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Scout's Big Prediction: Romo Will Lead Team Back To Playoffs
The last two seasons have been difficult ones for Tony Romo and the Dallas Cowboys when you look at the big picture. The disappointment of two opportunities to win the division and secure a playoff spot were crushed by longtime rivals on the road. The team as a whole did not play well against the Giants on that afternoon in 2011 in New Jersey and in the defeat to the Redskins last season, Romo who for the most part carried the team on his back the majority of the year, had one of his worst games. While standing in that locker room at FedEx Field, I could see the pain on Romo’s face of the failure of another missed opportunity. Good or bad, quarterbacks in this town are measured on the success they have on the field and by looking at Romo, he was well aware of that.
Last week, on DallasCowboys.com, Rowan Kavner and I did a piece that was Point/Counterpoint on the number of games that the Cowboys would win this season. I took the point that this squad would win 11 games this season. I based my belief on what I thought would be the overall health of the team but also the type of players that are on both sides of the ball. To be honest, there is no way that this team should have won 8 games with all the injuries but they did which is a credit to the coaches and players that were healthy enough to play.
As I looked toward 2013, there have been changes in regards to defensive scheme, offensive play caller and the growth of some key players but the one thing that has remained consistent, has been the quarterback and that really is the bottom line why this team can win 11 games. As critical as we all tend to be towards Romo, I just couldn’t imagine what this team would be like if he wasn’t under center? When I worked here in the scouting department, we didn’t have a quarterback until he came along and our record reflected that. Without him in the lineup, I have a strong feeling that this team would be facing a situation where you had no hope of having any success like we did under Dave Campo which was a terrible, helpless feeling.
For this team to win 11 games, it must remain healthy because I feel like that the skill players on offense and the defense can carry this team. Where Romo can do his part for the club is to cut down on the interceptions. When you just study the numbers, He is a top ten passer in the majority of the statistical categories: touchdowns, completion percentage and yards per pass but what was the killer for him and the club last season was he was tied for first in the league in interceptions thrown with 19. Just to give you an idea, Robert Griffin III had a total of six but if you want to take a look at a quarterback with a similar number of attempts, Aaron Rodgers threw the ball 24 less times than Romo, but only had nine for the season. In four losses, twice to the Redskins, Bears and Giants, Romo had 14 interceptions. If you look at his career in games where he throws one or less interceptions, his record is 51-24 while if he throws more than one, he is 4-14.
I believe these interception numbers will come down for a couple of reasons. There were too many games where the team was behind and Romo had to put the ball in the air to try and come back. I believe the defense will do a much better job of not allowing games to get away and the second is that Bill Callahan will be more willing to try and stick with the running game and establish more of a balance to the offense which if successful will take pressure off Romo from having to attempt so many passes but make no mistake about it, this team will win 11 games because of this quarterback.