When the Cowboys lost to the Jets and Lions this season, Tony Romo’s late turnovers were blamed as the single biggest reason. And then the Cowboys lost to the Patriots on Sunday, and Jason Garrett’s refusal to let Romo throw the ball was blamed as the single biggest reason.
With the Cowboys leading the Patriots late in the fourth quarter, Garrett called for three straight running plays followed by a punt. The Patriots ended up scoring the game-winning touchdown following that punt, and everyone from random Cowboys fans posting on message boards to Cowboys owner Jerry Jones suggested that Garrett had gotten too conservative, presumably because he worried that if he called a pass play, Romo would throw another costly interception, as he had against the Jets and Lions.
So does all this mean Garrett doesn’t trust Romo?
“There is absolutely no issue in my trust level with Tony Romo,” Garrett said today. “I think anyone who has followed this football team understands the trust that I have in him and our football team has in him. Playing quarterback in the NFL, there’s a tremendous amount of responsibility that comes with that. Tony knows that. He prepares for it and we know it as coaches. We give him a lot of responsibility on Sunday. He’s responded to that really well over the last four and a half years and there’s no reason for us to think otherwise.”
For his part, Romo is trying to spin Garrett’s decision to go to the three-runs-and-punt offense as proof that Garrett trusted the Cowboys’ defense to stop Tom Brady and the Patriots’ offense.
“No, if you watch the game . . . our defense played outstanding,” Romo said. “It’s easy to be a Monday morning quarterback to say something the day after. I trusted our defense too when they went out there. I felt very comfortable with our defense on the field in that game.”
But can any team really feel comfortable with its defense on the field in New England against Brady in the fourth quarter of a three-point game? That Garrett had more confidence in his defense than he had in Romo says something, even if everyone in Dallas is now insisting that there are no trust issues between Garrett and Romo.