The San Diego Chargers walked into Cowboys Stadium for a preseason contest with the Dallas Cowboys and walked out showing signs of regaining the form that made the team one to fear in the AFC West. Chargers QB Phil Rivers and Cowboys QB Tony Romo posted shockingly similar numbers (8 of 11 and 8 of 12 respectively), but the difference was turnovers.
Tony Romo’s working on a comeback from a 2010 that was more than disappointing, and saw him fail to finish the season after sustaining a broken collarbone, courtesy of NY Giants Linebacker Michael Boley. While meaningless in the standings, the NBC Sunday Night Football telecast provided the perfect show to demonstrate that Romo was back.
Frankly, the problem that plagued Romo before, a poorly designed passing offense, is less. The Cowboys’ pass offense design and play-calling is much better than in 2010 overall. But there are some play action passes that leave Romo – or any quarterback – without a second option.
Like the one that caused Romo to throw an interception that gave Rivers the edge in the contest. It was a play action sweep that called for a pass to the slot receiver running cross field. That receiver was covered by Chargers Safety Erik Weddle, who didn’t go deep but stayed with receiver Kevin Ogletree.
In looking at the replay, Romo didn’t have an obvious check down receiver, so he pumped faked, then tried to squeeze the pass in to Ogletree. Weddle stepped in and picked him clean.
That play should be redesigned so the halfback continues to run a pattern upfield. Then, Romo would see that Ogletree was covered by Weddle, and went backside to the halfback, who would be open after the fake.
That was the first of three turnovers. The Cowboys outgained The Chargers, 313 to 239, and matched them in sacks, and the new Cowboys Defense under Ron Ryan is a thing of beauty. But the Cowboys Offense is still a good play action pass package off of being totally improved over 2010.