Romo vs Garrett: Who Deserves More Blame for the Cowboys Offensive Struggles

Bo Martin@BoKnowsBCBContributor IOctober 5, 2012

SAN DIEGO, CA - AUGUST 18: Quarterback Tony Romo #9 and head coach Jason Garrett of the Dallas Cowboys talk things over during a Cowboy drive in the fourth quarter against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium on August 18, 2012 in San Diego, California.  The Chargers won 28-20.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

It’s strange to look up the Cowboys individual team rankings and see that the they have the leagues best passing defense. 

Last season the Cowboys secondary consistently cost the team games.  It seemed like every time the offense was able to get the team the lead the defense would cough it up.  Tony Romo and crew constantly had to compensate for the defenses shortfalls.

Isn’t crazy how quickly things can change?

In 2012 the Cowboys have the leagues fourth ranked defense and the leagues 16th ranked offense.  The Cowboys rank 31st in the league with 16.2 points per game and 30th in the league in rushing. 

It has been the Cowboys lack of offensive explosion that has doomed them to two loses despite solid defensive performances.

Fans are quick to react and quick to blame.  Much of the blame has fallen on the shoulders of Tony Romo and Jason Garrett. While everyone deserves some fault there is a strong case for both, the coach and the quarterback.

So who really deserves the blame for the Cowboys offensive woes this season?

The Case for Tony Romo

Tony Romo burst onto the scene this season by completing 75 percent of his passes for 307 yards and three touchdowns against the defending champs.

Since then things haven’t been so great. 

Since the game in New York Tony Romo has only thrown two touchdowns compared to seven interceptions.  Five of Romo’s interceptions came Monday night in an embarrassing loss to the Chicago Bears.

It’s hard to blame Romo for the entire offenses struggles.  However, he has contributed 10 turnovers in four games.  Romo has the responsibility to read defensive alignments and make the proper adjustments at the line.  I haven’t seen him doing that. 

Romo’s biggest problem has always been trying to do too much.  For a guy who has weapons in DeMarco Murray, Dez Bryant, Miles Austin, and Jason Witten he sure doesn’t seem to trust anyone.   When he see’s plays breaking down he tries to improvise which often leads to fumbles or interceptions.

I recognize that Romo is constantly under siege because of a porous offensive line.  That isn’t an excuse for making clumsy plays that result in turnovers.  Until Romo learns to take a sack, he’ll never be the quarterback Cowboys fans hope he can become.

The Case for Jason Garrett

There was a time when Jason Garrett was considered one of the top offensive coordinators in the league.   In 2012 he is the most scrutinized offensive coordinator in the game. 

I’ve never agreed with head coaches also handling coordinator duties.  Garrett may be a brilliant mind but that’s a lot of responsibility for one man to have. 

Garrett’s biggest problem this season hasn’t been his offensive game plan.  I believe that Garrett still remains one of the smartest offensive coaches in football.  However, he is having a tough time handling situational play calling.

Garrett doesn’t understand situational football at all.  When his team gets good field position he gets more aggressive.  When they need to make up yardage they go conservative.  It almost seems like Garrett does the exact opposite that he should. 

Until Garrett learns how to properly execute an offensive game plan and utilize his personnel to their strengths the offense will remain ranked among the leagues lower tier.

The Verdict

While both are to blame in a great way I believe that Garrett deserves most of the blame.  I say this because Garrett is the coach, not just the head coach but also the offensive coach.

The responsibility lies solely on Garrett to correct mistakes and make play calls that don’t expose his offense’s weaknesses.  Garrett can’t throw the ball for Tony Romo but he can watch film and correct his deficiencies.   Garrett can’t run for Murray but he can figure out where Murray works best and put him in position to be successful.

In my job we call it “setting someone up for failure” and that’s exactly what Garrett has done for these offensive weapons.

I don’t believe that Garrett is a bad head coach.  I just think that he can’t be both the head coach and the offensive coordinator.  Garrett has made some great changes since taking over.  However, it’s his inability to dedicate his full time and effort to the offense as its coordinator and the team as its head coach that has put us where we are today.

Which just happens to be second worst scoring offense in the league.