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The real secret behind Tony Romo's success

The conventional wisdom has been that Sean Payton was the man who brought Tony Romo to the Cowboys. Some have gone as far to say that it was Payton who developed Romo once he came to Dallas. Over at the DMN, Matt Mosley tries to set the record straight that David Lee was actually the guy who made Romo into the quality NFL QB he is today.

Payton had to focus on Quincy Carter and Chad Hutchinson heading into the 2003 season, so Lee was able to spend time with Romo. In his first minicamp with the Cowboys, Romo was all over the place.

One veteran scout referred to him as "Bambi" because of his wild mechanics.

The one thing that kept Lee and other coaches from dismissing Romo was his lightning-quick release.

There's the reason Romo was on the 3rd-string early in his career, he just wasn't ready for NFL ball. But one thing saved him, that quick release.

This is how close he was to not making the team.

After that first minicamp, Romo was desperate to find out what Parcells thought of him. Lee searched for a way to put it nicely, but finally had to tell Romo that, without major changes to his delivery, he was going to have a tough time making the team.


In the three months leading up to camp, Lee raised Romo's point of release 18 inches in order to keep him from having passes batted down. He also worked hard to make sure Romo's lower body was working in conjunction with his upper body.

Thank goodness for the work David Lee put in with Romo, or we might not be sitting here today talking about him on a daily basis. But Lee's efforts didn't stop there, he kept working with Romo to get him ready for the NFL.

Over the past couple of years, Lee has spent hours making tapes of Peyton Manning for his young quarterbacks to study.

Lee told Romo and practice squad quarterback Matt Baker to watch how Manning has the same short stride on almost every throw, and how he almost stands up on his toes to make sure he's releasing the ball from its highest point.

Manning is the model QB, so Lee used him as the model. It must've worked pretty well because Romo the student was able to beat Manning the teacher head-to-head this year.

Thank you, David Lee. You did some of the most important work of anybody associated with the Cowboys in the Parcells era, although Director of Scouting Jeff Ireland might be right there with you in turning this franchise around.

While I'm at it, thanks Jerry Jones for hiring Parcells, and thanks Bill Parcells for over-seeing the resurrection of our franchise.

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