This is going to take some getting used to, Tony Romo leaving. He’s our quarterback. And he’s been our quarterback for a decade. Tony Romo took over for the Dallas Cowboys at a time when we needed someone – anyone – to take charge and he’s brought about an era for Cowboys fans that many of us believed could only end with Romo’s last snap, period.
Until this past year, I’m not sure most even considered the possibility that his last snap on a football field could be under another team’s helmet, and thankfully, we don’t have to worry about that.
It’s been a bittersweet couple of years for Tony and his fans. The repeated collarbone breaks in 2015 sucked the wind out of some mighty sales after the successes enjoyed during the 2014 campaign. But it opened some eyes and made us look further forward than just Romo.
We drafted Dak Prescott with the 135th overall pick of the 2016 NFL Draft with just that in mind, the future. The goal was to get a promising rookie behind Tony Romo to watch and learn from one of the game’s best, and before the season even began that plan had fallen to pieces.
Don’t get me wrong, nor any of us, really. We see Dak Prescott; we know who he is and what he means to this franchise. We saw it in week three of the 2016 preseason when he stepped in after Romo’s back injury, and we saw it during the second half comeback against the Packers in the playoffs. There is no denying that he is the future of this team, come what may.
But we’ve all got memories of Tony Romo doing something great with that star on his helmet, probably some of the stupid things he’s done as well.
Tony Romo was a long shot when we signed him undrafted out of Eastern Illinois, he was a long shot when he was thrown into his first game with virtually no chance of winning, and since that slippery ball slipped through his hands against Seattle, he’s been a long shot to see a Super Bowl from the field.
We aren’t holding any delusions about who or what Tony Romo is.
Now Tony is headed for a new career, replacing Phil Simms on the top CBS Sports broadcasting crew alongside Jim Nantz.
When I opened this blog in 2008, Tony Romo was already the starter. Seattle had already happened and Romo was already being dubbed a choke artist. I have fought against such monikers for as long as I’ve been blogging about the Cowboys, and now? Well, now that fight is over. Now I must listen to Tony a few times a year talking about the men he used to call teammates.
Tony Romo has meant so much to so very many of us fans, and our slogan here at Inside The Star is “Voices of a Nation” for a reason. So, the staff wanted to also share a few words about Romo’s departure.
Brian Martin (@bmart0204)
It is definitely bittersweet to see Tony Romo’s time with the Dallas Cowboys come to an end. I’ve been a fan since he first took over as the starting QB and hate to see that this is the way his career will end in Dallas.
Tony Romo has been a true professional both on and off the field, and you can’t deny how much he has given/meant to the organization. He put his mind, body, and soul on the line for his teammates and I wish him nothing but the best as he moves on from playing in the NFL. I don’t care what team he is playing for in 2017, the Cowboys or CBS. I will always be a fan and will root for him.
Mauricio Rodriguez (@PepoR99)
As a young fan, Tony Romo has been the guy, ever since I can remember. Literally. The memories he leaves Cowboys Nation are a lot. There's the loss against the Denver Broncos, the Washington game in 2013 when he played hurt, and of course, the Punctured Lung Game. There's even his last Touchdown pass as a Dallas Cowboy during a meaningless game versus the Eagles.
Number 9's journey in Dallas was a special one. Perhaps one in which neither the media or the fans were fair to him. From a Cowboys fan, I wish him the best and I invite you all to appreciate his greatness in Dallas. He gave this franchise his all. Every time.
From the bottom of my heart, thank you Tony.
Sean Martin (@ShoreSportsNJ)
Nobody needs me to describe the feeling of being a die-hard sports fan; we all know what it is like to live and die with a team, specifically the Dallas Cowboys. The Cowboys have been my team since birth, and I've associated that with one man, QB Tony Romo.
When I prepared myself mentally and physically each week to not only watch, but invest my heart into the Cowboys, I invested into whatever amazing thing Tony Romo had in store for us. The only quarterback I've ever known, I defended Romo tirelessly through wins and losses, always appreciating the bond I had with fellow Tony supporters.
Now, I simply appreciate that the only team Tony Romo will know is my team, and that I got to watch a legend. What else can a sports fan ask for? Thank you for every single thing you meant to America's Team, Tony.
Kevin Brady (@KevinBrady88)
For us Cowboys fans born in the 1990s, Tony Romo is our quarterback. For much of my childhood the Cowboys were awful, their dynasty days behind them and seemingly nothing to look forward to on the horizon. Unable to replace Troy Aikman, the Cowboys tried a carousel of washed-up veterans and overlooked young players. Both failed.
Then an undrafted quarterback out of Eastern Illinois, Tony Romo came in at halftime of a divisional loss to the hated Giants and dragged this franchise from the abyss.
Sure, Tony Romo never won a Super Bowl, and hell, he’s never even been past the Divisional Round. But there is something to be said about a quarterback who never had a losing season and kept this team afloat while the front office rebuilt the roster.
Now, the Cowboys look to be on the verge of a championship run. But this championship-ready team was built, quite literally, on the back of Tony Romo. So thank you, Tony Romo, for everything you’ve done, for the Dallas Cowboys and for my life as a football fan. I can’t wait to hear you call games every Sunday.
Jess Haynie (@CowboysAddicts)
Tony Romo is the first great Cowboys QB that I got to watch from beginning to end. From the thrill ride of his 2006 debut all the way through, Romo has been an incredible story and player to follow. Getting to follow every moment of that story as a live viewer gives him a special place in my heart.
Troy Aikman had already won his first Super Bowl when I was old enough to start really appreciating football. I didn't get to see his early struggles, be it a one-win season as a rookie or the early playoff exit in 1991. I got to come in on greatness already realized, rather than watch it develop.
The saddest thing for me about Tony Romo's exit is that his lack of postseason accomplishments will forever drag down his mainstream reputation. I wish so greatly that we could have seen him have the glory that his own individual play deserved. He was better than what so many people think
John Williams (@john9williams)
I entered Cowboys Nation in 2000. See, I grew up in California and followed the 49ers because they had my favorite player; Joe Montana. After moving to Texas in 1997 I was a Chiefs fan because of... Joe Montana. After he retired I hung in as a Chiefs fan but the allure of the Star grew deep inside me. My best friends were Cowboys fans.
Finally giving way in 2000, I watched a majority of the games and experienced Troy Aikman, until Troy Aikman got hurt and then retired. The next five plus seasons of quarterback play still haunt me.
It wasn't until the middle of the 2006 season, when Tony Romo entered the game, that I saw hope in the Dallas Cowboys' quarterbacking situation. The years that followed were certainly worthy of the "Romo-magic" and "Jedi" nicknames. The 4th quarter comebacks, the spin moves away from pass rushers, the "never say die" way he played the game; it was amazing to watch, and amazing to be a fan, and at the same time gut wrenching because only two or three times did he have a team around him that was capable of making a Super Bowl run.
I have only ever owned three football jerseys: Joe Montana, Darren Woodson, and Tony Romo. One is in the Hall of Fame, one will be, and the other most certainly should be despite the false narratives. The quarterback who was at the helm of my first fantasy football championship: Tony Romo.
While it's a bummer that you won't be a Cowboy, and won't be playing anymore, it's exciting that we are going to get to see you every NFL Sunday for a long time to come. You will be as great and magical talking about the game as you were playing it. Thank you, Tony!
Yesterday was a long time coming, yet that doesn’t make it any easier to digest.
Perhaps the only saving grace for those of us who supported Tony Romo throughout his career, often in the face of staunch opposition, is that he will not be playing for another team, and by extension, potentially playing against his Cowboys.
For me personally, I remember his heroics at the end of games. Sometimes we lost anyway, even by his doing, but when we won, his actions made even his detractors feel special for a day.
Perhaps my favorite memory of Tony Romo is the 2014 Texans game, when he avoided J.J. Watt with his signature spin-move and found WR Terrance Williams somewhat open in the endzone for a touchdown.
It was something he did countless times throughout his career, but on that day, it was special for another reason. That day, two lifelong Dallas Cowboys fans (Derek Maberry and Dezmond Scott) who had never been to a game before were in attendance at AT&T Stadium, and for the first time I was responsible. I've since sent several fans to games by way of a sponsorship between Inside The Star and Reliant Energy, but that was the first. It made the play that much more memorable to me.
So, as others have been doing for weeks now, I bid Tony Romo farewell with thanks for more than 100 games I will never forget, and the devotion with which he so often led this team.
P.S., It's not lost on me that the '14 Texans game aired on CBS Sports...
While Tony Romo may not file official retirement papers in time, making him a Dallas Cowboy for each day of his NFL career, that’s how he will be remembered.
The Cowboys, as announced yesterday on InsideTheStar.com, have cut Tony Romo, designating him a post June 1 cut. The move adds a little space to the team’s salary cap space in 2017, which they’ll likely use to sign draft picks this summer.
For more on the Tony Romo updates and more, stay tuned to @TheStarPodcast in the next day as we’ll be discussing more Cowboys news with a fresh episode. Now that things have actually happened, a welcomed break from the speculation that has run rampant for these last three weeks.
Written by Bryson Treece.
Should Cowboys Reunite Shea McClellin With Rod Marinelli?
Since becoming the defensive coordinator for the Dallas Cowboys, Rod Marinelli hasn't had too many of his former players follow him to Dallas. In fact, I can only think of one… Henry Melton, and we all know how that turned out.
I don't know about you, but I found that a little strange. It's pretty common for coaches to try to bring some of their players with them when they accept a new job. Familiarity goes a long way in the NFL and former players can also help make the transition easier for everyone.
Strangely enough, Rod Marinelli hasn't really been afforded that luxury, whether it was his doing or not. But, there is a free agent who played under Marinelli's tutelage in Chicago who might make sense for the Dallas Cowboys, linebacker Shea McClellin.
Rod Marinelli was the defensive coordinator in Chicago when the Bears decided to draft Shea McClellin 19th overall in the 2012 NFL Draft. Marinelli likely had a big say in that decision, and if he still feels the same, a reunion could be in order.
Shea McClellin started his career in the NFL as a 4-3 left side defensive end playing opposite Julius Peppers, but was also viewed as a potential Brian Urlacher replacement. He showed flashes of becoming a solid defensive end his first few years in the league, but was eventually moved to linebacker, where he seemed to find a home for himself.
After his contract expired with the Bears, the New England Patriots decided to bring him aboard to help with their linebacker depth. He only ended up starting four games for them in 2016, but made some memorable plays to help the Patriots become the Super Bowl champions.
Unfortunately, the 2017 season wasn't very kind to him. His entire year was wiped out due to a concussion, which probably had a lot to do with why they recently released him.
This of course could be good news for the Dallas Cowboys. They currently need some depth at the linebacker position and Shea McClellin could provide that, if he's healthy. The healthy bit here is key, because he has had problems with concussions in the past.
If McClellin is indeed healthy, he could bring a versatile skill set to the Cowboys defense. His best spot is probably at strong side LB (SAM), but I think he could play middle linebacker (MIKE) as well. He also could provide depth at defensive end, the position he played to start his NFL career.
With the LB depth a concern, Shea McClellin makes quite a bit of sense for the Dallas Cowboys. Of course, his past history with concussions is a red flag, but it also drives down his asking price. I think he would definitely fall into that "bargain shopping" mentality the Cowboys have been using these last few offseasons.
He probably wouldn't be viewed as a very important signing, but you still need these types of players on your team in order to succeed in the NFL. Let's see if the Dallas Cowboys agree.
Do you think a Rod Marinelli and Shea McClellin reunion is in order?
Redskins Have Not Had Success With Former Cowboys
Now that he's signed with the Washington Redskins, cornerback Orlando Scandrick joins a lackluster list of former Cowboys players and coaches who have gone from Dallas to its historic rival. The history of these moves is ugly for Washington, going back over 40 years, and can't have their fans too excited anytime they sign an ex-Cowboy.
The most recent example was just last year with defensive tackle Terrell McClain. After a strong season as a 15-game starter in Dallas, McClain got a four-year, $21 million deal to join the Redskins. He missed four games with injuries and was only credited with two starts; hardly what the team wanted given the money they paid.
Before him it was Jason Hatcher, whose 11-sack season for the Cowboys in 2013 got him a four-year, $27.5 million deal from Washington. Hatcher would battle knee injuries for two season, getting only 7.5 sacks from 2014-2015. His early retirement in 2016 brought an abrupt end to a disappointing tenure.
Continuing the legacy of defensive linemen was Stephen Bowen, who Washington paid a shocking amount of money ($27.5 million over five years) to in 2011 to pick up in free agency. Bowen had a great first year for the Redskins with six sacks and 16 starts, but injuries would soon cost him 14 games from 2013-2014. He was eventually released after only one standout season in four with the team.
Going back even further, DT Brandon Noble joined Washington in 2003 after being a full-time starter for Dallas for over two seasons. He would miss all of 2003 with a knee injury, have an unimpressive year in 2004, and then missed all of 2005 with more health issues. He retired after being released by the Redskins in 2006.
Orlando Scandrick won't be the first cornerback to go from Dallas to Washington, or the best. At age 32, Deion Sanders was released in 2000 by the Cowboys and then got a huge seven-year, $56 million deal from the Redskins. This came less than a year after Daniel Snyder bought the franchise and was desperate to get them relevant again.
The Sanders move backfired horribly. Even after a solid season by his lofty standards, Primetime was disgruntled with both the coaching staff and his increasing struggles as an aging player. He suddenly retired after just one season of the seven-year contract.
Washington also tried to tap into the Cowboys' glory days when they signed receiver Alvin Harper in 1997. Harper had left Dallas in 1995 and spent two years with Tampa Bay, but had not carried over the same success he enjoyed playing in the Dallas offense.
The Redskins hoped that reuniting him with Norv Turner, who had been Harper's offensive coordinator and was now their head coach, would help Alvin get back to form. But between ongoing injuries and the absence of Troy Aikman, Michael Irvin, and Emmitt Smith as teammates, Alvin Harper was never the same guy as when he won two Super Bowls in Dallas.
The failed poaching attempts go back many more decades, another one being running back Calvin Hill. The fourth-leading rusher in Cowboys history and a four-time Pro Bowler while in Dallas, Hill joined Washington in 1976. He served as a backup only, averaging only 3.8 yards-per-carry as he played behind the likes of Mike Thomas and John Riggins.
The bad history doesn't stop with players. The aforementioned Norv Turner, who was one of the hottest assistant coaches in history after the Cowboys first two Super Bowl wins in the 90s, was hired as the Redskins' head coach in 1994.
Turner's run started with a whimper, drafting quarterback Heath Shuler third overall in that first year. Shuler would go down as one of the biggest QB busts in NFL history
Norv's Redskins never seemed to recover from that blunder. He only had two winning seasons and one playoff appearance from 1994-1999, and was fired midway through the 2000 season.
Far more recently, Cowboys offensive line coach Bill Callahan left the team in 2015 and took the same job in Washington. He didn't get to bring the offensive line or DeMarco Murray with him, though. As such, the Redskins have remained one of the league's worst rushing teams for the last three seasons. They fell to a new low of 28th in the NFL in 2017.
~ ~ ~
Of course, none of this means that Orlando Scandrick won't have success in Washington. But with the Redskins generally the most mismanaged team in the NFC East, all of the Dallas players and coaches who've gone there have not walked into good situations. For all that Cowboys fans love to complain about Jerry Jones, he handles the owner and GM roles better than any pair Washington's had in almost 30 years.
Given the nature of the rivalries, we naturally can't wish success for Scandrick or anyone else who leaves Dallas for a division opponent. With the track record we just discussed for Washington, it's not something I'll be losing any sleep over.
Xavier Woods, the Real Reason Cowboys Didn’t Pursue Tyrann Mathieu?
It's not uncommon for Dallas Cowboys fans to zero in on certain free agents in hopes that they will bring their talents to America's Team. In fact, just about any "big name" player to hit the open market is often linked to the Cowboys in some way or another. That was the case when the Arizona Cardinals decided to move on from Tyrann Mathieu.
Once Tyrann Mathieu became available, Cowboys fans immediately wanted to see him with a star on his helmet. But, despite the fans petitioning, the Cowboys brass seemed to show almost zero interest in the former Cardinal.
The decision to not pursue Tyrann Mathieu certainly didn't sit well with a lot of Cowboys Nation, but I think it was the right decision.
Despite Mathieu's perceived talents and youth (he's just 25), the Cowboys weren't interested in paying the price to bring him to Dallas, especially since they already have a similar player on their roster.
It may sound crazy, but I think the real reason the Dallas Cowboys didn't show much interest in Tyrann Mathieu is because of Xavier Woods.
I honestly believe Xavier Woods and Tyrann Mathieu have a similar skill set. Both players are little undersized to be a full-time safety in the NFL, but each of them have the versatility to play several different roles in the secondary.
Mathieu may have been listed as a safety on the Arizona Cardinals roster, and now the Houston Texans, but the truth is he played mostly out of the nickel/slot in his professional and collegiate career. That is where he is at his best, and the same can be said about Xavier Woods.
As a rookie, Xavier Woods showed his versatility with the Dallas Cowboys by playing a variety of different roles in the secondary. His versatility was one of the reasons the Cowboys decided to trade up in last year's draft to acquire his services.
His name might not carry the same kind of weight as Tyrann Mathieu right now around the league or amongst NFL fans, but I don't think Xavier Woods is that much of a drop off talent wise.
Personally, I believe Mathieu is starting to decline a little as a player. I think injuries are starting to take a toll on his play, although it may be minimal. I actually prefer Xavier Woods' upside, especially when you take into account the difference in salaries between the two.
Surprisingly enough, Xavier Woods might just have been more productive in 2017 then Mathieu. Woods started just four games and finished the season with 42 tackles, three passes defensed, and one interception. Mathieu on the other hand started all 16 games and accumulated 78 tackles, one quarterback sack, one forced fumble, and two interceptions.
As you can see, Xavier Woods was almost just as productive as Mathieu in nearly a third of the playing time. What's even more impressive about this is that Woods accomplish this as a rookie.
Of course, all of this is speculation, but I for one am not all that upset the Dallas Cowboys missed out on Tyrann Mathieu. I'm willing to bet on Xavier Woods being able to do everything Mathieu can and at a fraction of the cost.
Were the Cowboys right not to pursue Tyrann Mathieu?
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