When in Romo Dallas QB Controversy Heats Up

Kevan LeeSenior Analyst ISeptember 15, 2006

IconTo say that Drew Bledsoe played poorly in Sunday's game at Jacksonville would be an understatement. To say that Bledsoe missed open receivers, managed the game poorly, and committed disgusting turnovers would only just scratch the surface. To say that Drew Bledsoe played like, well, Drew Henson - that would be pretty accurate.
Bledsoe's underwhelming performance in Sunday's game at Jacksonville was bad on so many levels, including the one that matters most: the Cowboys lost by a touchdown to the mediocre Jaguars. His final numbers (16-33 for 246 yards, one touchdown, three INT's) don't even begin to tell the story, but they do provide a fab prologue.

Completing 16-33 is not that bad, but hitting any number of open looks, not throwing balls two feet wide of targets, and not bouncing balls at the feet of receivers could have easily made 16-33 read more like 26-33. His lone touchdown pass, a wobbling thing of beauty over T.O.'s wrong shoulder, came on a desperation drive against the Jags' soft prevent defense. Bledsoe's three INT's were, in and of themselves, bad enough; but there were times when he hit defensive backs between the numbers with more frequency than he did his own wideouts. Three could have been - should have been - more.

During the depressing debacle, backup quarterback Tony Romo sat dutifully on the sideline, waiting his turn—a turn that many Cowboys fans feel may be coming right around the corner.

Romo, the Eastern Illinois business major, was a star for Dallas in the preseason. He dazzled in his starts by looking good in the pocket, completing a high percentage of his throws, and not reminding fans one bit of Bledsoe. And therein might be his sexiest attribute: he's not Drew. In fact, he is so not Drew that he almost overtook the incumbent starter for the top spot in Sunday's opener. As it were, he joined 60,000 fans, a national audience and a saucy Joe Buck-Troy Aikman team in witnessing Bledsoe's meltdown.

All of this begs the question: how long until Tony Romo is the starting quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys?

And that question begs a question of its own: how did it come to this?

This discussion would be a lot more beneficial to the Cowboys' Super Bowl chances if the backup QB in question was anyone other than Mr. Zero-Career-Passing-Yards. If it were Matt Leinart, Billy Volek, even a 2001 version of Koy Detmer, the Cowboys would have a lot more to gain from a quarterback change.

Dallas was a team many picked to represent the NFC in Super Bowl XLI.  They are loaded on defense and stacked at most key skill positions on offense. They have one of the greatest coaches in NFL history (Parcells) and one of its most dynamic play-makers (Owens).

And they're considering a guy whose only career snap under center was taking a knee in a blowout.

Now don't get me wrong. I saw Romo play during the preseason, and he looked solid. He did a great job leading the team down the field and appeared to have a good grasp of the offense. Not only that, but history has seen several August passers turn preseason success into Pro Bowl careers. Well, maybe just Matt Hasslebeck, but still.

More often, these flashes in the pan turn out to look more like Rob Johnson, A.J. Feeley, and Doug Pederson - hardly a trio of champions. Take a look at your future, Tony Romo.

For the Cowboys to make good on their Super Bowl dreams, the solution to their problems must go deeper than Romo v. Bledsoe.

Their offensive line needs to pass block and run block better. Their defense cannot allow as many mental mistakes and big plays as they did on Sunday. They cannot afford to miss gimme field goals.

Owner Jerry Jones has spent a lot of money making this team a Super Bowl contender, but so far all of his spending has been in vain. Maybe it's time he stops pouring his money into star players' salaries and invests in the one thing that will restore the Cowboys' glory days for sure: a time machine.

Aikman versus Bledsoe. Now that would be something worth talking about.