Don’t let the easy 34-7 victory over the Rams fool you. Unless the Dallas Cowboys finally break through and win the Super Bowl at the end of the year, it may be time for the team and the city of Dallas to end their turbulent relationship with star quarterback Tony Romo once and for all.
While the split probably won’t be very amicable, it’s going to be necessary for a myriad of reasons.
Here are a few of them.
If Cowboys owner Jerry Jones finally decides to cut ties with his star quarterback, the 2012 NFL draft may be the perfect opportunity to do so. To say the quarterback class in next year’s draft is pretty good is a major understatement.
It’s shaping up to be one of the deepest classes in draft history. The draft obviously starts at the top with Stanford’s Andrew Luck, who has been pegged as the top pick for the better part of two years now.
In terms of franchise quarterbacks, Luck is as sure as it gets, although he’s not the only one with the potential to star under center in the pros.
For weeks, Southern Cal fans have been arguing that their quarterback, Matt Barkley, has every bit the NFL potential as Andrew Luck. After seeing what he’s done so far this season, I would have to agree.
For those teams that lose out on the Andrew Luck sweepstakes, there are plenty of consolation prizes, starting with Barkley. Other quarterbacks likely to excel on Sundays include Oklahoma’s Landry Jones, Arizona’s Nick Foles, San Diego State’s Ryan Lindley, Florida’s John Brantley and Baylor’s Robert Griffin III.
With plenty of quality passers to choose from, Jones may be wise to snag Romo’s successor in next year’s NFL draft.
You can argue that the Cowboys have the best skill position players in the NFL. Their starting receiver duo of Miles Austin and Dez Bryant takes a backseat to no one. Jason Witten remains one of the game’s best tight ends. And their backfield has found some new depth and talent, thanks to the incredible emergence of rookie running back DeMarco Murray.
It’s because of this impressive arsenal that you can also argue that Tony Romo is holding the Cowboys back.
With backs and receivers as talented as the ones the Cowboys have, they should be one of the league’s most explosive offenses. While they are at times, nobody is confusing them with the likes of the Packers, Patriots and Saints, all of which are widely regarded as some of the game’s best.
In essence, elite offenses are driven by elite quarterbacks. The Cowboys have the pieces in place to be an elite offense, just not at the quarterback position.
It must be frustrating for Jerry Jones to watch Tony Romo on a weekly basis. To me, there’s no doubt he’s the most schizophrenic quarterback in America. One week, he’s making baffling fourth-quarter decisions that ultimately lead to his team’s downfall (like against the Jets and Lions).
The next, he’s playing through a nasty rib injury and leading his team to victory halfway across the country over a formidable opponent (like against the 49ers).
Will the real Tony Romo please stand up?
Cowboys fans have been waiting several years for the real Tony Romo to stand up, and he still has yet to do so. Not only is the inconsistency giving Jones heartburn, it’s starting to run the risk of seriously jeopardizing Dallas’s Super Bowl aspirations.
What makes the aforementioned Rodgers, Brady and Brees so great? Among many measureable qualities is the fact that—much more often than not—you know what you’re going to get out of those quarterbacks when they take the field. It’s largely the reason why that trio has won a combined five Super Bowls.
Even at this point in his career, you still don’t know which Tony Romo will show up on a weekly basis. And it’s no coincidence that he is still searching for his first championship.
With the game on the line, Tony Romo isn’t one of the first quarterbacks you want under center trying to pry victory from the jaws of defeat. Romo has proven, time and time again, that he struggles to come through in pressure-packed situations.
Of course, it doesn’t help Romo’s cause knowing he has the unenviable task of living up to the reputations of former Dallas quarterbacks like Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman. Staubach was known as Captain Comeback for his ability to come through time and time again with the game on the line. Aikman wasn’t too shabby either, as he led the Cowboys to three Super Bowl titles.
Those are though cleats to fill, and Romo hasn’t filled them very well so far.
Many times with the game on the line, Romo has folded like an ironing board. We all remember his botched field goal snap that ended Dallas’ season in the 2006 playoffs against the Seahawks. Since that debacle, Romo has only won a single playoff game. And 2011 hasn’t been much kinder to the quarterback of America’s Team.
Although he did direct a comeback victory over the 49ers, that was sandwiched in between two games in which Romo arguably cost his team big wins over the Jets and Lions with his erratic fourth-quarter play.
And with the Cowboys nursing a small lead late against the Patriots, Dallas head coach Jason Garrett elected to go conservative instead of relying on Romo to close out the game, a game in which Tom Brady eventually led his team to a comeback win of its own.
That probably tells you all you need to know about Romo’s ability in the clutch or lack thereof.
In case you didn’t hear it, Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant recently declared that the Cowboys are perhaps unbeatable. Yes, that’s a pretty preposterous statement, considering the Boys already have three losses this early in the season.
However, there is some truth in Bryant’s comment if you interpret it in another manner. The Cowboys have Super Bowl-caliber talent on its roster right now. They’re loaded in the skill positions. They have the game’s best pass-rusher in DeMarcus Ware. And they have a defense that will only progress under coordinator Rob Ryanone of the brightest defensive minds in the game. They have loads of talent now, but nothing lasts forever, especially in the NFL.
Some fans joke that the NFL stands for “Not For Long,” partially meaning that whatever Super Bowl window the Cowboys currently have open could snap shut sooner than they would like. If the Cowboys do stay with Romo, they better hope he takes that much-needed next step in leading America’s Team to the Super Bowl they’re always craving. I just don’t know if that’s ever going to ever happen.
When you get past the athleticism, the charming-good looks and the hype that comes with the job, you see a pretty good quarterback in Romo, just not an elite one. Jerry Jones would be well-advised to find himself a quarterback to get his team over the hump—and quickly. Because if he doesn’t, all of the impressive talent he assembled around the quarterback will go to waste pretty quickly.