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Eatman: It's 2 Games, But Are We Seeing Identity Change?


IRVING, Texas - If you've watched even a handful of our radio show "Cowboys Break" over the last year or so, or read one of the columns – first of all, I appreciate it – you know my stance on Tony Romo and his role with the team.

I've argued for months now that until Romo and the Cowboys' passing game stops being the best part of the offense, the focus should be on fixing other areas before trying to replace him.

Over and over I've said this: Out of the five elements of a team – running the ball, passing the ball, stopping the run, stopping the pass and special teams – the best thing the Cowboys do is pass the ball. That's not even close.

And since that falls on Romo's right shoulder, that to me means Romo is probably the most valuable player you've got, along with Dez Bryant, too.

Look around the league and see how many guys you can say that about. Only a few teams can you legitimately say the best part of their team is their quarterback.

And that's the way it's been with Romo. But maybe it's changing – right before our eyes.

Everyone seemed to have issues with the way Romo threw passes around the goal line in the first game against the 49ers, which led to sacks and interceptions. He also did it this past week, but it worked with a touchdown toss to Bryant.

But overall, it was clear the Cowboys won that game Sunday because they dominated the Titans on the ground. How about 43 runs for 220 yards? Romo only threw it 29 times for 176 yards.

On Sunday, passing the ball certainly wasn't the best thing they did. It wasn't even second or third, really. Running the ball, stopping the run and also the pass were all better. And special teams was off the charts again, so technically, in that last game against Tennessee, passing the ball was the fifth-best (out of five) part of the game.

Now, I think we all know Romo doesn't look like himself. The velocity on his passes seems off, and he doesn't seem to have the same elusiveness in the pocket that has made him so good over the years.

Let's not forget that after two games in 2012, one Jason Witten didn't look the same after his spleen injury and we were all asking if he was done, too. He rebounded to set the NFL single-season record for catches by a tight end. [embedded_ad]

But I think the question needs to be asked: Is the running game the best part of the Cowboys' team right now?

That answer was undoubtedly "yes" on Sunday, but maybe it's the case moving forward.

And if that happens, is it truly a bad thing? Is it a bad thing for Romo? Here's a guy who is still returning from a back injury, and if he's got something he can lean on, why not take that approach.

Of course, teams watch tape. They see Murray running wild. They see Romo ducking down when a heavy rush comes up the middle. We all know the term "eight in the box" is about to be used over and over.

But, it helps to have a guy like Bryant on the outside. He'll help that situation if teams choose to play single coverage on him.

Still, even Romo knows all games won't be like Sunday. He knows there will be times when he'll be asked to let 'er rip. Every quarterback in the NFL – whether they're the best part of their team or not – has to go win games now and then.

I think the difference now is Romo might not be asked to do it every week. And that, should be a refreshing change.

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