Monday, October 5, 2009

Talking Tony Romo: Straight, No Chaser

Two weeks ago I wrote a post in defense of Tony Romo and I stand by it. I didn't think he lost the Giants game for the Cowboys and I still don't. But I am always going to tell you the truth when it comes to football, and Romo stunk up the joint yesterday in Denver.

I can't be sure about whether this is an actual trend or not but in watching the game live and again this morning on DVR it is apparent that Romo was not reading the coverage on the left side of the field the majority of the day. Most right handed quarterbacks throw the majority of their passes to the right so I understand that, but if you are an elite quarterback then you have to be able to see the whole field. This is ESPECIALLY true when you face an all world cornerback like Champ Bailey who camps out on the right side of your offense.

I wish I could go back and watch the other first three games to see if this is more than just a one time occurence but even if it was just something Romo did yesterday it is still disturbing. A lot of people, myself included, will take Jason Garrett to task for his playcalling and on a few plays she should be criticised. But on a lot of the plays that didn't look so hot Romo just never saw wide open options.

Lets talk about the play where Romo fumbled the ball after being stripped by the corner to the offense's left. Maybe no other play illustrates my point any better Evidently Romo was the only guy who didn't notice the blitz because Martellius Bennett went out for a hot read and so did Jason Witten. Because of the design of the blitz, had Romo hit Bennett on that hot read he would have had plenty of wide open field to run. But instead Romo locked in on the right side of the field and when they were covered he took the sack without ever even looking left.

Want another example? At the beginning of the second half our defense, specifically DeMarcus Ware, came up big and forced a fumble on Denver's very first offensive play. The result was that we had outstanding field position and were guaranteed at least a field goal if nothing else. But on third down Romo tries a throw to his right to Miles Austin which ends up getting picked by the aforementioned Bailey.

Now to be sure it was a helluva play by Bailey and it appeared that Austin ran the wrong route, but on the other hand why was Romo trying Bailey in the first place? Had he looked for Crayton on the left side he would have seen him come open on a seam route for at least a chance at a touchdown. Instead almost sure points were taken off the board because Romo locked in on the primary receiver on the right hand side of the field.

But wait, I'm not done.

At the start of the 4th quarter the Cowboys were facing 3rd and 11 at close to midfield. The Broncos sent 8 on a blitz and their secondary was locked up in man to man with no safety help. Does Romo look away from Bailey and try to exploit the weaker corner in man coverage? Hell no. Instead he never even takes a peek left and instead throws is away to the right. Had he looked left he would have seen a combo route with Roy Williams coming free underneath a clear out route on a slant that very likely would have garnered a first down.

Now I could keep going because there were other plays like that one but I want to fast forward to the end of the game. I was just watching "First and 10" on ESPN and Kordell Stewart and some other no named guy were ragging on Garrett for those last two play calls. Well considering Stewart's problems reading defenses during his career I can't say I am shocked at how wrong he was. But let me break both plays down for you tot explain why they were the right calls but Romo made the wrong throws.

First of all Denver played essentially the same defense on both plays. They sent 8 guys at Romo again and left their three secondary guys in man to man with no help. Now again, if its me and I have three corners to pick on and one of them is named Champ Bailey, those other two guys are going to get most if not all of my attention. But instead Romo threw both times at Bailey trying to get the ball to Sam Hurd. Now you would think after the first time the slant didn't work that Romo would at least think about looking elsewhere. But after watching both plays over and over its apparent that he was going to Hurd come hell or high water both times.

But see here is the problem, Miles Austin was WIDE ASS OPEN on both of those plays.

Maybe you didn't hear me the first time.


You have to understand that for corners playing with no safety help that close to the endzone the last thing you want to do is let the receivers inside. On both plays Austin freaked his guy and came across the middle so open Romo could have thrown it to him underhanded. On the first play Crayton was in the slot and ran an out route which took his guy out of the picture all together. So had Romo even glanced in that direction all he would have seen was 19. On the second play both Austin and Crayton ran quick slants and while Crayton's guy was a little closer to Austin this time the net result was still the same. Austin beat him like a drum inside again and was standing in the endzone wide open.

Don't believe me? Watch both plays at the end of this highlight clip. Austin will be at the top of the screen. (You can forward to 2:46 if you don't feel like watching the whole thing)

See what I mean?

So there you have it ladies and gentlemen, Romo definitely lost the game for us yesterday. Hopefully this is just a one game aberration but I intend on keeping an eye on where he goes with the ball. One thing I should also poiint out which is a head scratcher is that the majority times, at least yesterday, Roy Williams was lined up on the left hand side. What sense does it make to put the guy who is supposed to be the number one receiver to the side the quarterback hardly even looks at? A rhetorical question to be sure.

As a side note I would also like to point out that Romo didn't appear to be wearing any pink yesterday. I have to say that I found that pretty bush league that he didn't support the league's efforts to raise breast cancer awareness. I can't say for sure that Kyle Orton did either but I really don't care about that guy. Perhaps it was karma that Romo didn't play well if he couldn't do something as small as throw on a pink armband.

Im just sayin.


I see people constantly hating on Roy Williams and I think its time most of them pulled their heads out of their buts. Did Jerry Jones over pay for Williams? The answer to that is very likely. But you can't deny the guy's talent and you can't deny his achievments so far.

In 2006 Williams had 82 receptions and over 1,300 yards for Detroit, a year in which he led the NFC in the latter category. In 2007 he had 64 receptions and over 800 yards even though he missed 4 full games for the Lions and he made the Pro Bowl. He showed on sorry teams in Detroit that he could still shine even though he was pretty much all they had. Its worth noting that even though he hasn't dominated so far he still had 3 more catches and the same amount of touchdowns (1) as T.O. So if you are a real Cowboys fan how about backing off the guy and supporting him instead of tearing him down. He hasn't said or done one thing to deserve the level of hate thrown his way. Hell if anything he has been a model teammate and hasn't complained at all about being under thrown several times by Romo and about not being fed the ball by Garrett. Do you really think TO would be happy now if the Cowboys were running as much as they are and he wasn't getting his balls? Better question, do you think TO wouldn't have gone to the media by now to complain about not getting the ball?

Get real.

I said before TO got to Dallas that he would end up messing up the team. A zebra don't change its stripes and sure enough he slowly but surely found a way to bring them down. First he frustrated Bill Parcells into leaving and soon after he started going to the media to undermine Garrett, Romo and Witten. I for one as a Cowboys fan couldn't be happier that he is gone. And if you call yourself a Cowboys fan you at least need to recognize that he ain't coming back. Throwing Roy Williams under the bus because you like T.O.'s reality show don't help at all. Rooting for the Cowboys come hell or high water on the other hand definitely will.

It is what it is.

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