Everyone and their mothers are piling on Romo and he deserves it, those 2 mistakes at the end of the game are a couple of examples of what you don't have to do if you're expecting to be a succesful QB in the NFL. Romo looked like Ryan Leaf in those 2 throws. Poor throwing mechanics and field vision.
People are judged by what they do.
So, who's Tony Romo? If you look at those 2 throws, benching isn't an option, it's a requirement. If you look at his career, and especially at this year in which he had done a really good job at limiting his mistakes, you know that he's capable of being one of the best QBs in the game. But, once again, he was asked to carry the team on his back, tried to do too much and failed.
Is it that hard to avoid failing when you're asked to do too much? Ok, let's talk about a QB from another team that we know real well. Twice a Super Bowl winner and by many heading into this season considered Elite. Yes, Eli Manning.
I'll start by saying that he didn't win those trophies by himself, IMHO strong defensive effort was THE factor that led both teams. But let's just say that he wasn't asked to make a Brad Johnson or Trent Dilfer impersonation, which means to manage the games and avoid blowing it all up. He was asked to take measured risks in order to win the games. He's a good QB and played well.
And now, what do we have? Did he suddenly turned into a pumpkin? Let's return to Romo and how he's judged by what he has done in December and the Playoffs and how he's ridiculed because HE isn't a winner at those times. Well, Eli won it all in those 2 years. And now, he's a pumpkin.
It's a TEAM game where Coaching and Team effort have to be factors. Yes, the QB making mistakes isn't of any help, but every QB makes mistakes, it's the nature of the position. It's why the 2 best QBs in the history of the game (IMHO Marino and P Manning) have only one Super Bowl victory among their many accolades. They are asked to do too much for their teams and fall short due to the nature of the game.
Want an example of how team effort and coaching are factors in a bad QB play? Let's talk about the now infamous audible play in which Romo decided against running and going with the pass, Dave just wrote a piece about both mistakes in here and I'll use one of his images:
Interesting thing, audibles. I'm going to start with the textbook definition of this kind of plays with an option get away from it:
It's purpose isn't to get out the best play against a defensive alignment, it's to get out of a bad one. To do that you have to make major alterations to how the play is supposed to be run and that includes short routes by receivers, alterations in run blocking and pass protection assignments.
And now, let's look at the image, Romo made an audible change of the play, they're at home so noise shouldn't be a factor, we see Smith sidestepping and covering Leary on his run blocking loop, the rest of the OLine block in the direction of the supposed running play, Matthews gets an untouched direct avenue towards Romo, Romo shakes free of it, but compromises his timing with Austin's short route, tries to make the throw in time with the passing window but doesn't have the time to get his body in the right position and that's how many bad picks happen.
So, what we have is:
- The Coaches sent in an audible play.
- Romo opted to go with the pass.
- The OLine didn't understand the change and went with their usual motions of the running play.
What's the purpose of practice? To train and prepare for many kinds of diferent situations and scenarios. For example, if you're going to have audible plays in your arsenal you need to train those situation in order to see all the moving parts that form an NFL caliber Offense in the proper order.
What we saw from the Cowboys falls in line with what we have seen from many examples during the course of this season, the Cowboys are a dumb team and they're poorly coached.
The QB made a mistake? Yes, and a bad one.
Looking at the rest of this season and the many failures from the TEAM in general, I just can't place the blame on the QB.
- We all saw that first half against the Packers, we saw the Broncos game, the Offense HAS that kind of talent. The players are either to dumb to be consistent or the Coaches can't manage them.
- On Defense, it's hard to say much due to all the injuries, but there's something to be said: Brandon Carr's level of play makes me look at Terence Newman and how good coaching made him look respectable once again. Carr isn't that bad, he was good last year and was really good in KC.
- And we have seen many examples of bad decision making from the Coaches in the course of the season.
To me, it's pretty clear, the Cowboys not only need to ace next year's Draft for the needed talent infusion, they need Coaches that can do a better job of managing whatever talent the Cowboys have.