The League

Gene Wang
Fantasy Guru

Gene Wang

A sports staff writer at The Washington Post

No More Excuses, Romo

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Tony Romo is the quarterback with the biggest burden this season, and not just because he's the poster boy of the Dallas Cowboys. He'll continue to face unrelenting scrutiny until he wins a playoff game and ultimately a Super Bowl, and this season fans, teammates and the media won't have Terrell Owens to blame for the Cowboys' misfortunes.

With Owens's departure, Romo becomes the sole face of a franchise that has not won a playoff game in 13 years. Romo had a major role in the Cowboys' two most recent playoff losses -- mishandling a snap for a winning field goal try in the 2006 postseason, and throwing a game-ending interception the next year -- but there always was Owens to lean on as a distraction.

Of course Owens stood up for his quarterback after the 2007 home playoff loss to the New York Giants, but apparently that wasn't good enough for Romo. Media outlets chronicled a growing rift between the two players this past season that reportedly in part caused owner Jerry Jones to waive Owens.

Last year Dallas failed to make the postseason despite 11 players voted to the Pro Bowl in 2007. The media had no problem hanging a lot of the blame on Owens for being a locker-room cancer and disrupting team chemistry. While Owens certainly was complicit in the Cowboys' embarrassing failure last season, he was hardly as culpable as Romo, Coach Wade Phillips or the porous defense were down the stretch.

Romo was the most beloved sports figure in Dallas when he ascended from obscure backup to apparent savior. Turnovers and poor decisions often were overlooked because of his underdog story. Romo isn't going to get that benefit of the doubt this season, so he better take Dallas deep into the playoffs or risk getting stamped the A-Rod of football.

By Gene Wang  |  May 7, 2009; 12:00 PM ET  | Category:  Dallas Cowboys , Gene Wang , New York Jets , Washington Redskins Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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Just as I said in reply to Farrar's piece, I say it here again, cut and pasted from my own post:

The "questionable" receiver corps is why thinking people knowledgeable of football will not hang such pressure around Romo's neck. This is a team sport, not a one man gang sport. Even the best quarterback in the history of the game is incapable of making offensive linemen block, wide receivers run good routes and get open, wide receivers catch the ball, running backs pass protect on passing downs, and offensive coordinators call good plays.
The pressure in Dallas is, rather than on Romo, on a former Cowboys quarterback. It's on Jason Garrett. He has to show he can call the right offensive plays for the type of personnel he has. And for this group, the right mix would be about 55-45 or 60-40 run to pass, with a big offensive line, three good running backs with different running styles, and a quarterback and receivers who would benefit greatly from a killer running game giving them excellent play action fake ability.

Posted by: GARETJAX | May 11, 2009 10:13 AM

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