The aftermath of the Dallas Cowboys incredibly disappointing collapse against the Green Bay Packers last week is bleeding through into today’s rivalry game against the Washington Redskins, and we’ve already received a report from ESPN’s Ed Werder stating that the Cowboys coaching staff is expected to be fired if the Cowboys miss the playoffs. This means that the Cowboys have to win out, including next week’s all-important contest against the Philadelphia Eagles.
But there’s even more to the story and the issues within the Cowboys. Werder is also reporting that even though Tony Romo says that he was unaware of Garrett publicly announcing Romo’s decision to check out of a running play that led to an interception, there is still tension between both Romo and Garrett (presumably over that play).
ESPN analyst Tim Hasselbeck detailed that play, and I believe that Romo is not at fault for that interception. There were eight men in the box, so Romo was correct to check out of the running play into a play action pass. Per Hasselbeck, that was a play in which Romo had the option of picking two different plays based on the defense’s look, and he made the right play by choosing to pass. However, Romo didn’t throw the ball quickly enough to Miles Austin on the slant play, but, in his defense, he was preoccupied with expertly evading Packers star pass rusher Clay Matthews, who was unblocked on the left side of the formation (by design, since the original running play call was to the right side with trips on that side of the formation). Romo did everything right except for the pass, since he also didn’t lead his receiver enough.
Romo is the main reason the Cowboys are still in the playoff discussion, since the defense has been horrendous and the coaching has been suspect as well (just about every coach is on the hot seat). Romo’s stats are excellent, and even if he is at fault for that play, he isn’t at fault for that loss or the Cowboys issues this year. In fact, Jason Garrett should share much more of the blame than his star QB, and I would side with Romo if the tension between the two is over what happened last week.
Garrett should have never said anything that could have implicated his star QB, knowing full-well that the media and fans would blow that one play out of proportion. By not really even shielding Romo from the blame or going into further detail, he left Romo out to dry,and you just can’t do that to any of your players, especially not your star QB. Who is Jerry Jones more likely to side with? A head coach who has done a whole lot of nothing in his career, or a quarterback who is consistently one of the to ten passers in the league and received a massive extension in the offseason? This tension is an awful thing for the Cowboys organization at this point in the season, and it’s especially bad for Garrett’s chances of retaining the job; he almost has to make it to the playoffs in order to stay.