Tony Romo and the Dallas Cowboys are back in business after a season-saving victory over the Philadelphia Eagles. If Dallas can win its next two games at home, it could be leading the NFC East within a few days of Thanksgiving.
Romo’s confident in his team as they try to keep building momentum, and he feels especially good about his most controversial wide receiver and his head coach.
Tony Romo joined Ben & Skin on ESPN Radio Dallas to discuss the Cowboys’ identity, his relationship with head coach Jason Garrett, Garrett’s strengths as a coach, Dez Bryant’s maturation as a receiver, and the coaching staff in general. He also touched on the amount of control quarterbacks should have within an organization.
On this team’s identity:
“Usually identities are given when you look back on things. During a football season, you win games a lot of different ways. Some weeks you’re going to win them through the air, another week you’re going to run it great, another week your defense is going to play outstanding. If you think that you’re just going to win one way — there’s really only one team a year that kinda just relies completely on their defense. … So most teams win a variety of different ways. So you just have to have different people step up. It’s the ultimate team sport.”
On he and Jason Garrett striving for perfection and how they work together:
“I analyze everything, and I think Jason does as well. That’s what makes him good. If you’re a competitor, an athlete, you want to be perfect on every play, and it’s unrealistic to think that, but … we go back and forth and we dissect it and analyze it, and then we go back and figure out, ‘Is that what our team needed best at the time?’ and stuff like that. Obviously Jason’s calling the plays, so I’m out there trying to execute them, but … he understands the position and what it takes to be successful and he’s got a good knack for that.”
On his belief that Dez Bryant has improved dramatically:
“Dez has come full circle from where he was a couple years ago. We go by catches when you look at whether someone has a good game, as fans or as media sometimes, but if you watch the tape, we go by how he blocked, did he get open? And the coverages are gonna dictate who’s getting the ball, but does he run his route right? Does he get there precise? Is he quick in it? … And he’s come 180 degrees, almost full circle, to a point where he understands the game and is doing things — let’s say he started off doing it 70 percent when he first got here, and then he got to 85. He’s really close to being a guy where it’s 100 percent. You gotta go through some things sometimes, but he’s a kid that wants it, that works hard and he’s got a really bright future.”
On the nuances involved in good quarterback play:
“The game isn’t perfect. If it was just about dropping back, then the first guy taken in the draft every year would be the best player every year. But it’s not that; it’s not just about dropping back and throwing. You gotta get through progressions, you gotta throw off different angles, off balance. You gotta manipulate the defense with your guys. You have to come up with new ways to throw the same routes.”
On the difference between Garrett and past coaches, as well as why he believes Garrett is doing a great job:
“It’s always different. It was different from Parcells to Wade, from Wade to Jason. And each guy has … his approach that he wants to instill in his team. … There’s a lot that goes into winning and losing, and sometimes it can be as simple as missing or making a kick, it can be as simple as a holding penalty on a touchdown you throw. The games literally can come down to these plays, and that’s why you need everybody, that’s why you work so hard, because you really don’t want them to. … All I know is that Jason’s done a great job. He’s instilled a confidence in the football team, but probably his best ability is to help shape the team to play the same game every week. And when I say that, I mean we could be undefeated right now or have no wins, and we’re going to take the same approach the next week, and you’re going to see the same football team out there. And that’s hard to do in the National Football League.”
On his involvement in personnel decisions and the offense, considering the involvement Peyton Manning is said to have in Denver:
“I think there’s a fine line with that stuff. I’ve talked to Peyton before about some of those things and I think sometimes it gets a little bit skewed as to what he does and that he’s in these meetings and making personnel moves. That’s not what he does. And that’s not what you want your quarterback doing. If a quarterback is working on personnel, he’s not doing everything he can as a quarterback then. … You can get into a lot of stuff if you really want to, but it doesn’t help you become a better football player and a better quarterback. … You can almost get to a point where you’re trying to do everything for a lot of people, but that probably doesn’t help your football team become as good as it can be.”
On this coaching staff:
“I think we have, personality-wise, some of the best coaches, the easiest to get along with. And at the same time, some tough guys who hold players accountable. … These guys are phenomenal. They’re lucky enough to have both sides of the spectrum, where they can tell you what a great job you’re doing and then they can dog-cuss you out the next second. And I think that that’s a good quality to have. And these guys really possess that.”