Sports Outside the Beltway

Tony Sparano Secret to Cowboys’ Success?

Jean-Jacques Taylor has an interesting piece in today’s DMN about Tony Sparano, the Cowboys’ offensive play caller and assistant head coach.

Now, you know why Sean Payton wanted Tony Sparano to join him in the Big Easy. Now, you understand why Bill Parcells wouldn’t let Sparano be Payton’s offensive coordinator.

He wanted Sparano to be a difference-maker in Dallas.

Sparano, perhaps the most anonymous assistant on a staff Parcells shields from the public, calls the plays for a Cowboys offense that hasn’t been this prolific since Troy, Michael and Emmitt were scoring touchdowns and leading the Cowboys to championships.

The offense never reached its full potential under Drew Bledsoe because he took too many sacks, directed too many passes toward Terry Glenn and made too many poor decisions that lost games.

When Parcells finally benched Bledsoe five games ago and inserted Tony Romo into the lineup, no one thought the 26-year-old who didn’t throw his first pass until this season would ignite an offense.

He’s done it by executing Sparano’s game plans better than Bledsoe. Talk to enough players and they’ll tell you Sparano’s game plans are designed to make each of the Cowboys’ offensive weapons a play-maker during the course of the game.

That didn’t always happen with Bledsoe at the helm; Romo makes sure it does.

So T.O. no longer whines about his involvement. Even Glenn, who had a special karma with Bledsoe, is averaging more yards per game with Romo at quarterback.

The Cowboys rank third in the NFL in total offense – fourth in rushing and fifth in passing. No other team ranks among the top five in both categories. Dallas’ 28.1 scoring average ranks third.

“He’s done a good job,” Parcells said about Sparano in an understatement.

Assistant coaches seldom get the credit they deserve and that’s especially true with Parcells at the helm. Still, he’s selected and groomed some good ones over the years. Sean Payton is having a terrific year as the Saints’ new head coach this year. I wouldn’t be surprised if Sparano didn’t get a shot somewhere very soon.

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