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49) Is Less Production Better For Tony Romo And The Offense?


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

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

As we count down the days to camp, the writers of will take a different question each day concerning the team.

With 49 days until Dallas takes the field in Oxnard, Calif., today's question centers on

49) Is Less Production Better For Tony Romo And The Offense?

Yeah, the expectations are sky-high for Tony Romo – that much has been obvious since the Cowboys missed the playoffs, and even more obvious since Romo signed his $108 million contract in March.

Logic says that for that kind of money, you'd love to see Romo improve on his 4,903 yards from 2012, and you'd certainly love to see more than 28 touchdowns. Especially in an era when 5,000 yards and 50 touchdowns are attainable goals for the game's top quarterbacks.

All that said, balance is a pretty hot topic around Valley Ranch these days – particularly with the way the Cowboys struggled to run the ball last year. The 8-8 campaign was Romo's highest yardage total by 500 yards, and it was his third-best touchdown total.  But the Cowboys still ran the ball 31st in the league, and they missed the playoffs.

This isn't really groundbreaking territory, but efficiency seems far more important to Dallas' hopes of winning a championship. Go check the stat-heavy resumes of the likes of Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers.

For all the milestones and accolades, to a man, those quarterbacks won their championships when they were a vital part of a balanced, efficient offense, rather than a one-man aerial assault.

He might be making more money, but toning it down from 4,900 and focusing on balance is probably the better move for Romo in 2013.

Sticking with our numerical journey to training camp, let's take a closer look at the number 49:

  • Not many numbers are less common on the Cowboys' roster than No. 49. It has only been worn by three players for a grand total of four seasons. The only numbers with fewer assignments are No. 8, worn only by Buzz Sawyer and Troy Aikman, No. 13, won only by Jerry Rhome and Mike Vanderjagt and obviously No. 74, which has only been worn by Bob Lilly.
  • Of the Cowboys to sport No. 49, only one spent more than a season with the team. Brett Pierce was on the roster for two seasons. The other two, Kent Dean and Johnny Huggins, lasted just a year each.
  • The Cowboys have drafted several players 49th overall. Most recently was Georgia linebacker Randall Godfrey in the 1996 NFL Draft. Godfrey played four seasons for Dallas, amassing 306 tackles and two interceptions. He started as the team's strongside linebacker for the most part of three seasons before switching to middle linebacker for his final year with the Cowboys.
  • Eddie LeBaron submitted the first and worst quarterbacking season in Cowboys history in 1960. His 12:25 touchdown-to-interception ratio wasn't great. His completion percentage of 49.3 percent is the worst in franchise history.
  • Much is made of how often Tony Romo was sacked in 2012. But the highest sack total allowed by a Cowboys team in the modern era came in 2005, when Drew Bledsoe was taken down 49 times.
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