Friday, June 19, 2009

Romo Plans to Protect the Ball

During minicamp this week Tony Romo stated several times that he plans to do a better job protecting the ball this season. I hope he sticks to his plan but I also don't want him to think he needs to turn into a "bus driver" and throw the ball away before taking any risks. I would hate to see Romo lose sight of what makes him a great player. I think minimizing his turnovers is definitely a priority as long as it is not done so much that he becomes overly conservative. Romo is a big play quarterback and I hope we continue to see the big plays out of him. He just needs to eliminate the dumb throws where he just throws it into double coverage for no reason and he needs to protect the ball better when there are pass rushers around him in the pocket.

Last offseason Tony Romo tried to emulate what Tom Brady did with his footwork in the pocket. While it seemed like a good change at first, what the change really did was limit his ability to elude pass rushers. He was basically dropping back and standing still in the pocket while making his reads. After the first 4 or 5 games he was back to his old ways of moving around and in some ways it made him better. Staying in the pocket is important but not so much that he goes against his instincts and hurts his big play abilities.

The reason I bring up the Tom Brady example is because I hope that Tony learned his lesson on learning new things from other quarterbacks. He was leaving the pocket too fast at times but he overcorrected the problem and hurt his overall play. It is always good to improve and seek better ways to get the job done, but he can't lose sight of who he is as a player. I hope he continues to improve by studying other quarterbacks but I still want to see his gunslinger mentality on the field.


  1. Romo is a tough guy to defend. He has thrown so many td's and has made some very exciting plays, but he seems to throw everything away at the end of the season. It probably doesn't matter because he'll have the rest of his career to improve because he has been labled a "franchise quarterback". Hopefully he can turn everything around, but that double coverage seems to bring out the worst in Tony Romo.

  2. I don't think Romo "throws into double coverage for no reason." Maybe he has a tendency to fit the ball into spots you wish he wouldn't, but a lot of what we see as double coverage is just that safety coming over to help out just as the ball is getting there. That's not double coverage. That's what safeties do. And I know you know that. I think that perception is common among fans because we only see the shot of the receiver as the ball gets there. I wish they would show a wider shot all the time, like on the coaches tapes. Really even TO wasn't doubled all the time. Safeties are told to cheat his direction. That's not the same thing.

    Also, I disagree with the notion that Romo fell apart at the end of the year. He actually played relatively well in the Philly game. Go back and watch it on's GameRewind.

    The one thing I will say, I will echo something Romo himself has said this offseason. He does trust that his receivers will run the routes the playbook specifies. WR coach Ray Sherman has said that this is an area where Roy Williams is superior to TO. Roy runs the routes and doesn't get lazy or get derailed by the defensive scheme. He may have been open, but if he didn't run the route, it's worthless. QBs have less than 3 seconds to make a throw on any given play. Granted, Tony has the talent to buy another 4-6 seconds sometimes... :)

  3. speedmetal...let me first say I am one of the biggest Romo supporters you will find. But I also know that, without a doubt, once in a while he forces the ball into coverage in situations where it isn't necessary. The first play that pops in my head is the deep ball to Roy Williams in the Ravens game. While Roy may not have been doubled at the line by the time he went deep the safety was helping because he was the only deep threat so it was essentially double coverage. Tony saw the coverage but basically threw it up hoping Roy would make a miraculous play to catch the ball. Those kind of plays shouldn't happen unless it is a Hail Mary situation. A player doesn't have to be doubled at the line to end up in double coverage down the field.

    I love the way Tony plays and I don't want him to change in any way except to eliminate the boneheaded turnovers like the one I described. I can live with the turnovers that come with trying to make the big play but plays like the Roy Williams interception have to be eliminated. I think a lot of the interceptions were a result of forcing the ball to T.O. and those types of plays should be less frequent now that he is gone.

    And the fumbles are a big problem but that can be corrected easily by having Tony just becoming more aware of handling the ball better in situations where he is under pressure. That problem is an easy fix.

  4. It's not that I completely disagree with you. I do remember Romo trying to put a ball in impossible spots. Except we see it work all the time when those passes are aimed at Witten.

    The thing is, I don't think Romo makes many boneheaded plays. And I know I'm in the minority on that one. Take the Ravens game as a perfect example of what I mean. Remember that the week before his back got really beat up in the Giants game. Then remember that he only had 5 days to rest before the Ravens game. Go back and watch that INT you're talking about - the one on our first possession. Roy had the deep angle. Those guys were trying to catch up to him until Romo underthrew the ball. Then the defenders where in better position and it was Roy who was trying to catch up to where the ball was. I think he underthrew the ball because his back wasn't loose. Same thing with the INT later in the game. TO didn't have his man beat by much, but Romo underthrew the ball so far that even the corner didn't have a shot at the pick. That's the kind of thing you have to learn from experience. Hopefully he did and the next time he's sore and has a stiff back, he'll compensate for it better.

    As far as the fumbles - he's no Rex Grossman. I saw a stat (haven't verified this yet) that showed Tony has fewer fumbles than Tom Brady at the same point in his career.

  5. We obviously all agree that he has to cut down on turnovers but I think it is hard to tell sometimes what he is seeing. The view from the field is different than the view from our living room. Although i agree sometimes he makes some really dumb choices when throwing the ball but some of those work out great (how many times have we seen him almost get sacked and then throw a ball he really shouldn't and it gets caught for a TD).

    I have a bigger issue with his fumbles. Those to me are way more serious. To me he is super reckless with holding the ball moving around the pocket. All it takes is one swipe and there it goes. I know we say the fumbles are easily fixable but he's had that problem for two and a half seasons now...he hasn't fixed it yet.

    I can live with an occassional throw that is off the mark and gets INT as long as he keeps producing a high TD/INT ratio.

  6. beWARE...I agree on the fumbles. That problem needs to be addressed now. Some of the fumbles are inexcusable. Sometimes it seems that Tony loses track of defenders who are behind him and fails to cover the ball when a hit is coming. A blind side shot while in the pocket is always going to be a fumble but when he scrambles he should be more aware of ball protection. I hope they are working on that part of his game because 14 fumbles last year was way too many.

  7. I think we all agree that he needs to get to the point of winning important/playoff games. He needs to lead this team by playing fantastic. No more excuses. It's time to see if he is in fact a franchise quarterback, or just a mirage.

  8. I is put up or shut up time for Romo and the rest of the team. All of the excuses have been used up. It is time for the Cowboys to show what they are made of in 2009.