Special season for Cowboys? Not with Bledsoe at QB
Posted: Monday September 11, 2006 7:17PM; Updated: Tuesday September 12, 2006 11:58AM
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It might just have been the season opener, but the Dallas Cowboys' 24-17 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday played out like a typical Drew Bledsoe season.
There was the opening flash of greatness. He completed five of six passes for 89 yards and led the Cowboys on two scoring drives to take a 10-0 lead. It was the sort of efficiency he had shown while leading the Cowboys to an undefeated preseason. Unfortunately for him and the team, regular-season games require starters to play the entire 60 game.
So Bledsoe continued, completing only seven of his next 22 passes, throwing two interceptions and getting sacked twice as the Jaguars took a 24-10 lead -- 14 of their points coming off Bledsoe interceptions. In typical Bledsoe fashion, he temporarily turned things around, silencing his critics and showing his potential, going 3 for 3 for 79 yards and a touchdown on his next drive, before ultimately falling short, throwing a quick interception with a chance to tie the game at the end.
None of this should have come as a surprise to anyone. The story arcs in Bledsoe seasons are as cookie-cutter as those in most romantic comedies. Anyone shocked by the outcome is probably equally perplexed by the endings of The Wedding Singer and There's Something About Mary.
Ask any fan of the Patriots or Bills about Bledsoe and you'll hear the same thing: He is a good quarterback, not a great quarterback. The Cowboys' problem is they think they have a potentially great team this season if everything falls into place. That won't be possible if Bledsoe's passes continue to fall in the wrong places.
Not only did Bledsoe throw three crucial interceptions and continue to show the mobility of a three-toed sloth in the pocket, but he simply misread more plays than a 14-year quarterback should, overthrowing and underthrowing wide-open receivers, including Terrell Owens on a couple of potentially big plays.
Bledsoe is still better than most quarterbacks in the league, but he isn't the right quarterback for the Cowboys this season. And it's becoming increasingly clear that it's only a matter of time before that job goes to Tony Romo.
Romo has already been hailed as the future quarterback of the Cowboys by owner Jerry Jones,who gave the fourth-year player a two-year, $3.9 million contract, which included a $2 million signing bonus, before this season. "I think it's a real indication that the Cowboys are, at this juncture, looking to Tony as it pertains to the future," Jones said at the time. "I think Tony has played enough to establish that now and gain the confidence of everybody involved, his teammates."
Although Romo has yet to throw a regular-season pass, he has shown enough confidence in the pocket and enough athleticism outside of it during practices and the preseason to remind some of another young upstart who ended up replacing Bledsoe and leading his team to the Super Bowl. Any comparisons between Romo and Tom Brady are ridiculous until the 26-year-old steps on the field, but who's to say they won't start making sense once he does? Who's to say Romo won't jump-start the Cowboys and start making plays Bledsoe can't while cutting back on the mistakes that have been the veteran's trademark?
After all, we all know how the Bledsoe story will finish, so why not take a chance on a new script while you still have a chance to rewrite the ending?