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30) Will a Player-Coach Make The Difference?


IRVING, Texas – As the Cowboys focus on the offseason, training camp is still in sight.

Coming off two straight 8-8 seasons and three full seasons removed from the playoffs, the Cowboys have plenty of question marks surrounding them as they prepare for the 2013 season.

As we count down the days to camp, the writers of will take a different question each day that is hovering over this team.

With 30 days until the Cowboys take the field in Oxnard, Calif., today's question centers on Tony Romo's added duties:

30) Will a player-coach make the difference?

Dan Reeves, who holds the NFL record with nine Super Bowl appearances as both a player and a coach, was the third Cowboy to wear No. 30. He tallied 1,990 rushing yards and 1,642 receiving yards with an impressive 42 touchdowns in nine seasons as a tailback, receiver and quarterback.

More important for the purposes of the piece is what became of Reeves after he went down with a knee injury in the 1968 season. With talented runners behind Reeves on the depth chart, legendary coach Tom Landry asked him to take on a role as a player-coach, filling a role both on the field and on the sideline.

It sounds pretty familiar if you've been listening Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones talk about his new $100 million quarterback, Tony Romo.

The schpiel has been that Romo is taking on a new level of responsibility with his new contract. He's spending more time preparing the gameplan, inserting his input into the coaching scheme and implementing it on the field.

Romo wasn't able to practice during OTAs and minicamp, but he was certainly making his voice heard as he worked on routes with receivers and coached his tight ends and fellow quarterbacks. In this day and age of the NFL, you aren't going to see Romo with a clipboard and headset, and he certainly isn't going to be taking series off like Reeves did.

But the need for a player with that much knowledge and familiarity with the game is an undeniable value to an offense, and a team as a whole. Jones threw out Peyton Manning as an example earlier this offseason, and for good reason. [embedded_ad]

If Romo can attain that level of involvement and command among the team and the coaching staff, maybe he can begin to build his way toward Manning's nine career playoff wins.

Sticking with our numerical journey to training camp, let's take a closer look at the number 30:

  • The number 30, or XXX in this case, is a beloved number in Cowboys lore. Dallas downed Pittsburgh to win Super Bowl XXX – the franchise's fifth championship.
  • George Teague wore No. 30 during part of his tenure as a Dallas defensive back. He famously forced three turnovers in the Cowboys' 40-15 playoff romp against Minnesota during the 1996 season.
  • 30 is the third-highest number of passing touchdowns thrown by the Cowboys in one season, a mark set in 1980. Danny White was responsible for 28 of those scores – unfortunately, he also threw 25 picks. Glenn Carano threw the other two to help set the mark.
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