DETROIT -- Jerry Jones has said the biggest disappointments he has had as the Dallas Cowboys owner and general manager have been the past two seasons in which Tony Romo has played so well and the organization has nothing but 8-8 finishes to show for it.
What do you think Jones is thinking today?
Through eight games, Romo has 18 touchdown passes and only five interceptions. You don’t need to be a math major to extrapolate that over a full season as 36 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. The 36 touchdown passes would match Romo’s career high and the 10 interceptions would be his second fewest in a full season since becoming the starter.
And at 4-4 at the midway point, the Cowboys are staring at a third straight 8-8 finish. The only difference is that this year 8-8 might be good enough to win the NFC East and host a playoff game at AT&T Stadium.
Jones gave Romo a six-year extension worth $108 million and guaranteed the quarterback $55 million in the offseason believing Romo had seasons like this in him.
It has not been perfect by any stretch. Since putting up 48 points and 522 yards against the Denver Broncos on Oct. 6, the offense has sputtered even if the Cowboys have won two of their last three games and found an improbable way to lose Sunday against the Detroit Lions.
Romo completed only 14 of 30 passes for 206 yards against the Lions but he did have three touchdown passes. He wasn’t sacked for the first time this season but he was constantly under duress. The running game remains an issue, as always. The third-down offense has been bad. They have converted more than 45 percent of their third downs in just two games this season.
Yes, the game today is about the quarterback, but Jones should realize Romo can’t do it by himself.
The roster is flawed because of poor drafts and free-agent signings. The trade deadline comes Tuesday and the Cowboys will be hard-pressed to make a significant move because of their salary-cap situation. Jones has paid the Cowboys as if they have been a Super Bowl contender, pushing them against the cap only to see them miss the playoffs in four of the last five situations.
How the Cowboys manipulate the cap is fine as long as you have a team that is contending for championships.
The Cowboys haven’t and now they somehow need Romo to do more in the second half of the season.
If he doesn’t, then you get the feeling Jones will be lamenting another season in which his quarterback played so well only to get nothing out of it.