Dallas Cowboys QB Tony Romo: Good Contract, Great Player, Bad Coach, Porous Line

By Mark Donatiello
Matthew Emmons – USA TODAY SPORTS

Tony Romo will probably always be best known for fumbling a game-winning field goal snap in the playoffs, untimely blunders to lose games and briefly dating Jessica Simpson. As the quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys, he takes more than his fair share of criticism. Though much of it is deserved, so too is Romo’s gaudy six-year contract based on his accomplishments as a premier passer in the NFL. Tony Romo is a great quarterback, but the victim of a bad coach and a terrible offensive line.

Jason Garrett‘s time management and play calling have been atrocious since taking over as head coach. He fails to provide a balanced enough attack to compensate for the mediocrity of his linemen, which puts unnecessary pressure on Romo. Garrett’s play calling lends to late collapses, and his inability to keep pressure off of Romo leads to interceptions and mistakes.

Because Garrett’s predictable play calling leaves Tony Romo out to dry, a porous offensive line is exposed. Romo scrambles and makes exciting plays that few other quarterbacks could even attempt while under a constant rush. The Dallas Cowboys certainly have weapons that make Romo’s life a bit easier, particularly Jason Witten and Miles Austin. But beyond skill-position players, Romo carries the Cowboys offense.

Though he’s failed under pressure against the game’s elite, his numbers are fantastic. Despite an incompetent head coach, an obnoxious owner and a total lack of protection, Romo has thrived in Dallas. While he only has one playoff victory, he is by far the most accomplished passer in Dallas Cowboys history.

Four seasons with more than 4,000 yards passing, a 2:1 touchdown to interception ratio, and a 95.6 quarterback rating prove Romo’s worth. Romo’s name appears in the franchise record books ahead of Cowboys legends like Troy Aikman and Roger Staubach. He deserves a better line, needs a more consistent running game, and would benefit immensely from a better coach — but he also deserves the contract he got this offseason.

The Dallas Cowboys have certainly struggled over recent years, but it’s anyone but Tony Romo’s fault. With no other legitimate options, 108 million dollars for arguably the best passer the franchise has ever had is perfectly reasonable. Now it’s time to protect Dallas’ mercurial investment.

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