing records at Arkansas, so he’s not just another 6’ 7” laser-armed joke, right? Oh yeah, they don’t make those.

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One thing is for sure: if Mallett became the next quarterback of the Cowboys, there will definitely be a lot more deep pass plays. The main part of Mallett’s game is the cannon attached to the right side of his body that he uses to propel footballs 60 yards downfield to streaking receivers. Obviously, he wouldn’t come in and instantly be Peyton Manning, but he would throw the ball farther than 20 yards downfield four times as much as Romo. Don’t ask me why; I won’t say it Romo is timid or Mallett is awesome or anything editorial like that. However, I know a lot of Cowboys fans would like a change of scenery.

Here’s the deal: the Cowboys can easily win the Super Bowl with the current roster if interim head coach and offensive coordinator Jason Garrett will continue to call more running plays than passing plays. That’s exactly what he has done in all four of the Cowboys’ wins this season. With the trio of Marion Barber, Tashard Choice, and Felix Jones, the Cowboys can win it all with Kitna, Romo, Mallett, or whoever handing the ball off. But about the question at hand; do you think it would be a crazy move to trade Romo for a top draft pick and take Mallett? Please don’t throw in any other college quarterbacks’ names because a Razorback is the only one for which Jerry would pull something like this. Comment, please. Jay, Jered, and I are curious. Heck, Jerry probably is, too.

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