Time For Tony Romo To Refer To Parcell’s “11 Quarterback Commandments”

romo sackedWe all saw it Sunday and it was an ugly performance from Romo. Even the most avid Romo supporters who often defend and protect the Dallas Cowboy QB, are pointing the finger at him after this game. His three interceptions and poor decisions hurt the team and Garrett said it wasn’t because he was rusty either. Basically the coach said he just stunk up the joint or as close to that as you will ever hear an imperturbable Garrett say. PFT STORY

I’ve been quite critical of Romo’s play for the last couple years and in the preseason, I blogged of my observations of weaker throws and I just never bought into “Romo is all good to go” which Jerry Jones and the gang were selling. But kicking him now would be too easy.

After a poor performance in any sport, I’m a firm believer in getting back to the basics. It’s the most effective way to climb out of the hole he finds himself in currently.

HOF Coach of Romo:
Coach Bill Parcells is a Hall of Fame Super Bowl winning coach who was Romo’s coach as an undrafted rookie QB in 2003. It was Parcell’s first year as coach of the Cowboys. Prior to 2003, the Cowboys had three straight 5-11 seasons but in his first year, Parcells led Dallas to the playoffs. And he led them to the playoffs with Quincy Carter as their QB. Let that sink in! An automatic qualifier for the HOF in my opinion.

In 2004 Carter was released due to substance abuse. Parcells had this interesting comment about Carter,
“He was smart. He understood it. But I just couldn’t save his ass. I really couldn’t. “You just didn’t have the time. There he is, he got his team in the playoffs, he’s the starting quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys, he’s playing good, he’s improving, he can get out of trouble, he’s pretty smart, he can make almost every throw — and it’s just, some people just can’t fight the pressure to succeed. They just can’t fight it. It’s too much on them once the bar gets up a little bit. It’s too much. I don’t know all the problems or the demons exactly, but that’s what eventually took him down.”

Carter’s release helped open the door for a young gunslinger, named Tony Romo. Could he “fight the pressure to succeed?”

11 Commandments from Bill Parcell’s Bible of football:
Coach Parcells had a list of 11 quarterback commandments and evidently Romo keeps this list in his locker. Parcells gave the list to Romo prior to a MNF game in 2007 with the Bills, that will be remembered as a classic. In that game Romo threw five INTs and had a fumble but still led Dallas to an incredible 25-24 victory.

Tony, it may be time to get that list out and highlight a couple of them. COMPLETE LIST

Here are a few I recommend for Romo’s consideration.
1. Ignore other opinions – Press or TV, agents or advisors, family or wives, friends or relatives, fans or hangers on – ignore them on matters of football, they don’t know what’s happening here.

DTR Comment: This week everyone and their brother will have advice and criticism. The same people who told you how great you are when it was going good. May just want to turn off Sportscenter and sink yourself into focusing and preparing for the next game.

6. Be the same guy every day – in condition. Preparing to lead. Studying your plan. A coach can’t prepare you for every eventuality. Prepare yourself and remember, impulse decisions usually equal mistakes.

DTR Comment: I would add even with a huge contract be humble and remember what the heck got you here. And it wasn’t trying to be a hero. Football is the ultimate team game so trust your teammates and watch the impulse decisions.

If your back is OK like you say, then show up for EVERY practice and lead your teammates. If he isn’t able to practice, then someone else should start the game. No more special treatment.

9. Get your team in the end zone – passing stats and TD passes are not how you’re going to be judged. Your job is to get your team in the end zone and that is how you will be judged.

DTR Comment: Evidently Parcells came up with this one before fantasy football became so popular. When I read this one, I thought of the play Sunday where Dallas had a 2nd and 1 at the two and Romo decided to check out of the run to Murray into a pass play which resulted in a sack. The team had to settle for 3 points when they were in excellent position to tie the game at 7. Even if there are 11 defenders lined up in the hole, just give the ball to Murray. Trust your highly rated offensive line and get in the endzone. DON’T TRY TO BE A HERO.

I also think of the critical red zone interception when Romo appeared to be looking for his BFF Jason Witten when Harris was obviously wide open for a TD in the endzone. Don’t over think it, hit the open guy and score.

And last but certainly not least,
11. Don’t be a celebrity QB – we don’t need any of those. We need battlefield commanders that are willing to fight it out, every day, every week and every season and lead their team to win after win after win.

DTR Comment: I love this one from Parcells. In the off season I was critical of Romo attending high profile sporting events with Coach Garrett. Funny, it’s hard to picture Coach Parcells hanging with his QB at basketball games isn’t it?

The photo of Romo in the best seats at AT&T hanging out with owner Jerry Jones and a couple former presidents gives the impression this Cowboy QB has won super bowls and reached the highest point in his sport. But he hasn’t even been in the playoffs in recent years.

Tony-Romo-HeatAlso photos with high profile athletes (LeBron James) make Romo just another Johnny Football out there soaking up his five minutes of fame. See, rolling with champions doesn’t make you one it just makes you a groupie.

It all needs to stop because as the QB, you are leading guys into battle and they need a guy like them not a Prima Donna, lime light seeking, Kardashian.

Let’s keep it real Romo, you aren’t a super bowl winning HOF quarterback yet, so to quote the late Casey Kasem, “keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars.” Time spent at all the photo opportunity events is time you could spend getting better.

DTR Final Snap:
How Romo responds next week remains to be seen but it’s time to get that commandment list out and get back to football basics. It was Parcells that sagely warned:
“Success is never final, but failure can be.”


Jerry Jones is Speaking But Are You Buying it?

jerry_jones_draftWith live coverage of training camp by the NFL Network, Jerry Jones has been getting plenty of attention which he appears to enjoy. Recently he has commented on a variety of topics but as fans, are we buying into what Jerry is selling?

1. Jerry strongly believes that with a healthy Romo the Cowboys would have “definitely possibly” beat the Eagles in week 17 and made the playoffs. That belief played a part in his decision to keep Garrett as coach.
Buying or not buying?
Dishing the real: Not Buying
Sorry but I’ve seen too many previous seasons where Dallas lost the “play in” game with Romo on the field to believe it would have gone differently this time. That’s not to blame Romo for everything like some key injuries and a weak defense, but he was a healthy QB when they lost a few games in 2013 that they should have won like the Packers and Lions games for example. Win those games, and they are not in a must win situation in week 17. Romo supporters may buy this Jerry comment, but I’m not. Jerry let Romo’s injury give Romo and Jason a way out of taking responsibility.

2. Jerry said he has invested in the development of head coach Jason Garrett over the years and would “hate to deny fans that asset.” He also said Jason is better as coach now than before.
Buying or not buying?
Dishing the real: Not Buying
It’s OK Jerry, go ahead and deny us fans Jason we don’t mind. Jerry’s insertion of an unqualified Jason Garrett as coach has nothing (I repeat nothing) to do with what is best for fans. This coaching project or indulgence if you will, has been all about the fact that Jason is not a strong leader and allows Jerry to run everything and be the face of the organization in every way. Jimmy Johnson was a strong successful coach but that wasn’t going to last with Jerry. Same could be said for Parcells. See Jerry likes him a “yes man” and he has that now in Jason.

As far as Jason being better now, that’s debatable or actually perhaps laughable, because it seems to me, Jason has less responsibilities on the team than ever and typically that increases as a coach develops. Jason is surrounded by three coaches that have been head coaches before. (Monte Kiffin, Marinelli, and Callahan). Heck, Linehan was brought in to call the plays since Jason couldn’t handle that either. Jason’s clock management has been a joke and embarrassingly bad.

When Jerry speaks of doing what is best for fans, BEWARE!

3. Jerry says this season you will see more of the run game.
Buying or not buying?
Dishing the real: Not Buying
All indications are they intend to run more which they failed to do often last season finishing at the bottom of the NFL in run attempts. It cost them games. They should do it more and to be honest, I think the talk is sincere however I don’t think they will stick to the run in the heat of battle. And who knows if Murray will stay healthy?

Linehan, who came over from the Lions, is known to have pass happy offenses. I also believe even if they call a run play, their gun slinger QB will audible at the line to a pass play as he has done before without being held accountable. Bottom line, talk is cheap and they will do what they do when the bullets start flying.

4. Jerry says the defense is better right now than it was at the end of last season.
Buying or not buying?
Dishing the real: Not Buying
I’m not sure what Jerry is basing this statement on. They are trying to fill some big holes on the defensive line with Hatcher and Ware gone and has he forgotten that Sean Lee isn’t available and Spencer went on PUP? Perhaps this defense will be improved in 2014 but right now, I’m afraid realistically it isn’t much better.

5. Jerry expressed expectations that Romo would be the Cowboys QB for “years to come” as he held up four fingers to indicate at least 4 years. It was the reason he decided to pass on Manziel who he says was the highest player on their board at the time. Instead he went against his instincts and picked Martin.
Buying or not buying?
Dishing the real: Not Buying
I don’t believe Romo will hold up or last another 4 or 5 years as a QB in the NFL. Let’s see if he can make it through this one first. Jerry says that because he paid Romo like he will play until he is 50 or something. I think Romo’s health is quite questionable and now that he has a family, it changes things.

As far as the Manziel pick goes, just ask yourself if you think Manziel will be a better NFL QB than Weeden has been so far? If the answer is yes, then Jerry should have selected Manziel as Romo’s back up since Orton is gone. Evidently they don’t trust their own draft board and that’s not good.

6. Michael Irvin asked if the Cowboys will make the playoffs? Jerry said “yes”.
Buying or not buying?
Dishing the real: Not buying
Jerry gave this straight forward question little thought and quickly offered a knee jerk, yes. Ironically, immediately after saying yes, like right on cue, a horn blasted in the background at training camp which made it feel like a wrong answer had been given on a game show. VIDEO about the 6:30 mark.

Too many roster questions and a serious lack of depth combined with a brutal December schedule, make me skeptical of making the playoffs. Jerry says that every year to put butts in the seats at his stadium.

Jerry sells playoff hope like snake oil, but I’m not sure how much longer fans will be buying it.

Cowboys Training Camp Notes After 2 Days

Cowboys 2014 training camp

Cowboys 2014 training camp

The Cowboys training camp started in Oxnard, California Friday. They come in with many questions on the defensive side as they try to improve on a rough season last year.

Notes from the first two days of camp:

Not Active:
Anthony Spencer: As expected, DE Spencer went on the PUP list and probably will not be playing anytime real soon.
Ronald Leary: Went on the PUP list after straining a hamstring but is expected to return next week. Leary hurt his hamstring back in Dallas before camp actually. It occurred after head coach Jason Garrett wisely cancelled the condition test because he felt it was not worth the risk. But players decided they needed it and conducted it anyway. It brings up the question, “who is in charge of this team?” We have seen these kind of things before under Garrett’s leadership or lack of it. Last year when trailing by 32 points to the Saints, Garrett basically admitted that he should have removed Romo from the game but Romo insisted on staying in the game.
Brandon Carr: The high dollar corner has been a no show at camp so far as he attends to an unspecified personal matter. No reason for concern here yet, but stay tuned.

Rolando McClain: The Cowboys recent signee and possible replacement for Sean Lee at middle LB, was in court Friday for some misdemeanor charges. He was sentenced to 18 days in jail but that is being appealed. McClain participated in practices Saturday. Keep expectations low here but he may help them at some point during the season. I’m not yet convinced this guy is serious about turning over a new leaf in his life. We will see.

Bruce Carter has looked much more comfortable and confident at LB in camp than he did last year by all accounts. He needs to step it up this season and perhaps he will.

The Cowboys have used several different combinations at LB early in camp. I look for that to continue as they try to figure out the best three to put on the field.

Defensive Line:
Without Hatcher or Ware, the defensive line is younger and less experienced than before. Coach Marinelli begins the process of molding them into a unit. Some how it needs to play better this season.

So far Henry Melton has looked like he is ready to play after a knee injury last season. His movement in drills has been very good. That’s a good thing to see early in camp. Melton will play a critical role as the three technique on the defensive line.

Indications are All Pro tackle Tyron Smith has had no trouble blocking the 2nd round pick Demarcus Lawrence or Jeremy Mincey. Which brings up the question, is Smith that good or is this defensive line just not that good?

On one hand I think the Cowboys offensive line will be one of the better ones in the NFL this season on the other hand, I’m not convinced their defensive line is very good yet. A lot of work to be done on that defensive front in camp.

If there is one area that needs to show improvement other than the defensive line, it would be the secondary.
Mo Claiborne: Mo, an early pick a couple years ago, has a lot to prove and early word is he is healthy and playing tough so far in camp.

On Saturday he was mixin’ it up some with 2nd year WR Terrance Williams. Their battles were competitive and they continued after the whistles so to speak. It’s a good sign to see Claiborne getting after it this early. He personally needs a good season and the team needs it from him. Importantly, Mo seems to get it that he must deliver this season and he is practicing with a sense of urgency.

JJ Wilcox: Wilcox begins his 2nd year after a rookie season that would be best described as a “learning curve”. So far indications are he weighs less and is moving around noticeably quicker. Also seems to know where he should be in coverage which hasn’t always been the case. Wilcox is yet another guy who needs a good season. Looks like he is off to a good start and that is encouraging.

QB Tony Romo was very limited in practice Friday as he returns from back surgery. He did make throws on Saturday and word is he looked fine. Romo appears ready to go but they are bringing him along in camp at a methodical pace.

In drills, the Cowboys offensive line has been dominant for the most part. As mentioned earlier, Smith has been a human wall and the top pick rookie Zack Martin is making a successful move from tackle to guard. He has moved his feet well in drills and looks comfortable in pass protection.

The second year center Travis Frederick has been unbeatable in drills. It would appear the Cowboys offensive line will be their strength in 2014.

RB Lance Dunbar missed a large part of last season with an injury but in RB position drills, he was moving quite well. No signs that he has an injury as he navigated the rope drills smoothly and with quickness. I look for Dunbar to play a big part in the offensive scheme this season as a runner and particularly as a receiver out of the back field.

WR Dewayne Harris has been noticed in camp making catches and doing what my man Harris always does, make plays. He has even been running at times with the first offense. It would be good if they involved Harris more in the offense in 2014. A much under used talent last year IMO.

The Cowboys offensive line looks ready to go and will be a solid group in 2014.
The defensive line is young and unfamiliar with each other. A lot of work to do to get this group ready to play better this season. Good to see Melton moving well.
The defensive secondary looks improved already with Wilcox at safety and Mo getting after it at practice. They do need Carr to get back in camp right away.
The LB situation is totally up in the air at this point with many questions to be answered in the coming weeks. McClain showed up Saturday and appears ready to compete. Carter looks improved.
Romo appears right on pace in his recovery to be ready to go. Dunbar also appears ready too.

Four Big Questions for the 2014 Cowboys

DeMarco Murray

DeMarco Murray

We have seen the Cowboys 2014 schedule and it doesn’t look easy to try to improve on a 8-8 finish in 2013. Games against the tough NFC West teams and a stretch in December that can be summarized as “brutal”, await them. I look at four questions that will be critical for the Cowboys next season.

1. Commit to the Run Game:
Last season the Cowboys ranked 31st (second to last) in rushing attempts. They only had 94 rushing yards a game but it wasn’t because they couldn’t run effectively as they produced a respectable 4.5 yards per attempt. And Demarco Murray had an impressive 5.2 yard average while making the Pro Bowl with over 1,000 yards.

The problem last year was the Cowboys play callers would simply abandon the run during the course of the game. Just look back (if you can stand it) to the Packers debacle where Dallas had a nice 26-3 lead but foolishly went to the pass and ended up losing a game they should have won. I noticed that most of the Cowboy’s rush attempts occurred early in games during the season while late in the game, rush attempts were scarce.

In 2014 the Cowboys will put first round pick guard Zack Martin next to center Travis Frederick which should clear a nice path for Murray, but not if the play calling is allowed to get pass happy.

Garrett is bringing in a new play caller Scott Linehan from the Lions, where he certainly had a tendency to pass the ball more than run. Seems like they are putting gasoline on the fire. The Lions were at the top of the NFL in pass attempts while Linehan was in charge of play calling but at this early point Linehan is saying the right things about running the ball.

In regards to giving the ball to Murray Scott said, “That’s going to be our strength, being able to lean on that running game a little bit more than they have in the past.” It’s what we want to hear but to quote Mike Tyson, “Everyone has a plan ’til they get punched in the mouth.” It will be interesting to see if Linehan sticks to the run while in battle, and if Romo is not allowed to change from a run to a pass on every play.

There is no reason the Cowboys shouldn’t effectively run the ball next season but the question is will they commit to it for the entire game in 2014?

2. A Healthy Henry Melton:
The Cowboys defensive short comings in 2013 have been well documented in their first year of implementing a 4-3 defense. A critical piece of making Marinelli’s defense a success is having high productivity from the important 3 technique defensive tackle spot. Having a quick, athletic DT that can provide pressure up the middle is what makes this defense go and to address that need, Jerry Jones signed veteran DT Henry Melton.

Melton was a pro bowl DT for the Bears in 2012 before suffering a major knee injury in 2013. So far, Melton has sat out of OTA workouts to continue recovery but he is expected to be on the field when camp opens in July.

If the Cowboys get the 2012 healthy version of Melton this season, then it will make the entire defense better. Getting pressure from the defensive line should make the often exploited secondary in 2013, look much improved. Melton’s play will be critical to the success of the defense.

There is little doubt that a healthy Melton makes their defense better but the question is will Melton be fully recovered from the knee injury in 2014?

3. A Healthy Tony Romo:
QB Tony Romo missed the last game with the Eagles in 2013 with a back injury, and has been recovering in the off season. All indications are he is on course to play but no one really knows how he will hold up after taking some hits in the season. Having a backup plan for Romo if he can’t play, will be important for Dallas in 2014.

Jerry Jones passed on Heisman Trophy winning Texas A&M QB Johnny Manziel in the draft which displayed a big commitment to Romo and confidence that he will play.

Back up QB Kyle Orton has been a no show so far in OTA workouts and it appears that he plans to retire. It’s becoming clear that Dallas shouldn’t expect Orton to help them in 2014.

Jerry did sign veteran QB Brandon Weeden who would appear to be Romo’s backup at this point. In two seasons with the Browns, Weeden had a record of 5-15 as a starter and a dismal 71.8 passer rating. Perhaps a change in scenery could benefit Weeden but I’m not buying into it and think things could get ugly if Romo goes out with injury.

In 2014 Dallas is counting on Romo to be fully recovered and hold up for 16 games and if not, they are counting on Weeden to step in and get it done. I don’t feel good about either one of those things happening. Can Dallas win without Romo in 2014?

4. Get the Ball to Dez:
Dez Bryant enters the 2014 season as the main target for Dallas in the passing game. Bryant has all the tools to have a big season but it will be important for the Cowboys offense to not move completely away from Dez when he draws double coverage. Remember the scene on the sideline during the Lions game last year between Dez and Romo? It wasn’t pretty and the Cowboys lost yet another game they were in a good position to win.

Dez has the ability to use his size and strength to make catches in traffic and new play caller Scott Linehan made good use of WR Calvin Johnson while with the Lions. Johnson put tremendous pressure on opposing defenses and Bryant should be able to do the same but he can’t just disappear in games like he did too often last season.

There is no question Dez Bryant can be a tremendous weapon in the passing game which creates opportunities for other receivers. The question in 2014 is will they find ways to get him the ball even when defenses are trying to take him out of the game?

Final Take:
During preseason camp in July, it will be important to see how Melton looks. His play will be an important part of the defense returning to respectability. How Romo holds up to taking some hits will be important as I fear Jerry Jones doesn’t have a solid backup plan for a injured Romo.

We aren’t going to know how committed to running the ball new play caller Scott Linehan is until we see him perform under pressure in game situations. Based on his past and Jason Garrett, I look for Dallas to remain a pass happy offense.

Opposing defenses will focus on taking Dez Bryant out of the game but how the Cowboy offense keeps him involved will be very important to their success.

Jason Garrett Strikes Again: This Time He Puts his Curse on Duke

Jason Garrett and Tony Romo at Duke game

Jason Garrett and Tony Romo at Duke game

In a blog on March 18, I pointed out how the SMU basketball program suddenly became mediocre after a visit from Dallas Cowboys Coach Jason Garrett. Going 4-4 and missing the post season.

Well Jason wasn’t done yet casting his spell of mediocrity on college basketball programs and he even got a little help from the biggest choke wizard in the history of NFL football, by bringing along his QB Tony Romo to a Duke basketball game. In that game, Duke defeated UNC but since then, Duke went 2-2 (the mediocre curse from Garrett) including getting bounced out of the NCAA tournament in the first round by 14th seeded Mercer (credit Romo for the choke). Also choked in the ACC championship game against Virginia.

UPDATE: 5/17/14 Petition to keep Romo from Spurs game?

When I pointed out the SMU thing, I’m sure people shrugged it off as a coincidence but now maybe I’m on to something. Not being a fan of Duke, I’m glad Romo and Garrett did what they do to that over rated Duke program and hope they visit a game again next season but just do it sooner.

Why are Garrett and Romo touring the country attending sporting events like rockstars anyway? It’s as if they won the super bowl or something, instead of crashing and burning at the end of the season right on cue for another 8-8 finish and a playoff miss. Shouldn’t they be some where else evaluating NFL football prospects for the upcoming draft so they can actually make the playoffs?

What do Duke and the Cowboys have in common? A former Duke player purchased a lot of jewelry while in college, from the same company that Dez Bryant did while at Oklahoma St. Story HERE.

At this point, basketball coaches across America would be less frightened to see Jason Voorhees walk into their locker rooms than Jason Garrett.

Jason Voorhess

Jason Voorhess

Did Jason Garrett Hex the SMU Basketball Team on his visit?

Three consecutive 8-8 seasons.   Mustangs go 4-4 after visit. Coincidence?

Three consecutive 8-8 seasons. Mustangs go 4-4 after visit. Coincidence?

Back on February 12, Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett took his coaching staff to a SMU basketball practice to observe long time successful basketball coach, Larry Brown. It was to be an opportunity for Brown to show Jason and his guys who just finished 8-8 and missed the playoffs once again, how it’s done. A chance to pick Brown’s brain it was described.

“You just got to talk to him and have a conversation with him and take good mental notes,” head coach Jason Garrett said, “because when you go home, you’re going to take a lot of notes and remember what he was talking about, because it’s really valuable stuff.”

Well evidently Jason showed Brown how it’s done “the Cowboy way” instead or he just flat out put a hex on them because since that visit in February, the Mustangs basketball program went (wait for it) 4-4. Coincidence?

Worse yet, they were snubbed by the NCAA by not receiving an at large bid to the post season tournament (playoffs). A very disappointing finish to a promising season.

The Mustangs had been ranked 25th but lost their last 3 games including the first round of the conference tournament, which may have basically been a “play in game” for them.

Thanks Jason.

Winningest Coach after 56 games, Wade or Jason? #Who cares

Last week former Dallas Cowboys coach Wade Phillips (@sonofbum) took a run at current coach Jason Garrett by twitting:
Jason Garrett is tied with Wade Phillips for 56 games as the @dallascowboys head coach. Phillips: 34 – 22; Garrett: 29 -27. #suprisesMe

Well you can “#surprise me” that Wade even knows how to tweet and way to set the bar high Wade by comparing yourself to one of the most mediocre coaches in team history, Jason Garrett.

I would have figured if Wade tweeted at all it would be about his favorite watering hole to get beer in Texas or where he likes to go stuff that big belly of his with tacos. Can’t say I saw this coming.

I could see maybe Rob Ryan taking a cheap shot at Jason on tweeter but seeing how he still drives an old van from the 70’s, I doubt Rob is hash tagging anything yet. Let’s face it, when Wade starts tweeting, it may be an indication that this form of social media has been played and time to move on to the next thing. #myspace

As far as who was the best coach after 56 games? I would point out that Wade’s record was helped by taking over a team that Bill Parcells built since Wade went 13-3 his very first season. It went down hill quickly from there as Wade tried to be everyone’s buddy and run a Club Med version of preseason camp. Both coaches are equally mediocre in my humble opinion.

However, if one was compiling a list of past Cowboy coaches who have had the least impact to the team ever, for some reason, then these two would certainly make that list. Otherwise there is no debate to be had here that’s worth anyone’s time.

It’s a shame that Wade’s father Bum Phillips couldn’t have had twitter back in the day. Bum said things worth reading like when Costas asked him why he takes his wife on the Oilers road games? “She is too ugly to kiss goodbye”, Bum replied. #classic