My latest Running the Numbers post is a breakdown of Tony Romo’s preseason.
Through three preseason games, Romo has passed the ball on 64.7 percent of the first-team’s snaps. That’s a high rate, but a good one, and one I’d love to see continue into the regular season.
Romo was again excellent against the blitz on Saturday night. I tracked the Rams as sending five or more rushers after Romo on five occasions. The Cowboys passed each time, and while Romo completed only two of those throws, a pair of them were dropped (one by Kevin Ogletree on third down, and the other by John Phillips, although I’ll never admit he really dropped the pass that was reviewed and overturned).
Read more at DallasCowboys.com.
Over at Dallas Morning News, I just posted my first “DOs and DON’Ts” feature for the Cowboys’ Week 3 preseason tilt with the Rams. Here’s a preview:
DO run a lot of double-tight sets.
Through two preseason games, the Cowboys’ first-team offense has run just six double-tight end sets, representing only 29.0 percent of their plays. It will be interesting to see if the loss of Martellus Bennett equates to fewer two-tight end formations during the regular season.
On Saturday night, however, I’d place both John Phillips and rookie James Hanna on the field at the same time on numerous occasions. I know those guys aren’t Jason Witten, but the Cowboys’ offensive tackles are going to have their hands full with perhaps the league’s most underrated defensive end duo. That tandem is led by Chris Long, who pressured the quarterback more often than any player in the NFL last year.
Plus, double-tight sets with max protection could allow the ‘Boys to take some shots downfield—something they should be doing more often anyway.
Check out all of my DOs and DON’Ts here. I’ll once again be doing these throughout the regular season.
I’ve written about five articles this year on why the Cowboys should throw deep more frequently. This one is the culmination of those:
I’ve tracked all of Romo’s throws from the past three years by location and distance. The peak is on throws of 20-plus yards to the right side of the field. Although those throws represent just 4.0 percent of his passes, Romo has amazingly racked up 17.1 percent of his touchdowns in this area.
Overall, Romo’s passer rating on deep passes is 114.3 since 2009—superior than the 103.6 rating on intermediate throws and the 97.0 rating on short throws.
Read the article at Dallas Morning News.
In my latest installment of “Breaking Down the ‘Boys” at Dallas Morning News, I previewed the Cowboys’ Week 2 preseason tilt with the San Diego Chargers, breaking down five things to watch.
5. Will the Cowboys continue to throw deep?
On Monday night, Tony Romo threw the ball at least 10 yards on three of his six passes, and two of them sailed 18 yards or more. That’s something I love to see, considering only 6.6 percent of Romo’s 2011 passes traveled 20 or more yards—good for just 37th in the NFL.
Romo was absolutely dynamite on deep passes last season, racking up a 55.2 completion percentage and 125.4 passer rating on throws of 20-plus yards. Even with the shaky offensive line, Jason Garrett should be dialing up more bombs.
Read the entire article.
Over at Dallas Morning News, I just published the second article in my “Breaking Down the ‘Boys” column: a projection of Tony Romo’s 2012 season. I used a combination of regression analysis and Romo’s historical production to determine how successful he might be this year:
Last year, Romo tossed 32.6 passes per game. In 2010 and 2011, Romo averaged 34.4 and 41.2 passes per contest, respectively. Thus, even with the presence of DeMarco Murray, Romo is unlikely to see much of a dip in pass attempts.
The nature of Romo’s passes could change, however. Last season, Romo threw the ball deep (meaning 20-plus yards in the air) on only 6.6 percent of pass plays. That rate ranked him just 37th in the NFL. The lack of deep looks is one reason Romo’s 12.09 yards-per-completion from 2011 is actually below his career mark of 12.46, despite increased efficiency in all other areas of his game.
In 2012, you’re almost assuredly going to see more deep passes from the Cowboys. With Dez Bryant looking like legitimate No. 1 receiver material and thriving on deep passes, you have to think Romo’s deep ball percentage will increase near the 13.5 percent that it was in 2010. Plus, Jason Garrett will likely call for more deep looks simply because Romo has been successful with them. Last year, Romo’s 55.2 percent completion percentage and 125.4 passer rating on throws of 20-plus yards were both second-best in the NFL.
Read the whole article at DMN.
Another good sign for Romo’s career outlook. . .this graph.
Over at NBC, I broke down two plays from the Cowboys’ first preseason game. The first was the back-shoulder throw to Dez Bryant, and the second was the sack of Tony Romo:
The Raiders showed a blitz on the right side of their defense prior to the snap. Tony Romo adjusted by moving his protection to the left side of the offense. DeMarco Murray and Lawrence Vickers both dashed to the left side of the offense to help pick up the blitz. It was one of the few plays on which the Cowboys provided Romo with solid protection.
Immediately after receiving the snap, Romo noticed the Raiders indeed blitzed up the middle and to the left side of the offense, so he rolled out to the right to buy himself more time. This wasn’t a designed rollout, of which Jason Garrett has called fewer than one per game over the past three seasons.
You can read my entire analysis here.
It was nice to see Romo and Bryant hook up on the back-shoulder throw. That sort of play suits Bryant’s skill set very nicely, but Romo just doesn’t seem to throw many of them. We see signs of back-shoulder throws every preseason, but they never make their way into the regular season. Romo doesn’t seem like he struggles with the throw, so perhaps he simply needs to trust his arm and let it rip come September.
Cowboys’ OTA’s (Organized Team Activities) begin today, and one familiar face you can count on seeing is that of Tony Romo. Romo skipped his 9:57 am tee time this morning at the Byron Nelson Championship Opening Qualifying tournament to be with his teammates at Valley Ranch.
This may not initially seem like a newsworthy story, but we point it out because of all the flack Romo receives for “not being 100% committed to the Cowboys.” Following a bye week trip to Mexico and various celebrity girlfriends, Romo’s work ethic and focus have been called into question in the past.
Of course, we know Romo is all-in for the Dallas Cowboys. He is one of the hardest workers on the team and, as a superstar player, sets an example for the younger guys to follow.
His absence from the Byron Nelson golf qualifier in favor of OTA practices reinforces our notion of Romo as ultra-dedicated to this 2010 Cowboys team.
Of course, skeptics will point out that Romo should be there, and they are correct. He is the leader of a Super Bowl-caliber NFL team, and his presence in all offseason activities should be a foregone conclusion.
But NFL players, even quarterbacks, don’t always do what they should. Thus, it is not out of line for us to praise Romo’s decision. We may come to expect it, but only because of the level of dedication and focus he has displayed in the past.
Cowboys fans–you should be relieved in knowing that the most important player on your favorite team is also perhaps the most driven.