|By our count, Witten, Irvin, Staubauch and Favre have weighed in on Romo, NFL Quarterback. (US PRESSWIRE)|
As long as the Cowboys continue to underachieve and miss the playoffs, quarterback Tony Romo will generally be considered something less than elite. It's not entirely fair; after all, according to Football Outsiders' metrics, he ranked fourth in value per play last year behind Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady. And the year before, he was ninth. But Dallas also went 8-8 and 6-10 the last two seasons (though Romo missed 10 games in 2010 with a fractured clavicle); not only did they miss the playoffs, they couldn't even break .500.
In response to remarks from tight end Jason Witten, who suggested earlier this month that Romo is indeed "elite," CBSSports.com's Clark Judge wasn't willing to go quite that far. "… (Witten's) wrong. Tony Romo is a good quarterback. Tony Romo is a tough quarterback. Tony Romo is a winning quarterback. But Tony Romo is not an elite quarterback."
Winning fixes everything, of course, but the regular season is more than two months off. For now, all we have are opinions and, not surprisingly, they run the gamut.
Former Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach is surprised by the perception that Romo is somehow overrated.
“One of the most important things a quarterback can do is transfer the confidence he has to his teammates so everybody can believe in each other," Staubach said Monday during an appearance KTCK-AM. "You can't do it by yourself. It's really a mystery to me why people don't understand how really good (Romo) is. The things he can do and the plays he can make, I'm sure Troy (Aikman) would say the same. I think this team is building to support a great quarterback like Romo. If your defense is doing a great job, you can do a lot of things on offense.”
And that's the rub: when teams win, quarterbacks often get too much credit. And when teams lose, they get too much blame. But that's the deal: want to be a big-shot NFL QB? Then expect to be unduly criticized because -- right or wrong -- it's part of the job. It's the tradeoff that come with instant fame and wealth.
Michael Irvin, the Hall of Fame Cowboys wide receiver, went so far as to compare Romo and LeBron James. (Seriously.) Specifically: now that James finally has the championship monkey off his back, Romo is somehow under more pressure to win.
“That noose has been put around (Romo's) neck,” Irvin said according to the Dallas Morning News. “It better be soon. Jerry Jones has already said that. That's where it's going from here. It's going back to Tony Romo now.”
We're not sure what to make of this since Jones has not only publicly supported Romo but explicitly said that the rest of the team needs to step up.
“I thought (Tony) Romo was competing at a level that would've given us that opportunity but the rest of us need to play better and get better before we can really gel the way the Giants are,” Jones said back in late January.
And no conversation about quarterback play would be complete without Brett Favre, who told NFL Network that Romo is the signal caller most like the ol' gunslinger.
“Romo is probably more like me than any of those guys,” Favre told Deion Sanders (via PFT.com). “I think way too much is cast upon him, good or bad. It's Dallas, and much is expected. He's carried those guys. I watched him last year, and I like Tony. I like the way he plays. I think at times he's underrated.”
Favre's not wrong. Of course, he's also the same guy who was shocked it took Aaron Rodgers so long to win a Super Bowl. Then again, Rodgers has weapons. Romo, at least in Favre's estimation, it busy playing traffic cop and that explains at least some of the Cowboys' ineffectiveness.
“I'm watching him, right before the snap, he's telling guys–” Favre said before Sanders interrupted to point out, “They don't know what they're doing.”
Favre continuted: “How in the world are you going to have a positive play when the ball is coming and you're telling guys?”
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