Tag Archives: dallas cowboys

I’m Packing Up My Game

The Dallas Cowboys announced that Tony Romo had back surgery this morning and will not play in the season finale on Sunday night, nor any playoff games should the Cowboys win.  This ended four days’ worth of speculation on whether or not he would suit up for the de facto division title game against the Philadelphia Eagles.

There has been a narrative over the past few years that Romo is not a good quarterback, that he chokes in the clutch.  While there are plenty of examples of games where he has had an opportunity to come through for the Cowboys and the team lost, the fact of the matter is that this narrative is hideously unfair to Romo.

The most recent example is the loss to Green Bay nearly two weeks ago.  The Cowboys blew a 26-3 lead, but the only thing that fans point out – goaded on by the media, too – is that Romo threw an interception to effectively end the game.  You know what?  Take a look at any football game ever: there is a really good chance that, minus a few kneeldowns, it’s going to end on an interception.  When you’re trying to score in a short period of time, passing is the way to go, and you don’t often have the time to be picky.  That’s a recipe for a turnover for anyone, not just Tony Romo.  And yet, none of that even comes into play if your defense can hold on to a 23-point lead in the second half.

On Sunday, a clearly gimpy Romo led his team to the winning score.  “Oh, that’s just one time!” people said.  And yet, according to ESPN’s Stats and Info Twitter feed (a very good follow, by the way), Peyton Manning has the most game-winning drives in the fourth quarter or overtime since 2006 with 25.  Tied for second?  Tony Romo!  Over the last eight years, only one man has led his team to victory late in the game more often than Romo.

Of course, the losses stick out more than the wins.  Part of that is the prominence of the Cowboys in the national spotlight: success and failures alike are magnified when you play for “America’s Team.”  But keep this in mind as well: the reason that Romo has had so many opportunities to lead game-winning drives – and game-losing drives, as it were – is because the Cowboys play a lot of close games.  That’s not just Romo’s fault.  That’s on the player personnel people, the coaching staffs, and the other 52 guys on the roster.  The Cowboys simply haven’t been very good over the last eight years.

As an Eagles fan, I obviously hope that the Cowboys lose on Sunday night.  As someone who is tired of the constant bashing of Tony Romo, I hope they do so embarrassingly in his absence.

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How Can I Measure Up to Anyone Now?

Who are you indeed, Nick Foles?

Only an NFL record-holder, apparently.

Throughout the first half of the NFL season, the major concern in Philadelphia has been whether or not new head coach Chip Kelly’s offense can be successful at the highest level or if it’s a gimmick that will be figured out by the rest of the league in due time.  Hand in hand with that is the issue of who should play quarterback for the Eagles.

The last two weeks, the Eagles have failed to score an offensive touchdown.  After playing well in relief of Michael Vick a few weeks earlier, Foles laid a spectacular egg against the rival Dallas Cowboys two weeks ago.  He put the cherry on top of his crap sundae by getting knocked out of the game after three quarters with a concussion.  Rookie Matt Barkley came into the game and promptly lit Foles’ bag of poop on fire and smothered it all over everyone’s doorstep.

Last week against the lowly New York Giants, Vick returned from his hamstring injury and lasted about a quarter before re-injuring himself, which literally everyone saw coming.  With Foles ruled out, Barkley came in once again and impressed absolutely nobody.

The bellyaching became annoying right away.  “This team has no quarterback!”  “We need a ‘quarterback of the future’!”  “What a waste of a draft pick!”  Et cetera, et cetera.

Obviously, Kelly’s offense needs the right quarterback to function properly.  But is the right quarterback a guy like Vick, who, when healthy, is a threat to take off and score from anywhere on the field?  Or is it someone like Foles, a guy who can move around to escape trouble, but whose legs don’t really scare you?  One thing is for sure: as of now, it’s probably not Barkley.

With Vick out again, Foles returned to the lineup this afternoon in Oakland.  All he did was throw seven touchdown passes.  In three quarters.

Granted, the Raiders aren’t very good.  Maybe they aren’t any good.  But still.  Seven touchdowns is a LOT of touchdowns.  Foles is the seventh player in history to do this; Peyton Manning became the sixth on the first night of the season.  No one has thrown eight.

As a sports fan, I wanted him to go for the record.  As an Eagles fan, the thought of Foles getting hurt and Barkley being forced to start was less than ideal.  Kelly split the difference: Foles went out for the next two series, despite the Eagles leading by 30-plus points.  After a pair of three-and-outs, Foles was taken out of the game.

Aw, man.  But also, whew.

So of course, as they are wont to do, the local sports media is wondering if Foles is the man Kelly’s been looking for.  Two weeks ago, he was terrible and was clearly not the answer.  Seven touchdowns later, maybe he is?  Ugh.  Just stop.

I think that Nick Foles should be the Eagles’ starting quarterback for the next two months.  Beyond that, I don’t know if he’s the Eagles’ quarterback of the future.  I do know that Michael Vick is not.  Why bother going through the charade of picking the quarterback every week?  Sure, health is the number one concern, as Kelly has stated.  But so long as he’s able to stand, and knows where he is, give Foles the job.

Kelly has to consider the fact that a number of guys in the locker room are friends, allies, and supporters of Vick.  He’s their guy, and to relegate him to a backup role could cause some trouble in the ranks.  But at some point, performance speaks for itself, regardless of its effect  on locker room harmony.  Vick hasn’t been able to finish his last two games.  Foles finished off an NFL record-tying performance, and did it in three quarters.

If there’s a guy in the locker room who doesn’t feel that Foles deserves to start next week, maybe that guy is the one who should be holding a clipboard.