Breaking Down Areas Where Tony Romo's Game Mechanics Are Completely Off Track
He has thrown 13 interceptions this season with almost 2,500 passing yards. But he's been off at times and it has cost the Dallas Cowboys in the end. He tossed five interceptions against the Chicago Bears and four against the New York Giants a couple of weeks ago. That is a nine interception swing in just two games.
Somewhere, Romo is off in either his reads or just sheer mechanics. Just like his football hero Brett Favre, Romo likes to take chances. Where most quarterbacks will look at an opportunity to pass the ball and say "why?," Romo looks and says "why not?"
I'm going to take a look at just two interceptions and break down where the star quarterback went wrong in his throws. Sometimes, it is the quarterback's fault, other times it may be the receiver's.
Either way, we'll get a good opportunity to take an in-depth look at some of Romo's costliest throws.
Cowboys vs. Ravens: Second Quarter, Third Down, 2:24 on Clock
This play is where I believe the game shifted for the Cowboys. The game was tied, but the Cowboys seemed to have the momentum. This was an important game for Dallas to show that they could stick with some of the NFL's more physical teams.
So far, they were doing a pretty good job.
On this play, late in the second quarter, the Cowboys faced 3rd-and-long from the Ravens 35-yard line. If the Cowboys could convert, they could extend the drive and possibly take a lead into halftime with a field goal or a touchdown.
If they failed to convert, they could possibly pick up more yardage for a long field-goal try. Either way, they were sitting in the catbird's seat.
One of Romo's main problems, as with most quarterbacks, is when he has pressure directly in his face, he panics. Some quarterbacks are cool under pressure and can mange it well. Either take the sack, throw the ball away or make the safe throw for minimal yards.
With this one, Romo tried to make to much out of nothing. Dallas snapped the ball at the 35-yard line and Romo dropped back all the way to the 45. That is a 10-yard dropoff from where the original line of scrimmage is located.
As he tries to escape the pressure to his right, the Ravens start to close in on him and he has nowhere to go but down. Instead of taking the sack and living for another play, Romo decides to go for the first down all at once.
Taking a peek at the screen cap of Romo's line of sight, he has the chance to dump the ball off to a panicked Felix Jones or an open Jason Witten.
Throwing the ball to Jones would have probably resulted in an incomplete pass as it seems that he was trying to find a way to protect his quarterback.
Romo's next available option was Witten. Witten's open and has inside position on the defender covering him, which is Ray Lewis. A completion to Witten would have yielded minimal yards as he would have been wrapped immediately.
Yet, this is the safer play as Romo wants to get rid of the ball and give the Cowboys an opportunity to score.
Keep in mind, there is plenty of time left on the clock, the game is tied and it is just the second quarter.
After surveying his options, quickly as he had a myriad of Raven players barreling down on him, Romo decides to check off Jones and Witten and go for the gusto.
He goes after receiver Kevin Ogletree, who cut his route off about two yards after the first-down marker. But Romo was off with his placement of the ball as he overthrows Ogletree and the ball is picked by Ravens cornerback Cary Williams.
It was a dangerous pass for Romo to make on such a crucial down, and maybe most importantly, he did not have to make the throw.
Witten was a perfect option to lend the ball to so that the Cowboys would survive the down. He made a bad decision, with pressure in his face, and the ball placement was off. Romo was backing away from the pressure, which probably caused the pass to be a little off.
For this throw, Romo's decision-making was just plain bad.
Cowboys vs. Giants: First Quarter, First Down, 5:55 on Clock
I'm sure that Cowboys fans remember this game as the great comeback that wasn't. Dallas went down by 23 to the Giants in the first half and came storming back to take a one-point lead. Those 24 points meant nothing in the end as Dallas gave itself enough self inflicted wounds for an undisputed sports suicide.
They had penalties, mistakes, wrong routes, a bad rushing attack, awful throws and terrible coaching. Dallas just wasn't ready for prime time that night as it was evident in their play.
For this play in particular, I want to take a look at how Romo steps into the throw and the amount of protection he has.
Notice in the screen cap of this first-down play, Romo's offensive line gives him a grand amount of cushion. The Giants most fierce pass-rusher, Jason Pierre-Paul, was held up on this play as well as the rest of the line.
Notice, also, that Romo has running backs Felix Jones and Lawrence Vickers underneath for possible short completions. Before he calls snap, Bryant motions back toward the line and runs what looks to be a go route straight down the field.
Austin does the same but breaks slightly toward the right sideline while Bryant tries to take some of the defensive traffic with him toward the middle of the field.
From my perspective, it looked as if Romo was banking on the Giants choosing to leave one of the receivers in single coverage, but I digress.
Looking at the replay, Romo seems to step into his throw fully and square his shoulders before the throw leaves his hand.
It wasn't a duck, didn't have any "ears" on it and seemed to be a legit shot toward a big downfield gain.
Yet, Romo missed something on this pass. It lagged, which caused Austin to slow his speed and turn around to look for the ball.
By that time, it was to late. The ball was underthrown, and the Giants were one step ahead in getting to it.
Giants defensive back Corey Webster is responsible for this Romo turnover. Austin seemed to be going toward beating Webster, and he had inside position. But because it was underthrown, Austin had to completely slow his momentum.
For some reason, it looked like Romo tried to float the ball into Austin instead of leading him with the football.
By the time the ball reached Austin's area, Giants safety Stevie Brown had enough time to leave Bryant and make it to Austin.
This was a bad decision by Romo because it wasn't a good throw. He didn't put enough zeal behind it didn't give his receiver an opportunity to catch the ball or make a play on it.
Romo's enthusiasm to make a play sometimes gets the better of him and he makes a bad decision.
If we are to judge Romo's mechanics, he just simply makes bad decisions at times. He doesn't look as if he's lost any zip or velocity on the ball; he just made a bad throw to Austin.
For the remainder of the season, Romo has to be aware of how many turnovers he's creating for his team. Placing the Cowboys in a hole is not good for a 3-5 football team, and he has to take better care of the football.
In the end, it is Romo's decision-making, over everything else, that is the root cause for all of the turnovers.
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