Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Should the Offense Adjust for Romo's Injury?

Heading into the Monday night game against the Redskins there has been some speculation about the status of Tony Romo for the game. But let's be real here. Tony Romo is playing. There isn't much of a chance that Romo will be forced to miss the game due to the injuries he sustained in the 49er game.

And there is good reason Romo is playing. The team needs him on the field. Can they win without him? Yes. But the odds of winning without Romo on the field drop dramatically. And as nice as it was for the Cowboys to get their first win of the season they can't afford to lose any of the winnable games on the schedule if they expect to compete for a playoff spot.

So let's go under the assumption that Romo is playing. Does Jason Garrett adjust the game plan to try to protect Tony Romo? I'm sure he will try. Conventional wisdom would say that you run the ball more and do a lot more max protect in the game plan to limit the hits that Romo takes.

That's all fine and good but the Cowboys have been terrible running the ball this season so far. And running a max protect protection scheme means that you usually only have three receivers out in routes on any given play. That requires your receivers to be able to regularly beat a double team. Miles Austin is likely out. The only hope for a receiver who can beat double teams is Dez Bryant getting back on the field this week. I think Dez playing and playing with a little spring in his step will be the key to the success of the offense this week.

I think Jason Garrett is going to try to call a conservative game that protects Romo. But that game plan will only last as long as the Cowboys are able to keep the game close. If the Redskins find a way to get a lead more than 7 points I expect that the Cowboys would be forced to open up the offense. Of course that would open up Romo to more hits.

Hopefully the running game can finally find its way this week against the Redskins. And hopefully Dez Bryant can take over as the #1 receiver who can keep the Redskins from over-committing to stop the running game of the Cowboys. Otherwise it is going to be a tough game to win with no true threat at wide receiver and a quarterback who is only one good hit away from heading to the locker room for the evening.


  1. Reasons for optimism:

    The Jets and the 49ers are two of the better defenses in the league. Of course, the Jets defense has carried their team to the AFC Championship two years in a row and the 49ers haven't allowed a 100 yard rusher since 2009.

    The Redskins on the other hand are giving up almost five yards a carry. Expect Jones/Choice/Murray to be up in them guts for four quarters.

    Meanwhile, the Redskins have yet to play a real defense. The Giants are banged up as bad as the Cowboys are, if not worse, and the Cardinals are -- well -- the Cardinals. Yet the Redskins could barely eek out twenty-two points to come from behind.

    I know the Cowboys are fighting an uphill battle. But I think they have a solid chance of winning this game and I have a feeling they will.

    Of course, I always have that feeling. :)

  2. Romo will likely play with an intercostal nerve block to give anesthesia to the broken rib Monday night. Dr Pullen posts on this procedure on his blog. The pain relief may be better than you would think.