I was flabbergasted this morning while listening to my favorite sports (and guy) talk radio station, KTCK 1310, the Ticket. The Musers (easily the best show on the Ticket) were discussing this year’s Cowboys’ offense, which has taken a decidedly conservative turn. Co-host Junior Miller actually called for more Romo interceptions. Well, he didn’t demand that Romo throw picks; he simply said that making Romo a conservative, ball-protection quarterback takes away the player’s best asset, which is making something out of nothing.
Romo is among the NFL’s best at making chicken salad out of chicken dodo. He excels when the pocket collapses and he is escaping would-be sackers, finding a receiver running free, and throwing a dart to said receiver while he is, himself, on a dead run.
But last year, Romo lead the NFL in the dubious distinction of most interceptions thrown. He was, by many accounts, too fast and loose with the ball. He blew games and cost the Cowboys a playoff berth.
Something had to be done.
Something has been done. He threw 19 interceptions a year ago. This year, after 10 games, he has only thrown SIX!
Problem fixed. Right?
What we have on our hands now is an inept offense that, with the exception of one explosive game (a loss) against the Denver Broncos, is predictable, boring, and unable to put points on the board.
Now, the same pundits who drilled Romo for being so carefree and careless with the ball are saying he is too close to the vest.
Damn if he does.
Double damn if he doesn’t.
The bottom line is this year’s version of the Cowboys with their new game-managing Romo is in the exact same place last year’s version was when Romo was being creative and winning—and losing—games with his gun-slinging. They are .500. Right where they were at the end of last season and the season before. Right where they belong.
With Romo, the Cowboys are a .500 team. Without him, they are likely picking first in next year’s draft.
Romo’s biggest problem is that he is playing for a so-so team, boasting a roster put together by a general manager who has proven he can evaluate talent as well as he can make a lucid statement in an interview.
I agree with Miller. Caging Romo is just stupid. You did not pay him $100 million to “protect the ball.” You paid him to go out and win games other humans cannot win. That means he will lose games other humans would never lose, as well. That’s the nature of the gun-slinger.
Ask Green Bay fans.
Ask Saints fans, who owe their one Super Bowl victory to a gift-wrapped pass from the NFL’s all-time greatest gun-slinger.
Go ahead. Ask Brett Favre.
The gifted gun-slinger wins some he shouldn’t win and loses some he shouldn’t lose.
Let Romo do that, because that is what he does.
Just don’t ask him to be what he is not.
And if you do, don’t expect a playoff run.
Come to think of it, don’t expect that anyways.