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NFL Insiders Rate Tony Romo Tied For Eighth Best Quarterback In The League

ESPN talked to 26 NFL insiders and asked them to rate all the starting QBs in the league.

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Is Tony Romo an elite QB? Is he a top-10 QB in the NFL? Is Tony Romo a fourth-quarter QB capable of saving his team, or more likely to doom his team? These arguments have been going on almost since the moment Romo took over as the Dallas Cowboys starting QB.

ESPN In$ider recently polled 26 various NFL insider types - scouts, coordinators, coaches, GMs, etc. - to rank all the starting QBs in the NFL. The insiders gave the QBs ratings of one to five (one being best) and then averaged them out to create a score. They took those scores and created tiers, Tier 1, Tier 2, and so on. Plus, they tried to give a sense of what the insiders said about each QB. The Tier 1 guys were no surprise except for maybe one. Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers were all tied at #1 (a 1.04 rating), but the fifth guy in the Tier 1 was Andrew Luck. Maybe a little early for that kind of ranking?

Tier 2 consisted of Philip Rivers, Ben Roethlisberger then a four-way tie at 8th between Romo, Matt Ryan, Eli Manning and Russell Wilson (all 2.23 rating). Here is the blurb about Romo:

A few evaluators questioned whether Romo had the mind-set to play at the highest level consistently. It's a familiar refrain in league circles, a feeling that Romo is an undisciplined QB playing for an undisciplined organization with a poorly constructed roster.

"People want to knock him," one GM responded, "but the guy has talent and is one of the top 10 starters in the league."

Romo is 34 years old and coming off back surgery, but he still could be in line for a "monster" season, one evaluator said. "But I absolutely believe they will not win big with him. As soon as he decides it's a clutch moment, his brain goes elsewhere. He loses focus and tries to create something."

So after all the proof about the awesome fourth-quarter numbers for Romo, the perception around the league for many is that he still chokes when it counts

What is interesting about the comments of some of the insiders is how they still qualify things based on weird criteria. You'd think it would be all stats, mechanics, X's and O's, and for the most part it was, but every once in a while you would get a comment like this:

"[Joe] Flacco would be a guy that you probably either love him or hate him because he's a big guy, probably not the most mobile guy, and he's kind of got the droopy face, kind of like the Jay Cutler face, where it always looks like things are bad," an offensive coordinator said.

Anyway, the perception inside the NFL is that Romo can't be trusted in the big moments, but outside of that he's an elite QB.

Your take, BTB?

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