Saturday, November 25, 2006

Is It For Real?

A young QB stepped onto the field to face the NY Giants, a new savior to raise the Cowboys from their post-Aikman slump. At the end of the 20 – 13 winning game he had thrown for nearly 200 yards, scrambled for a key first down late in the game, and tossed the game-winning touchdown pass. He then led the Cowboys to a 10-6 record and a playoff appearance. His name was Quincy Carter.

But let’s go back further, to the Aikman years and another young QB named Jason Garrett was poised to take the throne. A brilliant game here and there, but not the winning QB that the Cowboys needed. Chad Hutchinson, Drew Henson, blah-dee-blah-dee-blah.

So pardon my cynicism when Tony Romo stepped out and won his first regulation game. After all, it was just the Cardinals, big deal. I wasn’t falling for the hype – been there, done that, bought the T- shirt. He needed to win against a good team before I’d start getting excited, and that test was coming up the next week when we played the Colts. I didn’t doubt that Romo had the arm, it was his inexperience that made me nervous. Here was a young QB facing a team that hadn’t lost a game this season; a young QB standing on the same field as Peyton Manning. I feared annihilation. I have been pleasantly surprised at the poise that this young man has shown, a confidence on the field that I haven’t seen since a tall blond in jersey number 8 stood over the silver and blue star.

Scott, if you look back at my comments, you’ll see that I said that Romo is the QB of the future, that it was his inexperience that worried me. I also said that unless the rest of the team played better, it wouldn’t matter who was the QB. They needed to stop penalizing themselves into losses and the receivers had to start catching passes. Have you forgotten the perfectly good passes that Bledsoe threw that were just plain dropped? The yardage that he gained or TD he threw that were called back because of penalties. Until the ‘Boys cleaned up their act, Romo was going to face the same thing. Fortunately, they did that. It’s a combination of an uncanny calmness and natural grace of a QB that hasn’t been beaten down and the stepping up of the rest of the team that has led to these wins. Romo has brought something back to this team that has been missing for a long time – a winning attitude, a new spark, an excitement for the game. The offensive line still couldn’t hold the pocket with a bunch of cinder blocks, but as you’ve pointed out, with Tony’s mobility that’s okay. If I have one worry about Romo, it is that mobility. I watch him run from the pocket with the same lump in my throat that I had every time Aikman took off down the field. That kind of running target always scares me.

So yes, I will admit that Romo is a great QB. Will I give him credit for winning the game? Partly. Like I said, if the receivers hadn’t picked up their game, if the penalties had continued, we wouldn’t be where we are now. A QB doesn’t throw 5 TD’s without the receivers catching them. The entire team deserves the credit for finally picking up their game; the defense has been awesome. Roy Williams has been brilliant and I’m excited about this team for the first time in quite a while. It feels good.


Scott said...

I remember that game winning pass against the Giants, when Parcells was so happy with QC. That was the best it would ever be.

We sure have been on the rollercoaster. Any long time fan would be crazy not to have reservations about any new quarterback. We seem to have been cursed for a long time.

But Jerry went out and got himself a real coach, not a puppet. An old school coach that raises a quarterback until he is ready to play. Tony Romo has been in the system for four years, practicing with one of the NFL's premier defenses all the while. So he does have some experience.

Still, its a miracle how this guy plays football. Did you hear the comment between Buck and Aikman when Romo looked like he was running for the touchdown, drawing the defenders, then lightly tossing the ball into the endzone? Buck said "he sure makes it look easy." Aikman replied, "It never was for me."

Even Aikman is starting to believe it.

We're in for a long ride and you're right: it feels good. Finally dammit, it feels good to be a Cowboys fan again.

Big test in New York coming up. We passed the biggest test by bagging Indy. We stomped Tampa like we should have.

Bailey Stewart said...

When they were going through the Carter/Hutchinson years, I said that they needed to get a veteran QB who had a season or two left in him for the young rookies to play behind - a mentoring system. Then they got Testaverde and Bledsoe. Romo said that playing behind them helped his game. Ol' Tuna knew what he was doing. I remember Aikman saying they just needed to put Henson on out there - that being a rookie QB didn't hurt him. *My male "what would a girl know about football" relatives agreed with him. I said that he was wrong, that not everyone reacts the same way and for every rookie Aikman there were multitudes of failures on the rookie QB front. That there must be something about the back-ups that Parcells recognized as not being ready. We needed to trust him. Those same relatives have latched on this to say they were right the entire time and that Romo should have been out there ealier. *sigh* Back in the Aikman days I used to keep QB stats, paid more attention to team stats, etc. I couldn't pick the spread or anything, but I did have an 80% accuracy in just picking what teams would win that day. They wouldn't listen to me then, either, yet they still called to ask who I thought would win. I only say this to emphasize what morons they are.

If the defense continues to play the way they have, I'm not worried about the Giants. We decimated Peyton Manning, considered one of the best in the league, so other QB's shouldn't be much of a problem. Other teams are going to keep an eye on Williams though. Can you believe him? Two interceptions in two consecutive games - I haven't had this much enthusiasm for him since his tag-team days with Woodson. They put the fear in receivers. Remember how they would slam a receiver and for the rest of the game you could actually see said receiver hesitate before going for the ball? I think that if they can keep Romo from getting knocked for a loop when he scrambles that we're going to the playoffs. There, I said it.

Bailey Stewart said...

Damn - that * up there was supposed to be a footnote and I forgot it.

* This does not in any way mean that every man is a "what would a girl know about football" whiner. My father and his brothers were/are particularly chauvanistic. I actually have a male cousin who does recognize that I might know something and will ask me each year "what do you think", but he's an exception.

I also meant to add this:

practicing with one of the NFL's premier defenses all the while. So he does have some experience

Many actors/singers have said that even with the success they've encountered in their careers that there are still contemporaries that make them nervous when they must appear with them. This was the inexperience that I was referring to with Romo - when you actually get on the field with guys that you've admired and followed their careers. Practicing and actually playing the game are two different experiences. That's why his amazing poise has especially surprised me.