Jerry's Romo shell game continues
MAY 20, 2013 2:04p ET
Some of you recall the "Romo friendly" campaign a few years back. The idea was to build an offense that complemented Romo's unique skill set, which includes the ability to extend plays longer than most quarterbacks. Jones repeated the "Romo friendly" phrase so many times that it became ingrained in our minds.
Now, the Cowboys' unflappable owner has struck upon a new concept. He's basically turning the organization over to Romo. Jones asked his quarterback to look at film of potential draftees and later said he'd have an expanded role in the preparation of game plans this season.
To the embarrassment of many, Jerry also said he's now asking Romo to put in " Peyton Manning-like hours" at Valley Ranch. Of course, that implied Romo could afford to put in more time at the office. For a player that has been criticized (unfairly) for playing too much golf in the offseason, it just reinforced the perception that many fans believe is reality.
I don't believe for a second that Jones meant to criticize his quarterback. He was simply feeling the need to justify the $55 million in guaranteed money he just handed Romo. In reality, Romo has always had plenty of say in what goes into the game plan. It's not like head coach Jason Garrett wants to surprise him on a weekly basis.
And over the past couple seasons, Romo has naturally become a more vocal presence in the locker room. He's the one who organized workouts during the lockout and he's shown more of a willingness to call out teammates during practices and games. Romo is an enormous talent who's always been committed to his craft. It's not like he needs to make some huge change in order to have a successful season.
But Jerry's running a shell game with his quarterback because he feels like he has to create the appearance of change. He somehow believes that asking more from his quarterback, at least on the surface, will benefit the entire organization.
In doing so, Jerry continues to strip away the last vestiges of Garrett's authority. The owner is basically saying that his head coach hasn't deferred to Romo enough in the past. I think the message Jones is sending, wittingly or not, is the Cowboys' lack of success since Romo took over in '06 has more to do with Garrett than Romo.
Jerry has stepped in and hired assistant coaches for Garrett, so it's not a shock that he'd instruct him how to handle his starting quarterback. With Romo's new long-term contract, he has a lot more security than the lame-duck Garrett administration. In fact, I believe defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin and defensive line coach Rod Marinelli also outrank Garrett.
Last Tuesday, Garrett made an appearance at the Cowboys' annual golf tournament while Romo remained at Valley Ranch to help with the installation of the offense before the upcoming OTAs. It doesn't sound like Garrett believes that Romo's added responsibility is a new development.
"The thing that we want from our quarterbacks is we want them to be engaged and involved," Garrett told reporters. "Tony has always been that. Communication between all of our players and coaching staff is critical. It's certainly critical with that position.
"Tony has been around our offense a long time, and we think the lines of communication are open in a really positive way. So we'll continue to have it be that way, both in the offseason and during the season. Tony's worthy of that opportunity. It's really been that way since he's been our quarterback."
I think the Princeton man's basically trying to say that Romo's new duties are window-dressing. But then, I'd hate to put words in his mouth.
That's Jerry's job.
+ SHOW COMMENTS +