Cowboys Need Confidence
So maybe Tony Romo isn’t the worst quarterback in the NFL like many of us may have thought – but I am still very concerned about Jason Garrett as head coach. The coaches that win championships and endure in the league are gamblers, gunslingers to some degree. With Brandon Weeden starting in place of Romo and possibly starting again this week in London, Garrett has to send the message to his assistants, as well as himself, that the Cowboys can’t play it safe with Romo out. Weeden played like he was wearing a straight jacket yesterday against the Cardinals. He barely had 100 yards passing after three quarters against a pass defense that is one of the lowest ranked in the league.
With DeMarco Murray and the offensive line struggling, the Cowboys needed Weeden to open things up but he was never allowed to do so. Scott Lineham calls the plays on game day, but Garrett is part of the weekly preparations and has to take the heat for putting in an ultra conservative game plan. By most accounts Weeden has a stronger arm than Romo so he can make the throws. What he needs is the confidence from the coaching staff that they believe in him.
A veteran with 20 starts under his belt, not to mention the fact that he’s practically older than most of the coaches not named Monte Kiffin, the Cowboys coaches treated him like a 21-year-old rookie, and it bit them in the ass against the Cardinals. Dez Bryant and Terrance Williams are a couple of pretty good receivers, but what did they do against the Cardinals’ low ranked defensive backs? Zilch. How did the Cowboys expect to win with not only such a weak game plan, but a complete inability to make the in-game adjustments?
Romo may surprise us all and be back next week, but the fact that he misses at least one day of practice each and every week tells us that his back is fragile, and we may see him on the sideline again before this season is over. If the Cowboys can put the performances of the past two weeks behind them, and Romo starts the remaining games, then none of this will matter. But if Romo misses any more time, then Weeden has to be given the keys to the car – not the Volkswagen, but the Porsche – if the Cowboys hope to seriously make a run at the playoffs. The have the right players, what they did the first seven games of the season will still work – the offense controlled the ball by running it, scored points and took the pressure off of the defense. It was a winning formula that they went away from against the Cardinals.
Whether it’s Romo or Weeden under center, Garrett has to send that message that the system works with whomever is playing. Playing scared of failure, like they did Sunday, will never work. If they lose, at least lose playing with confidence.