Tony Romo Injury: How Jason Garrett Must Cater Offense to Protect His QB
With injuries to three of their four best play makers on the offensive side of the football, Romo becomes even more important to the team's success than he already was.
Miles Austin aggravated his hamstring injury in the fourth quarter of Sunday's wild comeback win over the San Francisco 49ers, which Dez Bryant missed with a quadriceps injury.
Neither Austin or Bryant's availability for next Monday's tilt with the Washington Redskins is known yet.
Felix Jones separated his shoulder early in the game and his status for next week is in doubt.
With so many play makers hobbled, Romo will have to be better than ever to give the Cowboys a chance to win games.
He made a hero out of former reality television star and practice squad player Jesse Holley yesterday. Holley had a grand total of zero catches in his career coming into yesterday's game, but he left it with three grabs for 96 yards and a huge role in a great Cowboys victory.
But Romo can't make those kind of plays if he's not on the field. Romo was battered and bruised all game yesterday, and he suffered a cracked rib and punctured lung on the third play of the game.
Romo stayed in through the remainder of the first half, but didn't play for much of the third quarter. Jon Kitna threw two interceptions in place of Romo, and then the quarterback decided he had sat out long enough and came back into the game to will his team to victory.
How should Jason Garrett protect Tony Romo?
He took more and more hits as the game went along, and that simply cannot happen moving forward.
Romo simply needs more protection behind an offensive line that was starting two rookies and a second-year player coming into the season.
Tyron Smith has held up pretty well so far, but Bill Nagy missed this week's game and Phil Costa left the contest with an injury as well. Derrick Dockery started in place of Nagy while Kevin Kowalski came on in relief of Costa.
Jason Garrett will have to call more max protection pass plays, which means keeping either Jason Witten or one of the running backs in to block instead of sending them out in pass patterns.
Garrett will also have to mix in the running game more often to keep opposing defenses off balance. But without Felix Jones, that may prove difficult. Garrett has shown a reluctance to commit to the run in the past, so there is no reason to believe he'll do so without his number one running back.
Another solution could be rolling Romo out of the pocket and limiting his reads to one side of the field. This will enable him to make a quick decision and get the ball out of his hands before he gets hit by the defense.
The Cowboys will want to start running more screens to their wide receivers to get the ball to their play makers in open space. Quick throws means no hits on Romo, and that has to be Garrett's priority moving forward.
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