Inside Valley Ranch


Tony Romo’s silence on coach transition is a bad decision
Column by JEAN-JACQUES TAYLOR / The Dallas Morning News

It really amazes me how little regard so many fans have for Tony Romo.

After all, we’re talking about a quarterback with a career passer rating of 95.5 with 118 touchdowns and 62 interceptions.

But the people have spoken, so to speak.

Using Facebook and Twitter to conduct an informal survey, I posed the following question, “Do you care that Tony Romo hasn’t publicly spoken about Wade Phillips’ firing or Jason Garrett’s hiring?”

Nearly 100 people responded. Two said they cared what Romo had to say.

That’s shocking.

The quarterback, especially a good one, is the face of the franchise. He’s the highest-paid player. It speaks volumes that you could not care less about his opinion.

You think the folks in Indianapolis don’t care what Peyton Manning has to say? When Tom Brady and Drew Brees speak, you think their fans don’t care?

Do you think they’re ambivalent in San Diego or Green Bay , when Philip Rivers or Aaron Rodgers has an opinion about the team?


You certainly cared what Troy Aikman had to say about the Cowboys – and you still do. The same goes for Roger Staubach.

What it says it that you don’t believe in Romo, which is too bad. It’s a bad decision by Romo to keep quiet.

We all know quarterbacks get too much credit and too much blame in virtually every situation.

The quarterback’s position makes him a leader, whether he wants the responsibility or not. You don’t get the money, fame and prestige, and none of the responsibility or irritation.

Q: Obviously Jerry Jones is holding out hope that Tony Romo is going to return this season. With the good play of Jon Kitna in his absence, do you see that causing any problems in the locker room?

Bruce Freeman, Easton, Pa.

TAYLOR: No. Kitna understands he’s the backup and Romo is the starter. The players understand the same thing. Kitna, at 38, is near the end of his career. What he’s done is show why this season could’ve been different if guys didn’t lay it down after Romo got hurt. He’s played far better than I thought he would, but there’s not a GM in the league who would pick Kitna over Romo. That’s not a knock on Kitna, but the reality of the situation

• • •

Q: When you have Tony Romo, Miles Austin, Kevin Ogletree, Stephen Bowen , Barry Church, Chris Gronkowski, Sam Hurd, Danny McCray and Bryan McCann – why do you think the Cowboys have hit on more free agents than draft picks?

TAYLOR: I wouldn’t say that’s entirely true, but I understand the gist of your question. That said, the Cowboys don’t view undrafted free agents any differently than they do draft picks. Here’s the deal: Most undrafted free agents are players the Cowboys considered drafting at some point during the draft or guys they wanted to sign, if they didn’t get drafted. It’s all about talent acquisition. It really doesn’t matter if you acquire players in the draft or off the street as long as you get them.

• • •

Q: I just read a quote from Deion Sanders where he said that the Cowboys may not want Romo back this year because Kitna is balling. Does Prime really think this team is better off with a 38-year-old journeyman? It seems to me that Sanders has a personal beef with Romo that makes him unable to be objective when assessing him. Surely he can watch and see who is a better player. Your thoughts?

Kevin Lynn, Turnersville, N.J.

TAYLOR: First, you have to understand that Deion isn’t paid to be objective. He’s paid to give an informed opinion. Now I certainly don’t think the Cowboys have any intention of getting rid of Romo for any reason. Kitna is what he is: a really nice backup quarterback, capable of putting his team in position to win when given an opportunity to do so.

• • •

Q: Do you think Stephen McGee, the quarterback from Texas A&M, will be given a shot a second-string quarterback over Kitna next year? He seems to be in the same situation Romo was in for years, a lot of talent sitting on the bench.

Keith Hearn

TAYLOR: He has to prove he deserves more playing time in the preseason and practice. I don’t think anyone looks at McGee, right now, and thinks he could do what Kitna has done. Before Romo became the starter, we could see his maturation and development in practice and the preseason. It was obvious to everyone that he was ready to get significant playing time. When McGee is ready, it’ll be obvious to everyone.

• • •

Q: Do you feel DeMarcus Ware is the same player he was before the neck injury that occurred in the San Diego game last year? I’m not saying he is playing bad – just want your insight about his play since that event.

Terry Ellerbee, Philadelphia, Pa.

TAYLOR: I think you’re not seeing the high-impact plays – because it’s hard to look at a guy with 8.5 sacks and say he’s having a bad season. The reality, however, is that we hold Ware to a high standard because he’s a great player. He’s having a good season – he always does – but he’s not having a dominant season that has you thinking he should be defensive player of the year.

• • •

Q: Would Jason Garrett have gotten a pay increase for his interim position? Paul Pasqualoni? Last, when a player gets traded, does the acquiring team pick up relocation expenses?

Tom Donovan, Indianapolis

TAYLOR: I had to go do some research for this. Garrett and Pasqualoni did not get raises, but they will should they eventually get the jobs on a full-time basis. I spoke with Roy Williams, who said the Cowboys picked up his moving expenses when he was traded.

• • •

Q: I don’t think there’s any question whom the head coach will be next year, but what do you think about the coordinators?

Mark Whitt, Mullens, W. Va.

TAYLOR: No idea really about the offensive coordinator. Garrett has worked with so many different people that it’s hard to put your finger on whom he would want to be the coordinator, which is usually not the case. As for defensive coordinator, Garrett seems to have a lot of respect for Pasqualoni, and if he does a good job over the next few weeks, I can see him keeping the position. But I wouldn’t be surprised if Garrett at least made a phone call to Dom Capers, because they have a good relationship and he tried to get him to Dallas as a consultant a couple of years ago.

• • •

Q: Does Sunday’s greatly improved offensive line play indicate that this season’s offensive line problems were more a matter of focus and execution than talent deterioration, or does the team still face the challenge of rebuilding its line in the off-season? If an overhaul of the line is necessary, are there any obvious free-agent candidates the Cowboys should target? And perhaps more important, are there any personnel professionals the Cowboys might target to improve their scouting and drafting of offensive linemen?

Jarret Cummings, Durham, N.C.

TAYLOR: In the NFL, it’s never about one or two or even three games. It’s about a body of work. This offensive line, as currently constructed, is among the worst in the NFL. That’s why the Cowboys rank near the bottom of the league in virtually every meaningful running statistic. At least two members need to be replaced, and, perhaps, three or four. Doug Free is the only guy I would put money on returning next year. I think Andre Gurode will be back, and I could see Leonard Davis returning with a restructured deal, but Mark Colombo has to be replaced, and as much as I like Kyle Kosier, I wouldn’t re-sign him because he can’t stay healthy.

• • •

Q: Jerry Jones announced the defensive coordinator at the same time as he announced Jason Garrett as coach. How much input do you think Jason had, and do you think he would have made the same decision entirely on his own.

Ed Woodward

TAYLOR: Jason is the interim coach. He doesn’t have a whole lot of power right now. That said, if you look at the staff, Pasqualoni is really the only legitimate candidate to be the defensive coordinator. He’s been one before, he’s a former head coach and he commands respect.

• • •

Q: What is the status of Shawn Lee? Do you think he’ll develop into the ILB we expected him to be?

Steve Mayer

TAYLOR: Like most rookies, he’s trying to get in where he fits in. It’s hard to believe that a hard-working guy with talent won’t eventually become at least a solid player. The good news is that Lee is coming off his best game of the year, with four tackles and a forced fumble against Detroit.

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