I didn’t expect the mixed reaction from the fellas at The Shop concerning the prepared statement made by Tony Romo that he is the backup quarterback in Dallas. It seemed a little forced to some. It seemed heartfelt to others. It seem ridiculous to others.
The reality of the world of the NFL is that players lose jobs due to injury and, when the guy who takes over does as well or better, teams don’t look back. Owners, G.M.s and coaches all talk about teams being a family, but more times than not, it seems like Mafia families much more than it does a real family.
The Cowboys felt obligated to tell Romo that the starting job was no longer his, but that doesn’t seem to matter much anymore. Say what you want to about loyalty, but Dak Prescott has deserved to hold on to the starting job.
It happens all the time in the NFL, whether it is reported or not. Drew Bledsoe’s injury opened the door for Tom Brady and, when Bledsoe was healthy, he didn’t get the job back. It has happened countless times, but, when it’s a high profile position like quarterback, much less to the face of a franchise like Romo, it seems to make more headlines.
Just ask guys like Matt Jones about losing a starting job. Jones has a fumbling history, but was still the starter three weeks ago when he got banged up and missed a game. Matt Kelley took his place and isn’t looking back – neither is Jay Gruden.
The simple fact of the matter is that the NFL is not only a young man’s game, it’s a game where owners and coaches tend to run with the hot hand. Prescott has led the Cowboys to their first 9-1 record in his and Romo’s lifetime and has done nothing to deserve taking a back seat.
The next time you hear a coach say that a player doesn’t lose his starting job to injury, don’t believe him. It happens all the time. It’s just that most players don’t get up in front of the world press to announce that he’s OK with the decision. Trust me, he isn’t.
The only question now is whether having Romo active and looking over his shoulder will have any negative impact on Prescott?
- Detroit just keeps rolling along. They’re in first place in the NFC North with a chance to bury Minnesota with a win on Thursday, but extended a streak that is hard to believe. The Lions are 6-4 but have trailed in the fourth quarter of every game they have played.
- Break up the NFC East! With Dallas at 9-1, the Giants at 7-3 and Washington at 6-3-1, unless one of them completely collapses, it looks like all three will be in the NFC playoffs.
- Don’t sleep on Tampa Bay. They’re only a game out of first place in the NFC South and have won four of five road games this season. If Atlanta stumbles, they’re waiting in the wings to take advantage.
The Razor’s Edge
10. No Beginner’s Luck – The Tennessee Titans had a chance put a dagger in Indianapolis and make a legitimate run at Houston for the top spot in the AFC South. But, after allowing the Colts to score 21 points in the game’s first 20 minutes Sunday, it continued the streak of Andrew Luck of never losing to the Titans. Just when it appears Tennessee is ready to turn a corner, they take two steps back for every one they take forward.
9. California Screaming – Every time it looks like the Los Angeles Rams are going to live up to their promise, they fall flat. After starting 3-1, the Rams lost four straight and appeared to be on the brink of falling out of sight. But, with a win last week and 10-0 lead with five minutes to play against a Miami offense that had done little all day, the Rams not only lost their shutout, but allowed drives of 77 and 75 yards to the Dolphins, the last one coming with just 36 seconds left to play. Every time you want to believe their defense can carry them to the playoffs, the Rams continue to confuse and confound.
8. They Are Who We Thought They Were – It’s no shame to lose in Seattle, but with the strength of the NFC East, the Eagles 3-0 start has been all but eliminated by losing five of their last seven games and Carson Wentz having key turnovers that take his team out of contention. We didn’t expect a lot from the Eagles coming into the season, but, after their strong start, they were viewed as legitimate contenders. Now they look like they’ll finish last in the division and wins will be hard to come by.
7. Fail to the Chiefs – Losses in the AFC West come with a price because the competition at the top is so fierce between the Broncos, Raiders and Chiefs. Kansas City had a chance to keep their spot at the top with a home win against 4-5 Tampa Bay – a game that most thought would be a comfortable. Instead, the Bucs rolled up 442 yards of offense, converted 11 of 16 third down plays and dominated the Chiefs for most of the game in a 19-17 win.
6. This Is Getting Ridiculous – The Cleveland Browns are getting closer to being the second team in NFL history to go 0-16 and things just seem to keep getting worse. Pittsburgh only had the ball three times in the first half, but ran 43 plays with drives of 16, 16 and 11 plays to take a 14-0 lead that turned into a 24-9 win. The Browns allowed 217 yards in the first half alone and ran just 17 plays for 50 yards on their own. People keep waiting for Browns to finally end their streak, but it shows no sign of slowing down. How bad is it? Since opening their new stadium in 1999, Ben Roethlisberger has won as many or more games (10) in Cleveland than any starter the Browns have had over the last 18 years.
5. Going On a Drinking Jag – Wins have been almost impossible to come by for Jacksonville this season, but the Jaguars looked to have a chance to break their current bad spell in Detroit. Leading 16-13 with the ball near midfield twice in the fourth quarter, Jacksonville had the ball three times and went three-and-out all three times, punting twice and throwing an interception on the other. For a division that appears to be up for grabs, everyone still has a shot except the hapless Jaguars.
4. Eye of the Tiger – It’s bad enough that the Cincinnati Bengals are going to likely miss the playoffs after five years of making it, but what little chance they have with a 3-6-1 record just took a much bigger hit with the loss of the two most explosive playmakers – A.J. Green and Giovani Bernard – for the season. It’s just injury to insult for a season that began with so much promise and is looking to end up as a disaster.
3. The Valley of the (Setting) Sun – Arizona lost just three games all of last season and, at 4-4-1, were looking to get themselves back in the conversation of wild card hopefuls. But, they set a dubious record Sunday, allowing two plays of 100 yards or more – a 100-yard interception return by Xavier Rhodes and a 104-yard kickoff return to start the second half by Cordarrelle Patterson. After being on pace to accumulate 500 yards of offense through a dominating first half, the Cardinals managed just 27 yards in the second half in a 30-24 loss to Minnesota that has the Cards playoff hopes on life support.
2. The Defense Always Rests – Injuries have hurt the Green Bay Packers defense, but the things have gone from bad to worse for the defense. In their last four games, they have allowed 153 points, including 89 in the last two against Tennessee and Washington. Aaron Rodgers can only do so much when his defense is allowing points at a record-setting level. Opposing quarterbacks have a combined passer rating of 105.5 against them and the Packers haven’t exactly faced a buzz saw of QBs this season.
1. The Blair Walsh Project – The Minnesota Vikings cut promising kicker Blair Walsh, who is less remembered for his NFL record of making 10-of-10 field goals from 50 yards and beyond as a rookie or leading the NFL in field goals made last year and more remembered for his missed 27-yard field goal in the playoffs, last week. It would appear his fellow kickers wanted to show him that he wasn’t alone. On Sunday, a modern-era record 12 extra points were no good. To put that in perspective, in 2014 before they made extra points 33-yard field goals, all kickers in the NFL combined to miss just eight extra points in the entire season. If the NFL wanted to make extra points more challenging, mission accomplished.