See, my theory is that Tony Romo being injured caused more problems for the Cowboys than in just the three games he missed. Sure, suffering through the play of Brad Johnson and Brooks Bollinger was bad, but nobody seemed to catch on to just how limited Romo was after he came back.

Most people can tell you about the split he wore on his hand, and how that did affect his game, but overall, the split couldn’t have been the cause for his troubles after his return. Just look at the numbers from the season and you can see that before Romo’s injury, he played a lot better than he did after. Just for the record, the before represents the 6 games he played before, including the loss to Arizona where he was injured. The After represents the 7 games he played starting with the second Washington game.

Tony Romo Yds. YPG Comp. % TD INT Fumb Turnovers Sacked Rating
Before 1,689 281.5 64.2 14 5 6 11 7 103.7
After 1,759 251.3 60.1 12 9 7   16   13 82.9

The only real confusing statistic there is that he had more yards after his injury, but remember he only played 6 games before, and 7 games after. His average yards per game tells the story better, but looking at his average yards per completion is the most telling.

Before his injury, he averaged 13.2 yards per completion, and never had an average below 10.7 or above 15.3. After his injury, his average per completion was only 11.7 yards, with his low and high being 8.7 and 15, respectively.

Now those numbers show that Romo was obviously different after returning from his broken pinkie finger, but it wasn’t just his injury that caused problems. Another injury that compounded the affects of his injury was that to Pro Bowl Punter Matt McBriar, who was also injured in week 6 against the Cardinals.

He was averaging 49 yards per punt, and his replacement, Sam Paulesque only averaged 41.8. Sam did punt the ball twice as many times as McBriar did, but looking to McBriar’s numbers from last year shows that he punted 10 more times than Paulesque did and still averaged 47.1 yards. In a game where field position means so much, this is a huge statistic.

During the same time frames of before and after Romo’s injury, the running game played a part as well. Never mind that Felix Jones didn’t take another snap after that Arizona game. The Cowboys ran the ball an average of 23.5 times per game before, and 20.8 times per game after Romo’s injury. As we all know, the primary job of a defense is to make a team one dimensional, and these numbers clearly show that once Romo came back, this team was forced to rely on its passing game more.

That also lends to the increased number of times that Romo was sacked after his injury than over the first 6 games of the season.

So when someone says that every team sustains injuries in a season, I have to agree, every team does; just look at New England. But unlike the Patriots, who only lost one key player for the season, the Cowboys lost several. It doesn’t take long to figure out that the game against the Cardinals affected every game we played after.

It’s also not hard to understand that Romo, as a quarterback, had less to do with this team’s failures in 2008 than people want to believe. It’s still something he has to work on, but every quarterback spends all year working on less turnovers and more completions. That’s his job.

  • Joe C

    Good stuff, I keep telling everyone that keeps sayin Romo is garbage, that he hurt is f’n pinky on his throwing hand, and the pinky is a very important finger for a qb. But yet everyone is saying “REAL QB’S PLAY THROUGH PAIN” and I just have to laugh at them cuz they have no clue. Only one I can think of that plays through pain the best is Favre, or was. I was at the Boy’s vs Skin’s game in MD, and I could tell he wasn’t 100%, and all the games after that aswell. Felix didn’t play after the Cardinals game because he got hurt on that one punt return, don’t remember what it was, but I am sure it was something they didn’t want to risk injuring more with him still being a rookie, but I dunno. Romo has some learning still to do but it was only his 2nd year as a starter, so of course he does. I don’t have “high” hopes for the 2009 season, but I think they might just shock us all.

  • http://www.cowboysnation.net Bryson Treece

    Yeah, Felix had a common injury and they played it safe for that game because it was a hamstring injury, which is an easy injury to worsen without rest. His IR placement was from a toe injury during the rehab of that hammy injury.

    That’s something that hasn’t gotten enough play this off-season, and I’m going to have to see if I can find some stats on it. We had two players this year suffer injuries, only to suffer more severe injuries of a different location during the rehab. I’ve never heard of this before, not even with just one player on a team in a single year.

    It’s one thing to to re-injure the injury that put you in rehab to begin with, but to suffer a completely separate injury during the rehab, that’s just ridiculous and MUST be addressed this year. The treatment crew on this team was heavily involved in the near-complete destruction of a very potent and high powered running game. I can’t even imagine how different this year would’ve been if not for the injuries suffered in rehab by Felix Jones and Marion Barber.

    And what about Newman? It was said, I believe by Jerry Jones, mid-season that Newman said he was ready to go after the first injury, and him playing too soon is what is attributed with his second, and highly more substantial injury. The injury (first one) was a strained groin, which a is common injury in the NFL. Seems like if our medical staff was as good as they are supposed to be, they would’ve done a better job.

  • Joe C

    Yeah I thought when Felix first got hurt with the toe injury, the reports came back as he was out for the remainder of the season? Or was I just seeing things? If that’s the case why was he even back in anyway? And i agree we should prolly hire some new medical staff beause they were obviously not doing there jobs proper.

  • http://www.cowboysnation.net Bryson Treece

    Not sure I follow Joe … Felix first injured his hamstring, a light sprain. That’s why Phillips kept saying every week that he would come back, because that injury works that way. He injured his toe, ripped a ligament in his big toe on the right foot I believe, during rehab a few weeks later, that’s what put him on IR.

    Now Barber, he injured his foot when it was stepped on, and then developed a sore calf that plagued for the remaining few games of the season. Hence his 2 run, 0 yard production against Baltimore.

    This medical staff is said to be the best in all of football, and ever in the sport, but even if they were simply average I would have a problem with the injuries this year. Look at Kosier, how in the hell was that a season long, season ending injury?

  • http://www.cowboysnation.net Bryson Treece

    Furthermore, it kind of makes me wonder what role they had in Terry Glenn’s injury. What about Stanback and the forever injured shoulder of his? How about Hurd and Austin both? I mean, the injuries this year are seriously concerning, and I mean more than just the fact of numbers. Yeah, there were a lot of injuries this year, but so many of them don’t usually faze teams as much as they did the Cowboys in 2008. Something is wrong with that …

  • Joe C

    Maybe it was the hammy, I couldn’t remember. But I thought I saw that they were saying it was a season ending injury, maybe that was for someone else but coulda swore it was for Jones.

  • http://www.cowboysnation.net Bryson Treece

    Well, they did say that for Jones, but Adam, not Felix. I think it was just a neck stinger or a ruptured disk, something like that, and they kept saying that he’d likely be out for the year, and he came back a couple of weeks later.

    Maybe that’s what you’re thinking.