Soon after the Dallas Cowboys finished the 2012 regular season 8-8 and out of the playoffs for the third straight year, owner Jerry Jones vowed that big changes were coming. On defense, those changes are glaring, with Dallas switching to a 4-3 after changing coordinators. But on offense, things remain murky in Big D.
It's beginning to look as though the biggest "change" the Cowboys will undergo on offense is a transition of power from Jason Garrett to Tony Romo.
Romo—as I'm sure you've heard—is planning to play less golf, and Jones has made it clear that he wants Romo to increase his office hours to Peyton Manning-like levels. He reportedly played a role in drafting Gavin Escobar and Terrance Williams, and there's even talk that he could gain some play-calling duties.
This isn't surprising. After all, Romo was signed to a fresh seven-year, $119.5 million contract earlier this offseason, indicating Jones believes he can handle an increased workload. But by practically turning the 33-year-old into a player-coach, the Cowboys could be pushing it.
The primary pitfall associated with multitasking is that it essentially limits the time and effort one can spend on his top priority (in Romo's case, quarterbacking). The Gladwellian idea of focusing solely or primarily on what you do best seems more prudent than the jack-of-all-trades approach.
Just because something works for Peyton Manning doesn't mean it'll work for Tony Romo.
More acutely, Rick Gosselin of the Dallas Morning News wonders if Romo's increased role in game-planning and/or play-calling could have a negative impact on an already-unbalanced offense:
Jones also wants Romo involved in the offensive game-planning. He wants his quarterback huddling with coach Jason Garrett to make sure the calls on the weekly play-sheet best complement his skills. What's good for Tony Romo must be good for the Cowboys, right?
I'm not sure this is the path the Cowboys should be taking.
The more Romo is involved, the more the football is going to be in the air. There isn't a quarterback at any level of football who wants to hand the ball off. They all want to show off their arms.
The Cowboys passed on 66.2 percent of their offensive plays in 2012, which was the second highest percentage in the league. Of the six NFL teams above 63 percent in that category, zero made the playoffs. Dallas ran the ball only 355 times, ranking ahead of only Arizona in that field. None of the bottom five offenses in that category made the postseason.
Head coach Jason Garrett already has a terrible reputation for throwing the ball too often to keep defenses guessing, but shifting some of those key duties from a former quarterback to a current quarterback might not be a remedy.
More focus from Romo sounds like a good thing, but if the 'Boys are going to remain stubborn in terms of their play selection while possibly spreading their franchise quarterback too thin, these changes could blow up in their face.