For a team that’s 7-3 heading into their bye week, I admit this is nitpicking. But if the Cowboys are to maximize this surprisingly successful start into a magical finish, they’ve got to be both more attentive to details and smarter.
As in, don’t play Tony Romo in garbage time. And immediately halt the trend of having Dan Bailey’s field goals blocked.
DeMarco Murray’s having a record-setting year and Dez Bryant reminded us of his potential in London and obviously this all comes to a screeching halt with Brandon Weeden taking snaps instead of Romo. But Bailey is one of the most dependable kickers in the league as a guy who routinely makes 50+-yard field goals look like extra points. As December nears the Cowboys won’t score 30 points a game. They’ll have to win a 20-17 game on a last-second field goal.
Bailey will be ready, but not sure about his field-goal unit. He’s only missed three field goals all year but two weeks in-a-row the Cowboys have had one blocked. It didn’t cost them either game – as they would have lost to the Cardinals anyway and they already led the Jaguars by three touchdowns. But if the Cowboys are to win tight games down the stretch, Bailey’s field-goal unit has to be as automatic has his right foot.
But regardless of Bailey’s miss that kept the score at 31-7, no way Romo should have been in the game late in the fourth quarter. The risk of him getting hit and hurt greatly outweighed the reward of him nursing home a blowout victory. If the franchise quarterback would have been seriously injured with a 24-point lead, Jason Garrett’s sense – if not his job – would be called into question.
One of the most successful coaches in sports is the Spurs’ Gregg Popovich and he rests his stars for entire games to ensure his best chances of winning a championship. Surely Garrett can see the advantage of allowing Romo to rest when he’s not needed.
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.