There are many reasons to complain about Tony Romo. He fumbles. He throws interceptions. He’s got a big nose. Seriously. Look at it. The guy belongs on a Froot Loops box. But before you go calling for an end to the Romo Era, keep in mind that he now presides over what is now, at least statistically, the league’s most prolific offense.
Yes, the stats are in after Week 5, and your Cowboys now boast the league’s “best” offense. The Cowboys lead all teams with an average of 420 yards per game. Better than the Saints. Better than the Colts. Better than anyone. They rank eighth in total passing yards with 259 yards per game, and third in rushing with 161 yards per game, not bad considering the injuries in the backfield. And they average 6.8 yards PER PLAY. Would the Cowboys maintain these averages with Jon Kitna at the helm, as the ever-so-delightful Jay Mariotti has demanded? Um, no. Not at all.
So that’s the good news. Now here’s the bad. As you may have surmised, the Cowboys rank third in total penalty yardage. They have the league’s sixth worst turnover ratio. They’re in the bottom third of the league when it comes to holding onto the football. They have the league’s 28th rated pass defense. And, of course, they’re in 3rd place in their division and needed overtime to beat a horrid Chiefs team last week and barely preserve a winning record.
In other words, the stats prove what you already suspected about these Cowboys: that they are a team that is both remarkably talented and remarkably stupid. It suggests that the Cowboys have all the components to field a championship team, but lack the discipline and leadership to make that a reality. That’s what makes them so vexing to watch. There are several points during any Cowboys game where you tend to ask yourself, “Wait, how are they not winning this game by 28 points?” That’s never a good sign.
Some of this can be attributed to Romo. He’s a good player prone to fits of unconscionable sloppiness. But it’s no coincidence that his penchant for careless play has blossomed under Wade Phillips’ stewardship. This was the year Wade was supposed to get tough. Shocking that he remains as soft and spineless as ever. Thus, his team remains a batch of underachievers. And, unless things change, that will be the story of the Cowboys all season long: a potentially good team that continually manages to get in its own way.