Tag:Tony Romo
Posted on: December 29, 2011 2:51 pm

Tony Romo practices with wrap, likely to start

Romo reportedly is 'fine' for Week 17's game. (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

The primary concern for Sunday night's NFC East "championship game" is the hand of Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo. Last we left Romo, he was reportedly "fine" and looked like he would start on Sunday against the Giants.

Our Cowboys Rapid Reporter Nick Eatman lends further credence to the belief that Romo will play, reporting that Romo practiced on Thursday with a "light wrap" on his hand and is now "likely" to start.

The issue for the Cowboys and Romo is the amount of swelling in the quarterback's hand. If he's unable to properly grip and throw the ball, then Dallas could struggle.

And if the injury makes him tentative in the pocket, then the Giants pass rush could certainly ramp up the pressure on Dallas offense.

But the news that Romo's at least able to practice and test out the strength he's got with a banged-up hand is huge. Though Stephen McGee didn't look like the worst quarterback in the world last Saturday afternoon, Dallas offense simply isn't the same when Romo's not on the field.

Knocking him out of the game would all but ensure that the Giants took home the division title this season.

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Posted on: December 29, 2011 11:06 am

Film Room: Giants vs. Cowboys preview

Posted by Eye on Football Analyst Andy Benoit

An NFC East championship game in primetime – no further introduction needed. Here’s the breakdown.

1. Reviewing Week 14
These teams gave us a classic Sunday night showdown just a few weeks ago. That contest was defined by mistakes more than anything. Tony Romo posted good numbers but missed a few throws that would have changed the outcome. His only completion to Dez Bryant was a 50-yard touchdown against a blown coverage.

The Cowboys defense blew several coverages of its own, leading to a 400-yard night for Eli Manning and prompting Rob Ryan later to scale back the complexity of his scheme in 2:00 type situations. Big-time throws against poor pass defense was why a game that was 34-22 Cowboys with under 6:00 to play wound up being 37-34 Giants.

2. The star quarterbacks in big games
The common perception is that Eli Manning is a big game riser and Tony Romo is a big game faller. The Week 14 battle only reaffirmed this; Manning was absolutely magnificent on the final two touchdown drives, fitting balls into tight windows and, as he’d been doing all night, quickly diagnosing and dissecting the Cowboys’ Byzantine blitzes. Romo, on the other hand, missed a third-and-five throw to Miles Austin with 2:25 remaining that would have sealed the win.

That throw came against an all-out, Cover 0 blitz. In the past, Romo’s inability to recognize blitzes before and after the snap often led to his blunders. Those issues, however, have been largely corrected this season. And yet, because of what happened against the Jets in Week 1, and because of the interception-riddled second half meltdown against the Lions in Week 4, Romo’s reputation remains that of a choker.

That’s mostly an unfair and overly simplistic characterization of a quality veteran. If not for the botched field goal hold at Seattle in the ’06 wild card loss – a play that had nothing to do with quarterbacking skills – Romo almost certainly wouldn’t be thought of as a late-game anything.
That said, Romo has indeed made some mistakes in critical moments. Most of those have been due to defenses confounding him with false looks. The broadcast viewers might tie this to Romo feeling stressed in crunch time; the film viewers tie it back to Romo’s mediocrity at reading defenses before the snap. When you’re a sandlot player, you’re reactionary. A reactionary player is much easier to trick – especially late in games after he’s gotten comfortable reacting to certain looks the same way.

This same concept applies in the other direction with Manning. He’s a splendid field general, audibling at the line of scrimmage, running the no-huddle offense and trusting his eyes and underrated arm strength in the face of pressure. While reactive quarterbacking is prone to defensive manipulation late in games, proactive quarterbacking is apt for defensive manipulation. You change your defensive looks and play aggressively to bait a reactionary quarterback into a mistake. Against a proactive quarterback, you change your looks and play aggressively so that he doesn’t bait you into a mistake.

The relevance of this sexy “big moment quarterbacking” storyline is debatable. As stated before, Romo has improved his mental approach to the game. And just because Manning has been great in crunch time doesn’t mean he’s unstoppable (especially given how up-and-down his receivers have been).

Dez needs to work on his disappearing act. (Getty Images)

3. Pass games
It’s been far too easy for defenses to take away Dez Bryant this season. The Giants had no trouble doing this with Corey Webster a few weeks ago. They also took away Jason Witten by smacking him with a defensive end or linebacker as he came off the line. Don’t be surprised if the Cowboys split Witten to the slot to prevent this from happening again.

Also, don’t be surprised if the Cowboys line up in three receiver sets to force the Giants into their nickel D. That nickel D has been poor in coverage the past few weeks, mainly because of Prince Amukamara. The first-round rookie has since been benched, with safety Antrel Rolle moving back to slot corner. The Cowboys should eagerly test Rolle with either Miles Austin or Laurent Robinson, both excellent route runners.

4. Run games
The Cowboys lost DeMarco Murray for the season in their last meeting with the Giants. Felix Jones showed his uncanny burst and acceleration in the lone game of consequence since then (Week 15 at Tampa Bay), but that was against the worst run defense in football.

It remains to be seen whether the Cowboys can sustain on the ground against a quality opponent. Expect them to try to establish the run, especially if the Giants play their three-safety nickel defense against base offensive personnel (something they did a bit against the Jets). Jones’ might also run out of three-receiver sets against that nickel D, as that’s a good way to take advantage of his proficiency on draws.

New York’s run game remains unimpressive, though there were a few signs of life last week. Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw both ran with power after averaging barely one yard per carry after contact against the Redskins in Week 15. David Baas is back at center after missing several weeks with migraines. Baas has been below average overall this season but at least offers a tad more short-area mobility than backup Kevin Boothe.

5. Up tempo?
The Meadowlands crowd will be in full throat – especially early. The Cowboys may want to go no-huddle to quell the crowd and dictate the flow.

A quick tempo can also be a good way to calm a pass-rush, which is critical when facing Justin Tuck, Jason Pierre-Paul and, perhaps, Osi Umenyiora. And the less time the Giants defense has between snaps, the harder it will be for them to change their coverages, which coordinator Perry Fewell likes to do.

So who will win? Check our NFL expert picks for all Week 17 games

Follow @Andy_Benoit on Twitter or contact him at Andy.Benoit-at-NFLTouchdown.com.
Posted on: December 26, 2011 9:40 pm
Edited on: December 26, 2011 9:40 pm

Jerry Jones draws criticism for sideline presence

Jones is 'amazed' anyone cares that he's patrolling the sidelines during games. (Getty Images)

By Ryan Wilson

Meddlesome is a word often used to describe owner Jerry Jones because of his hands-on approach to running the Cowboys. This approach includes Jones standing on the sidelines during games, and if he thinks it's warranted, talking to the head coach. This is exactly what happened Saturday.

Jones has since taken criticism for -- wait for it -- meddling, instead of letting his coach, you know, coach. (To be fair, Jones has reason for concern; Jason Garrett iced his own kicker in a loss to the Cardinals and Jones questioned Garrett's conservative play-calling against the Patriots earlier this season.)

After Romo hit his right hand on the helmet of an Eagles defender in the first quarter Saturday, Jones spoke face to face with Garrett on the sidelines about the Cowboys quarterback.

"You communicate a lot of different ways," Jones said during a radio interview with The Ticket (KTCK-AM 1310) via The Dallas Morning News. "It isn’t just words. It’s body language, it’s everything. So it’s important to me, when I’m down there, to be evaluating what’s going on on the sideline, and it’s important to me to be communicating with anything I’m about on the sideline.

"In this particular case, I did want nothing to drop between the lines communication-wise. We had talked about clearly what would happen if the Giants won, what we would be doing with Felix [Jones] during this ballgame and the need to have him healthy if we could do anything about it next week. But what we didn’t talk about was what if something happened and there was a question mark about [Tony] Romo, how that would be handled. That’s Jason’s decision, but he doesn’t need to be making that one by himself.

"So I wanted to, very briefly, step down there with just a few minutes gone in the first quarter, sit there and say, 'Here’s the lay of the land. Romo’s got a hand injury, but it looks like we’re going to have him for New York. Felix is there. You make the decision, but our emphasis should be on New York.'"

Jones went on to say that "I’ve talked to every head coach during a ballgame, on the sideline, that we’ve ever had with the Dallas Cowboys," which makes it even more amazing that Bill Parcells lasted four seasons in Dallas.

Good news, however: Jones says these impromptu get-togethers aren't about play-calling or offensive philosophy, which is too bad because Garrett could then blame the owner for the what happened in Arizona and New England.

"It has amazed me to be criticized for really walking down on the floor of the company or walking into the business that we’re doing, not just the Dallas Cowboys, and not pick up the trash or be interested in how that guy’s treating customers,” Jones explained. “The more involved your top management, the more involved ownership can be, I’ve always thought made the best way for it to work. ...

"You didn’t see that kind of criticism very early on, but we were winning Super Bowls. And it was the same exact way that we handled our decision-making and the exact same way that we handled our ultimate information gathering system. We’ve been doing it ever since I owned the team. The exact same way."

But that's the point: you can do what you want when you're winning. When you're struggling, everything's open to scrutiny.

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Posted on: December 26, 2011 2:04 pm
Edited on: December 26, 2011 2:17 pm

Report: Tony Romo 'fine,' no new QB for Cowboys

Romo reportedly is 'fine' for Week 17's game. (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

Tony Romo's hand had a nasty run-in with Jason Babin's helmet on Saturday during Dallas' 20-7 loss to Philly, and the result was similar to getting hit in the mouth with your grandmother's green bean casserole: swelling of awkward proportions.

As such, there are plenty of Cowboys fans concerned about Romo's status for Week 17's division-deciding matchup against the Giants. But reports indicate that Romo will be "fine" and that the Cowboys won't pursue any free agent quarterbacks.

Week 16 Recap

That's according to Ed Werder of ESPN, who reports that Dallas isn't seeking to ink a veteran quarterback, which means they likely believe Romo's capable of starting -- and beating -- the Giants on Sunday.

"He will be fine," a source told Werder.

Romo said on Saturday that he could've returned to the game if the Cowboys needed a win to clinch the division and/or the outcome of the Cowboys game affected the playoff race at all.

"I would've tried very hard," Romo said. "No question. I did a little bit but the coaching staff decided against that."

Good for the coaching staff -- letting Romo play in a meaningless game with a busted hand would've been irresponsible. It stinks for people who bet on the Cowboys, it stinks for fantasy owners, it stinks for Romo's competitive nature and it stinks for him trying to post the best numbers of his career.

But it was a smart decision by Jason Garrett to keep Romo on the sidelines, and if it pays off with his quarterback being healthy and beating the Giants to win the NFC East, it'll look ever smarter.

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Posted on: December 24, 2011 10:21 pm

Tony Romo says he's OK to play next week

T. Romo said he'd play next week, despite his hand injury (AP).

By Josh Katzowitz

A potentially scary moment for the Cowboys and quarterback Tony Romo in their 20-7 loss to the Eagles shouldn’t keep Romo out of next week’s potential playoff clincher vs. the Giants.

That’s what Romo told reporters after the game today after it was discovered, via the Cowboys website, that Romo didn’t break any bones in his hand (but only broke blood vessels) when he hit his hand against the helmet of Eagles defensive end Jason Babin.

As he was walking to an elevator, Romo told ESPN Dallas that he’ll play in New York for the NFC East title, and he said that if the Giants had lost to the Jets, thereby making the Cowboys game meaningful, he would have tried his best to return Saturday.

"I would've tried very hard," Romo said. "No question. I did a little bit but the coaching staff decided against that."

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Posted on: December 24, 2011 4:49 pm
Edited on: December 24, 2011 5:00 pm

Tony Romo out with hand injury; Stephen McGee in

By Will Brinson

The Cowboys are currently losing to Philadelphia but that's not the bad news for Dallas. The bad news is that Tony Romo is probably done for the day with a right hand injury after taking a nasty hit from Jason Babin.

Of course, the worst news for the Cowboys is that he suffered the injury in a game that ultimately won't matter -- after the game began, the Giants finished off the Jets in New York, eliminating the Eagles from the playoff race and setting the stage for a Week 17 matchup between the Giants and Cowboys to decide the NFC East.

Stephen McGee's currently under center for the Cowboys, and it's hard to imagine that he won't stay there.

Romo returned to the sideline and had a pretty intense talk with the training staff; he's now on the sidelines with a baseball cap, and it makes sense to keep him there for the rest of the day.

Dallas needs a lot of help to make the postseason as a wild card, but they control their own fate in terms of the division. Romo suffering another injury that could put his status for the finale in doubt would be an unmitigated disaster

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Posted on: December 20, 2011 10:11 pm
Edited on: December 21, 2011 9:03 am

Jerry Jones is 'scared' of Eagles right now

Jerry Jones is 'scared' of Philly this weekend.(US Presswire)
By Will Brinson

The NFC East's been a wild, wild roller-coaster ride this season with every team but the Eagles (the prohibitive preseason favorite) holding sole possession of first place at one point in time.

To wit: Two weeks ago, the Cowboys had their dreams shattered by the Giants on Sunday night ... only to have the Giants pick up the pieces and put it all back together when they folded at home against the Redskins in Week 15. Like I said, crazy. So it's no surprise that Jerry Jones is "scared" of the Eagles when they come into Dallas on Christmas Eve.

"After the butt-kicking they gave us up in Philadelphia, I'm scared," Jones said on KRLD-FM Tuesday, via Marc Sessler of NFL.com. "It's that kind of feeling. The respect turns into being afraid of what they can do to you if you have some breakdowns out there -- so you can put that 'scared' there if you want to.

"I think sometimes I know I do my best when I'm scared."

Unfortunately for Jones, he won't be playing, so however he does may not matter. (Unless in light of recent clock management issues he's decided to wire his owner's box with a line to Jason Garrett's headset.)

It will matter how his players do, though, and they also have every right to be scared. One, the Eagles crushed the Cowboys the last time they played. Two, the Eagles are pretty warm right now and still -- somehow -- in contention to win the division.

And three, a loss would give the Giants a chance to steal first place in the division back and set up a win-or-go-home matchup in New York in Week 17. If they lose that game, the biggest fear for plenty of people will be losing their jobs. And that's reason enough to be scared right now.

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Posted on: December 18, 2011 11:21 am
Edited on: December 18, 2011 11:35 am

Jerry: No playoffs a waste of Romo's great season

By Will Brinson

Tony Romo had another incredibly impressive game on Saturday, tossing three touchdowns and running for a score in Dallas 31-15 evisceration of the Bucs. As Pete Prisco wrote early Sunday, it was precisely the type of win that should give the Cowboys the confidence to make the playoffs.

They're currently in sole possession of the fourth seed, a half game ahead of the Giants, and Jerry Jones believes that if the 'Boys didn't make the playoffs, it would basically be a waste of the best season of Romo's career.

"At the end of the day, [Romo's play] is why we can't not get in the tournament, because he is playing so well," Jones said, per Charean Williams of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "This time last year, he wasn't playing. With him playing at the level he is playing, it would be a real serious career disappointment for us not to get to the playoffs."

A real serious career disappointment? No pressure or anything, Jason Garrett.

Jones probably didn't mean the comment as a shot towards in particular; his point that Romo's season -- 3,895 yards, 29 touchdowns, nine interceptions, 65.6 completion percentage -- not generating a playoff berth is valid.

Romo's playing the best football of his career right now and were it not for a ridiculous amount of ridiculous seasons from quarterbacks in 2011, he'd probably be getting more love than he is.

It doesn't help that the Cowboys lost five games this year where they coulda/shoulda/woulda walked off the field victorious, and that's an easier (and potentially more important) storyline to focus on for people hawking the Cowboys.

And Jones latest comment makes it pretty obvious where the narrative will shift should Dallas fail to make the postseason.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com