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Do Better, Texas: Poll Claims Tony Romo Is Not Elite

Bryson Treece



Cowboys Headlines - Tony Romo Can't Catch a Break; Not With Fans, Not With Texans Either 3

It's a tough question to hear as a Cowboys fan. And yet we're faced with it, in one form or another, so often. Is Tony Romo an elite quarterback? Can he ever be anything without a Super Bowl ring on his finger?

If you're anything like me, then the haters drive you crazy, too.

So I'm browsing sports online today and came across an article on Dallas Morning News' Sports Day blog about a poll of Texans. They asked questions about a lot of things,  but what interested me were the Cowboys questions. Here are the results, as summarized by PPP:

Cowboys fans outnumbers Texans fans in the state 46/33. Tony Romo has a 39/24 favorability rating in the state but voters aren't too impressed with his football skills. Only 30% think he is a elite Quarterback to 35% who say he is not elite and 35% who are not sure. We also asked who people think would do the best job at QB for the Cowboys in the year 2016 and only 28% picked Romo to 27% who picked Troy Aikman (who's 49 years old) and 19% who picked Roger Staubach (who's 74 years old).

What does this guy have to do to catch a break? Win a Super Bowl?


Who ever said a quarterback is only as good as the number of rings on his fingers? Nobody says Dez Bryant isn't an elite wide receiver, but he has the same number of rings as Romo.

It's frustrating.

Time and time again, I'm confronted by people arguing that team wins make Troy Aikman a better quarterback than Tony Romo. But give Romo a Super Bowl ring and what changes? Some still argue more rings equal a better quarterback, but some turn a complete 180 and say Romo would be elite if he had a ring. Just one.

On @CowboysNation, Content Manager Mike H. has said it for more than two years now -- team accomplishments cannot be used to measure individual worth.

Cowboys Headlines - Tony Romo Can't Catch a Break; Not With Fans, Not With Texans Either 2

Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Tony Romo, any quarterback, is not a whole team. He doesn't play offense, defense, or special teams. He plays quarterback. His impact is equal to less than a 10th of the offense at any given time.

So how can we say he is any less of a player based on his team does?

Did the NFL turn into soccer while I slept?

He's not out there missing penalty kicks to end a game, he's snapping, throwing, and handing off the ball to his teammates. When opponents score against the Cowboys, does anyone blame Tony Romo for not covering the receiver better? Of course not.

That'd be ridiculous. The whole thing is really quite ridiculous.

And as far as this poll goes, I'm going out on a limb here and saying nearly half of those polled aren't even football fans. 46-percent of respondents said either Troy Aikman or Roger Staubach could take the field in 3 weeks -- in 2016 -- and outplay Tony Romo.

Though I wouldn't put it past Brett Favre to try playing the game into his 50s, I can't say he'd be any good at 45 years old, let alone 49 (Aikman) or 74 (Staubach).

On a more serious note.

Cowboys Headlines - Tony Romo Can't Catch a Break; Not With Fans, Not With Texans Either 1

I wanted to know how Tony Romo ranked, flat-out, in the NFL's default "Passing Leaders" stats, against other quarterbacks by year. So above is eight of the last nine years (skipping 2015 because he only played a few games), from 2014 back to 2007, listing the top five quarterbacks each year, and Tony Romo.

If Tony Romo was in the top five one year, then that year shows the top six ranked quarterbacks. Written beneath each year are the number of games Tony Romo played in that year, regardless of starts or injuries.

Drew Brees is the only quarterback in the NFL who appeared in the top six each year. It's fair to say that if you're looking for the most elite quarterback since 2007, Drew Brees is the guy.

Of the 17 quarterbacks who made an appearance, Peyton Manning has the second most appearances -- behind Brees -- with five, followed by Tom Brady with four, and a tie between Matt Ryan, Philip Rivers, and Aaron Rodgers with three each. Oh, and Tony Romo also made three appearances.

Elite quarterbacks are not the quarterbacks with the most rings. They are the quarterbacks who consistently lead the league at their position.

Looking at the numbers, based purely on yards produced, we know who the elite quarterbacks are. Drew Brees, Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Matt Ryan, Philip Rivers, Aaron Rodgers, and Tony Romo. Yes, and Tony freaking Romo.

I'm as pissed as you Romo doesn't have any rings.

He's played some great football over the years but rarely had a defense able to keep the score down. How many times have we seen 80 and 90-point shoot-outs?

Is Tony Romo the most elite quarterback out there today? No. I was never saying he was either.

I don't know anyone saying he's the best in the game, but I know lots of folks defending themselves from the most asinine perspectives ever dreamed up, just because he wears a star on his helmet.

That's what we're talking about here. The star on the side of that man's helmet each week is a target, and snipers come out of the wood-works whenever he's around.

They're throwing half-truths and team statistics like win-loss records for bullets, but they're always there. And we have to hear their spit all damned day.

What a poll like this shows is Cowboys fans need to make up their minds. Either root for the team, be a fan, or go join the Broncos on Twitter, because we're seeing now just how delusional and self-serving their arguments can be. And over the smallest slight, too.

Anyway, we don't want fans who can't separate a winning (or losing) team from the individuals who make up that team. One is not the other.

Simply put, ladies and gentlemen, teams win Super Bowls, not quarterbacks. Tony Romo is not the exception.

Nothing gives me greater joy than the experience of being a Dallas Cowboys fan come time to check another victory on the schedule every Sunday. I live Inside the Star everyday and blog on it occasionally, as well. Follow us on Twitter - @InsideTheStarDC

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Leighton Vander Esch To Top Rookie Season With Pro Bowl Trip

Mauricio Rodriguez



Next Day Rant: Cowboys Drafting LB Vander Esch Looks Pretty Smart Now

Dallas Cowboys' rookie Leighton Vander Esch has done enough to prove every single doubter wrong. When Roger Goodell called his name during the 2018 NFL Draft in Arlington, Texas, many in Cowboys Nation rejoiced at the thought of having a young linebacker for a defense surrounded with uncertainty. However, many analysts doubted the draft pick. For a lot of people (sadly, I include myself in this category), the pick should've been used on another player. For most, despite acknowledging his raw talent, Vander Esch wouldn't be able to provide the Cowboys with an instant impact player. Ah, well.

After a remarkable season, Vander Esch (a.k.a. Wolf Hunter) has earned a spot on this season's second-team All-Pro. When the Pro Bowl voting began, Vander Esch was snubbed from the ballot itself. It didn't took the NFL long to realize their mistake and add the Cowboys' linebacker to the list. Despite missing the cut at first, Vander Esch will be heading to Orlando to play in this year's Pro Bowl on January 27th.

The former Boise State Bronco will be replacing Carolina Panthers' LB Luke Kuechly, who won't be participating because of an injury.

Vander Esch racked up 140 tackles (per Pro Football Reference), ranking third in the league in this category. He finished the season as the fifth best linebacker in Pro Football Focus' rankings.

But numbers aren't really enough to fully appreciate what Vander Esch did for the Dallas Cowboys. A team that was used to seeing its defense break when veteran Sean Lee went down injured, did not only get someone to fill in for Lee. Vander Esch actually upgraded the Cowboys' defense. It didn't matter where the ball went, he was always around when opponents were tackled. His speed and chance of direction allowed him to run sideline to sideline, covering a huge portion of the field.

Along Jaylon Smith, Dallas managed to have one of the best linebacker duos in the NFL.

The last time a defensive rookie from the Cowboys went to the Pro Bowl was in 1981, when Everson Walls made the team. Vander Esch is the 11th rookie in team history to be selected to the Pro Bowl. This year, the rookie will be accompanied by DeMarcus Lawrence, Byron Jones, Tyron Smith, Zack Martin and Ezekiel Elliott.

Tell me what you think about "Leighton Vander Esch To Top Rookie Season With Pro Bowl Trip" in the comments below, or tweet me @MauNFL and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!

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Cowboys Expect C Travis Frederick Back for Offseason Program

Jess Haynie



Travis Frederick

Lost in yesterday's hoopla over Scott Linehan's return was a positive report about Center Travis Frederick. In his comments to the media, Jason Garrett said that Frederick's recovery timetable should allow him to a full participant in the team's offseason program.

After never missing a start in his first five years, Travis missed all of 2018 dealing with the effects of Guillain-Barré Syndrome. The disease attacked his neurological system and required immediate and intensive treatment.

Rob Phillips on Twitter

Jason Garrett says the team anticipates Travis Frederick being involved in the offseason program right from the start this spring if he continues on the same positive track in recovery from Guillain-Barré syndrome. #cowboyswire

While Joe Looney performed admirably in Frederick's absence, he's not an elite talent. Travis has been arguably the best center in the NFL since entering the league in 2013.

It's hard to qualify what effect not having Frederick had on the Cowboys offense in 2018. Ezekiel Elliott still led the league in rushing, but short-yardage plays weren't as automatic as we've seen in past years. A 4th-and-1 stuff was part of what led to the Cowboys' loss this past Saturday.

Dak Prescott was the second-most sacked QB in the NFL in 2018. After being sacked just 25 and 32 times in his first two seasons, the number skyrocketed to 56 sacks.

That's not all on Frederick, of course. Tyron Smith had some health issues and there were was turnover at left guard.

But having your All-Pro veteran center out there to help with the pre-snap reads, and help the rookie guard on his left, might have helped avoid some of those issues.

Indeed, Travis Frederick's return is just one of many reasons for optimism with the 2019 season. One of the best players on the team, he was sorely missed this year and can only help as Dallas looks to build on their division title and playoff appearance.

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For Cowboys to Beat the Rams, Dak Prescott must Lead the Way

John Williams



Playoff Scenarios Aim Towards Seahawks vs Cowboys in Wild Card

In the NFL wins and losses often come down to quarterback play. That isn't to say that if a team wins, it was all because of the quarterback and inversely, if a team loses that it was all on the quarterback. Teams win or lose games. Generally speaking, however, the quarterback has the highest amount of influence on the outcome of an NFL game. This will be no different for the Dallas Cowboys this Saturday when they take on the Los Angeles Rams in the LA Coliseum. For America's Team to make their first trip to the NFC Championship Game since 1996, Dak Prescott has to have a good game.

This looks to be a good matchup for the Dallas Cowboys offense, which should allow Dak Prescott and the Cowboys to take advantage in certain areas.

A few Rams Passing Game Notes

  • The Los Angeles Rams were middle of the pack against the pass this season, allowing the 14th fewest passing yards in the league this season.
  • The Rams allowed 7.7 yards per attempt. Dak Prescott is averaging 7.6 yards per attempt since week 10 of the season.
  • The Rams allowed the eighth most passing touchdowns in the NFL this season. They and the New Orleans Saints are the only teams in the top 10 of passing touchdowns allowed in the playoffs this season.
  • The Rams were 15th in the NFL in sacks, with 41, but Aaron Donald accounted for half of that with 20.5 sacks on the season. No other player had more than five sacks.
  • They were third in the NFL in interceptions, collecting 18.
  • The Rams allowed the ninth highest yards per completion on the season at 11.8. So on average, every completion went for a first down.

Dak Prescott is playing as well as any quarterback in the playoffs at the moment. Over the last nine games, he's averaging 272 passing yards, two total touchdowns, was only intercepted four times, and was sacked on average 3.2 times per game.

On Saturday night, we saw Scott Linehan put the ball in his hands on a couple designed runs that nearly scored touchdowns. It was an excellent addition to the offense that could help fix the Cowboys red zone woes. Getting Dak Prescott running on some designed runs or quarterback draws could help slow down Aaron Donald and the pass rush.

The Cowboys needed every bit of Dak Prescott magic to overcome a stingy Seattle Seahawks defense in their Wild Card win and they'll need him to step up again this week against the Rams. Every team is going to attempt to take away the running game to make Dak beat you and as he continues to mature, he's getting more and more comfortable doing that. He's comfortable with the big stage and the big moments.

NFL Research on Twitter

Dak Prescott Since 2016, including playoffs * 15 game-winning drives (Most in NFL) * 13 primetime QB wins (Most in NFL) * 19 rush TD (Most in NFL by QB) #DallasCowboys @dak

No Quarterback in the NFL has more game winning drives, rushing touchdowns, or wins in primetime than Dak Prescott. When we talk about Dak Prescott, we talk a lot about the things that he can't do as a passer and deservedly so, he still has some growing to do in that area, but in the things that you can't objectively quantify -- mental toughness, resiliency, clutchness, will, determination -- Dak is one of the best in the NFL. He's as mentally tough as they come in the NFL and he doesn't let the spotlight or the game situation phase him. He has that stuff that's hard to put your finger on.

The Dallas Cowboys will need more of that on Saturday night in Los Angeles. The Rams can score and can score in bunches and if the Cowboys defense starts sluggish or has an off night, they'll need Dak Prescott to keep them in the game. Even if the defense has a good game, Dak still has to come through in the passing game and on the ground to give the Cowboys a chance to pull off the upset.

The Dallas Cowboys are going to try to run the ball against the Rams on Saturday. That's their identity; run the ball, control the clock, and be efficient in the passing game. Prescott, either with his legs or with his arm will have to make some plays to extend drives and keep the Rams offense on the sideline. He'll need to be sharp in the red zone to convert those opportunities into touchdowns. Settling for field goals against the Rams is how the Cowboys get beat.

This matchup with the Rams looks to set up nicely for Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys, yet how things look on paper doesn't mean much when the lights go on and the whistle blows. It's a big stage and it's another win-or-go-home game for the Cowboys (like every game has been over the last nine weeks). In a big game, you need big time players, and the Cowboys have one in quarterback Dak Prescott.

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