Romo's romance could cost Cowboys big vs. Giants
Posted: Friday January 11, 2008 12:07PM; Updated: Friday January 11, 2008 3:27PM
Without further ado-doo, let's get to the burning issue of the day. Pat of Amenian, N.Y., asks the following: "Do you think Jessica Simpson is just an excuse for Romo's poor play, or do you think he just doesn't handle the pressure of playoff time?"
In order to answer that question, I have to take a roundabout route, and in that circuitous fashion your question, hopefully, will be covered. Is this OK? It's the best I can do.
First, a little background on the whole nature of football players and, uh, well, activities that might detract from their passion for the game. Walt Michaels of the old Paul Brown Cleveland Browns once told me Brown had a rule players were not to sleep with their wives (girlfriends not mentioned) after Tuesday. My first question when I heard that was, "How would he ever know? Did he hide in the closet?"
"Honor system," Walt said, with a wink.
Now I find that funny, too, so as you can see, I'm trying to establish myself as a guy who doesn't take this kind of stuff too seriously. YET, and I wish to stress this teeny weeny little adverb, this Romo thing does not sit right with yours truly. He's coming off a bad three-game set; Eagles, Panthers, Redskins. He has a bad thumb and his go-to receiver might be down for the count. Not a happy time.
The game he had against the Eagles -- and maybe the thumb was responsible for it and maybe it wasn't -- was as bad a game as I've seen a QB have this season. And I'm talking about some of Trent Dilfer's desperate afternoons and Testaverde's Tribulations and the birth and death of Charlie Frye, etc. In doing my quarterback ratings I have a little mark I make for a bad pass -- a poor decision, flutterball, wild throw and so forth. Tom Brady, on a good day, might have one or two, sometimes none. If Peyton Manning's facing a tough rush, he might have three or four. Brett Favre on a wild streak might get up to five or six. I think the worst game I recorded for Eli Manning this season was one in which he had nine, and that's a lot.
Romo against Philly had 14. I probably have, sometime in the past, recorded that many, but I can't recall when.
If I were Wade Phillips and I had an open weekend ahead, I wouldn't make Romo strap on the pads and get to work, but I'd damn well make sure to tell him to get his ass into Jason Garrett's office and work this thing out. Instead it's off to Cancun on the Airhead Express with his tootsie. I don't buy it. If I were betting, I'd jump on the Giants, getting 7½. And that's all I have to say on the subject -- until I have something more to say.
My All-Pro team, as usual, has generated its share of froth. First I'll address the blog questions (Quogs? Blestions?) that Andrew set up, and since most of them revolve around my choosing Reggie Wayne over T.O., I'll concentrate on that one. With a chart ... one of a few that I devoted to the head-to-head matchup. This is just another way of doing it, and in no way definitive. It's my tracking of the week-by-week performances of each, awarding an advantage each time, and I think you'll agree that I'm being more than fair to T.O.
OK, bring it on. Here come the people who hate me and my All-Pro selections, and the following e-mails, to save time, all will begin with, "HOW COULD YOU?"
" ... bail out on Cromartie?" (Mike of Rochester). Easy. Picked the guys I graded higher. He's my No. 3 corner, but if you pick up the magazine, you'll see he made my team. Huh? How could this be? Now you see it, now you don't. One of the mysteries of modern science, and some day I'll explain to you this monumental glitch.
"Have one running back instead of two? A lot of teams actually use two."(Hayden of Valhalla, N.Y.). I have in front of me the year-end rushing statistics. On teams in which everyone stayed relatively healthy, or one guy didn't take over for another as featured back, there were only four that saw two backs share the wealth, Minnesota with Peterson and Taylor, Jacksonville with Taylor and Jones-Drew, Dallas with Jones and Barber and Atlanta with Dunn and Norwood. And even these teams seldom had both of them in the same alignment. That means that teams work with one feature back. And that's the way I designed my All-Pro team.
"Not list DeAngelo Hall?" (Andy of Atlanta). DeAngelo giveth, DeAngelo taketh away. Andy even answers his own question: "This is a young guy who used to be a Pro-Bowler, who now bites on almost every double move. Were the projections wrong all along, or has he regressed tremendously?" Thank you for an accurate, concise answer. May I please enlist your services in answering a kind of pesty question from a guy called Andy from Atlanta? And in answer to the latter, he once had tremendous talent, he has regressed, and I don't think he got very good coaching. A new regime will fix all that, or he just might have to pack it in and go work for ESPN or some other wonderful network.
"not see enough in DeMeco Ryans to even warrant strong consideration?" (Kyle of Sleepy Hollow, N.Y.). When I wrote about my All-Pros I said that at times I ran across a player who might have crashed the list, somewhere, if I had done a workup on him, but, because of the press of time, I just couldn't, since after a few looks I could tell that he wasn't going to be among the very top guys. Now this might be unfair, but honestly, days and days and days went into this project.
Ryans was a guy I got special film on last year. He made a lot of tackles and he swallowed a lot of fakes, and, through great athletic ability, came back and made tackles after he'd been out of position. Hence, a huge number of T and A's. This year I didn't see him noticeably advanced on his reads, but he played a bit more hesitantly, probably because the coaches got on him about being out of position. The result was a muted version of the Ryans of 2006 and in a position as swollen with quality as MLB, he just didn't figure in.