The good news: I think I got it figured out.
The bad news: Tony Romo ain't real happy.
Been sniffing around some Cowboys’ sources this week to find out just why Romo’s demeanor has taken such a dramatic downturn recently. Likely answer: The Cowboys are curtailing his creativity and he doesn’t like it one bit.
Obviously Romo’s unhappiness is relatively minor, as – despite a broken pinkie – he wants to play against the Rams Sunday after initial reports had him out a month.
“That will be a Tony-Wade decision,” owner Jerry Jones said on his weekly radio show this morning on The Ticket. Wow. First time for everything, huh?
Lil’ birdie told me this morning that – in light of Romo’s rash of red-zone turnovers this season – both Jason Garrett and Wade Wilson recently pulled him aside and told the quarterback to focus on his fundamentals and mechanics and stop taking so many risky risks. In short, they told the kamikazee pilot to balance his Maverick with a little Ice Man. (Looks like I’m not the only one hearing this.)
Romo has seemingly frozen-up physically -- and emotionally.
Suddenly hesitant to scramble in a fit of freelancing, Romo uncharacteristically stood in the pocket and got throttled last week in Arizona. (Ironic, I know, that he was injured on a play in which he floated out of the pocket. But I’m betting his natural instinct was to run like hell.) He was hit 19 times and fumbled – what – four times? And we all saw his stoic, inexplicable, troubling and emotionless reactions on the bench.
There’s got to be a happy medium, right? Romo can’t author an ESPY on every snap, but nor is he at his best standing statuesque in the pocket like Brad Johnson.
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While Garrett tries to earn his money as the NFL’s highest-paid assistant, I guess the revelation puts my other working explanations to bed:
*There’s nothing wrong with Romo’s father, Ramiro, who underwent prostate surgery last season. Tony and pops, in fact, are scheduled to lunch with Roger Staubach about something or other businessy next week.
*Though it’s not confirmed, Romo probably isn’t overly distraught that the Cowboys were so quick to hand out Danny White’s old No. 11 to new receiver Roy Williams.
*Tony’s probably still dreading the hubbub over Jessica Simpson singing at the State Fair tomorrow, but with his pinkie in pain and his fighter pilot mentality currently grounded, he’s got bigger headaches. – Richie Whitt