Marshall Faulk asks a long question this week in the GMC Playbook series:
Here is the transcript for those who prefer it: "To be GMC Professional Grade you must know your craft inside and out. On every team, there must be an established veteran presence, that with the work that he does, it doesn't really show up in the stat sheet. It could be a veteran DB who give that jersey pull or a nice arm lock, so the receiver can't catch the ball. Or an offensive lineman who's crafty enough to get the hold real tightly to where the refs won't call it, but the back, he's off for a big run. Now, look at your team and analyze. Tell me, who's that crafty veteran on your team. And if you're really paying attention, what's the signature move that he uses?"
It didn't take me long to come up with a good answer on this. One veteran Dallas player, with a really signature move, stands out, and pictures are so much better than words to describe him:
No matter how many times you see it, it never grows old. Tony Romo going all Romodini on some poor pass rusher, then getting the ball off, frequently for a key reception in the game. In the Seahawks game illustrated above, Pete Carroll even admitted they worked on tackling him when he made his spin move - and he still managed pull it off. There is no stat for cleverly avoiding a pass rush, but is there any doubt Romo would be one of the all time league leaders?
That is his signature move, no doubt, but that spin move is just one of the many tools he can use. It is good to see the Cowboys having success and Romo getting some of the recognition he deserves. How a player with his amazing ability to bring his team back has gotten the label of "choker" is ludicrous. There are many reasons to want the Cowboys to get back to the big game, but one of the biggest for many of us is to see the media covering the NFL finally start to give Romo the kind of praise some other quarterbacks get. He is one of the best, particularly when it is time to improvise and extend plays, and it is so good to see that acknowledged.
Of course, his moves don't always work. But it can truly be said he never, ever gives up on a play. Even, sometimes, when the play is long over.
The line between crafty and downright sneaky is a fine one indeed.