Tony Romo surely has a few things to contemplate between now and when he enters Dallas Cowboys training camp. Romo may be thinking about fine-tuning his physical condition. Also, he may be looking to perfect his form in the pocket.
These are great ideas for Romo. The Cowboys quarterback might have a detailed plan for the offseason.
Meanwhile, one wonders whether Romo has been watching the playoffs closely to this point. Particularly, he would have been keen to watch the Denver Broncos and their much-discussed quarterback, Tim Tebow.
Some may wonder what Romo has to gain from Tebow. Tebow isn't an elite quarterback like Tom Brady, Drew Brees or Aaron Rodgers. Tebow isn't even one of the better quarterbacks in the league. He ranked 28th in passer rating—just behind Colt McCoy. Besides, Tebow is six years younger than Romo.
Nevertheless, as a college professor once told me, you can learn as much from watching a bad movie as you can from watching a good one.
No matter how bad Tebow may be, Romo has pointers to gather from watching him.
The pointers Romo can gain from watching Tebow that will be mentioned in this slideshow don't pertain to how Tebow can help him get jacked up in Christ. These are all football lessons. Read along to see what Romo can learn from.
Romo could follow Tebow on the ground game.
Tebow is strident in taking his chances on the ground. On the season, Tebow rushed for 660 yards and six touchdowns, averaging 5.4 yards per rush. He had five rushes of 20 yards or more.
Tebow was successful on the ground in one of two playoff games. Against the Pittsburgh Steelers in the divisional round, Tebow ran for 50 yards on 10 attempts. He ran an eight-yarder for a score. While he only managed 13 yards rushing on five attempts, Tebow notched one of his few solid plays against the New England Patriots on Saturday on a 14-yard run for a first down.
Romo rarely takes off running. He ran for 46 yards on 22 attempts and scored one rushing touchdown in 2011. He's rushed for 201 fewer yards in his career than Tebow did in 2011.
Romo might benefit from taking shots on the ground. Sometimes he faces a great deal of pressure in the pocket. He might do well to break out scrambling periodically to avoid the sack.
The risk is the potential fumble. Tebow led the NFL with 14 fumbles.
Tebow has come up big for the Broncos late in games. He led the Broncos to five comeback victories in the regular season. The Wild Card Round saw Tebow lift the Broncos to victory on a big pass play on the first play from scrimmage in overtime.
Romo is no stranger to the big overtime play. He hit Jesse Holley with a long ball in overtime to set up the game-winning field goal in Week 2 against the San Francisco 49ers. On Oct. 11, 2009, Romo hit Miles Austin with a 60-yard touchdown pass to beat the Kansas City Chiefs in overtime.
However, Romo wasn't as successful as Tebow in the clutch. Tebow was 6-2 in games decided by seven points or fewer, compared to Romo's 4-5 record in games decided by such a margin.
Tebow makes it count in the clutch. After starting 3-of-16 against the Chicago Bears, he completed 18 of his last 23 passes to aid the comeback win. Tebow led a fearless rushing attack on the last drive against the New York Jets and took in a 20-yard run to win.
Romo has done nicely in the clutch. He led four comeback wins for the Cowboys in 2011. He's often credited with having the best fourth-quarter passer rating. Romo generally avoids big mistakes in the clutch.
However, he has made his share of mistakes in the clutch. Few will forget the fumble and interception in the fourth quarter that helped blow the game in Week 1 against the Jets. In Week 14 against the New York Giants, Romo overthrew Miles Austin on a late pass attempt that could have sealed up a win if they connected.
One can hardly tell what Tebow has on Romo in the clutch. One might point to tenacity, self-trust or luck. Perhaps Romo simply needs to see plays and make them.
This is an important lesson to ensure that Romo can have a long career, as well as a reasonably enjoyable post-football life.
Avoiding ugly hits is of the utmost importance. Some quarterbacks do better than others at this. Tebow isn't one of the better quarterbacks at avoiding ugly hits. At that, Tebow brings on rough hits. Often, when being sacked, Tebow lowers his head into the oncoming players. That incurs an unnecessary amount of head and neck trauma.
Quarterbacks shouldn't increase the pain they feel when being hit.
Also, Tebow isn't very careful when being tackled on the run. Tebow sometimes runs full speed into tacklers instead of sliding like many quarterbacks do. He did this on his first-down run against the Patriots, bringing on a rough hit from Kyle Arrington.
Likewise, this brings much more pain than a quarterback needs to endure.
Romo needs to take note. He's suffered his share of injuries to this point in his career. Suffering a head or neck injury by taking a hit the wrong way wouldn't be fun. Romo needs to sustain his brain capability as best he can by taking hits in a safe way.
Romo is an accurate quarterback, to say the least. He completed 66.3 percent of his passes in 2011, making it the third season he's been in the top 10 in completion percentage. Romo helped himself by completing two-thirds of his passes in six games. Only twice did he complete less than 60 percent of his passes, and not one game that saw him throw more than two passes did he complete less than half.
Meanwhile, Tebow has been horridly inaccurate. He completed 46.5 percent of his passes, the lowest completion rate of any quarterback with as many attempts as he had since 1979 when Doug Williams completed 41.8 percent of his throws.
Tebow only completed more than half of his passes four times. He was 3-1 when completing 50 percent or more of his passes and 4-4 when completing less than half.
Romo can be assured that he does well by completing a high percentage of his passes. Completing passes at a higher rate gives the Cowboys a better chance of winning. Meanwhile, Tebow helped the Broncos much more when he hit receivers than when he missed.