Injured quarterback Tony Romo of the Dallas Cowboys looks on against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Cowboys Stadium on October 31, 2010 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Some of you want to get rid of Tony Romo, the choker. Others want Jerry Jones the owner to fire his general manager. Me? If I could ask for one and only one change for the Cowboys in 2014 it would be…
Sometimes injuries are excuses, other times they are reasons. The Cowboys haven’t made the playoffs since 2009, and I contend that their health problems are more legit reason than lame excuse.
In 2010 Romo broke his collar bone and missed the final 10 games.
In 2011 Miles Austin missed six games and DeMarco Murray missed eight with various injuries.
In 2012 linebacker Sean Lee suffered a season-ending toe injury and Dez Bryant dealt with finger and back issues the final month.
And of course last year the Cowboys played an NFC East Championship Game without their quarterback or middle linebacker or starting cornerback Morris Claiborne.
"You have to be careful when you talk about injuries to make it not feel like excuses," head coach Jason Garrett said at last month’s NFL owners meetings. "Injuries are a part of the game. There are no excuses. They have been a factor on our football team. But they have been a factor for a lot of teams."
The Cowboys problem isn’t talent, its depth. Salary-cap mismanagement, talent evaluation and age have all contributed to a lack of production from second-team players. Dallas still has stars at important positions, but its margin for error and injury are minuscule.
But if they’re going to break their four-year streak of missing the playoffs, those stars – and not their backups – have to be on the field come December.
"We just got to make sure we do everything we can as organization, as a coaching staff as players on our team to minimize the injuries to the best of our abilities going forward," Garrett said. "It is better to have your starting players in: That’s why they are starters. Throughout the season and certainly at the end of the season when you are playing some of these big games that determine whether or not you make the playoffs."
This year, of course, Romo is recovering from back surgery. Keep that excuse, er reason, handy.
A native Texan who was born in Duncanville and graduated from UT-Arlington, Richie Whitt has been a mainstay in the Metroplex media since 1986. He’s held prominent roles on all media platforms including newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Observer), radio (105.3 The Fan) and TV (co-host on TXA 21 and numerous guest appearances, including NBC 5). He currently lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.