Tag:Tony Romo
Posted on: December 12, 2011 12:50 pm
Edited on: December 12, 2011 12:53 pm

Monday Musings: Titans hurt by bad play calls

If the Titans don't make the playoffs, which they probably won't, they might want to look to two horrible play calls late in their loss to the Saints. Twice in the final four minutes, Titans coach Mike Munchak and his staff made questionable decisions. 

Trailing 22-17 with just over three minutes left, the Titans faced a third-and-1 from the New Orleans 24. Instead of running the football to get a first down, the Titans threw into the end zone but the pass was incomplete. On fourth down, they ran a sneak and Jake Locker was stuffed.

Why not get the first down on third down and go from there? Bad move. Then the Titans got the ball back again with a 1:34 when the Saints foolishly passed on third down and the ball was incomplete on their possession.

 After two passes moved the ball to a first down at the New Orleans 45 with 48 seconds left, the Titans ran Chris Johnson inside. Why? They had no timeouts and they hit two passes in a row. That might have been the dumbest play call I've seen in 10 years. Johnson didn't gain a thing, but more importantly the Titans lost 20 seconds. 

So after a 40-yard completion from Locker to Washington put the ball on the New Orleans 5, the Titans had just seven seconds, time for two plays. Locker's pass was batted down on first down and he was sacked on second. Game over. Two bad play calls, but the run to Johnson on the final drive was the worst.

I just can't see the logic. Even if he pops it for 10, it's not worth the time that would be lost. Dumb. Dumb. Dumb.

---- They will blame Tony Romo. That's inevitable.

Romo missed a wide-open Miles Austin with his Cowboys leading the Giants 34-29 Sunday night on a third-down play that would have iced the game. Was it a bad throw? A little bit. Was Austin's perfect? Probably not.

But here's my problem: Why not try and get a first down?

The Cowboys went for the kill shot and it ended up killing them.  Facing a third-and-5 at their own 25 with just 2:33 left in the game, the Cowboys tried to go deep to Austin. They had success with deep balls earlier in the quarter, but everything has to be just right to hit them.

The Giants had one time out and the 2-minute warning. A first down essentially ends the game. So why not a short pass to Jason Witten? I like aggressive play-calling, but this was a situation that called for something safer. A first down wins the game. You don't need the touchdown.

As it turns out, the Giants ended up driving 58 yards to a game-winning touchdown.

Blame Romo all you want. I put that on the play that was called.

---I mentioned to you two weeks ago in my CBSSports.com Power Rankings that I thought T.J. Yates would be better than just average. The rookie is showing us that now. He has led the Texans to back-to-back drives to win games in the fourth quarter, the first rookie since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970 to accomplish that feat. What makes his game-winning drive against the Bengals even more impressive is that he did it without Andre Johnson, who missed the game with an injury. The Texans won't be an easy out in the playoffs, because Yates doesn't act like a rookie.

----Strategy Denver Broncos need to use: Tell Tim Tebow the opening kickoff is actually the overtime toss. Tebow seems to do nothing for three quarters, but flourishes in the fourth. He was horrible for three quarters against the Bears, but somehow found a way to pull it out in the fourth. He made some good throws in the fourth quarter. Of course, it took the illogical to give him even a chance, including Marion Barber's dumb decision to run out of bounds in the final two minutes. If the Bears take three knees -- or three Tebows -- they probably win the game.

---Tampa Bay coach Raheem Morris better hope his team plays well in the final three games. After jumping to a 14-0 lead, the Bucs looked lifeless against the Jaguars, losing 41-14. At 4-9, Morris is in big trouble. 

---Maurice Jones-Drew had four touchdowns for the Jaguars against the Bucs. He is having a huge season. Jones-Drew is a tough guy who never backs down. But the scary thing for him is that he's going to be beat up and broken down by the time the Jaguars get good. Call it the "Steven Jackson Syndrome." Jones-Drew is all they have on offense for now.

---We had six passers throw for over 300 yards Sunday. Five won and Romo lost to Eli Manning, who threw for 400 yards. We had nine players go over 100 yards rushing. They went 4-5. You tell me? What's the right way to play?

---So much for Hue Jackson as coach of the year. The Raiders have been horrible the past two weeks. It's more than them just missing all that speed in Darren McFadden Jacoby Ford and Denarius Moore

---If Tony Sparano goes in Miami, shouldn't general manager Jeff Ireland go with him? But word is Ireland has become close to owner Stephen Ross. Ireland's reputation in Dallas was that of a guy who made sure he got close to Bill Parcells. Isn't that considered "ass-kissing?"

--Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul is a beast. He had two sacks and blocked the potential tying field goal. I loved that kid coming out of South Florida. He was raw, and most scouts downgraded him for that. But he has special athletic ability. The scary thing is he's still learning to play the position. With his long arms and reach, he should take on this nickname: The Condor.

---Come on, Scott O'Brien. You really think Tom Brady needs you in his face? You know what looked like to me? It was a coach trying to make his bones. Some will see that as a plus for O'Brien, standing up to a great. I don’t.

----I hate seeing players injured, but if Matt Hasselbeck's calf injury allows the Titans to start Jake Locker it will be a good thing for the organization. The Titans aren't going to the playoffs, so playing Locker will be good for the long-term health of the franchise.

---Where was Bears defensive end Julius Peppers on the Broncos last two drives? Anywhere? 

Posted on: December 22, 2008 4:23 pm
Edited on: December 22, 2008 4:30 pm

Monday Musings

I read somewhere -- I think it was Tim Cowlishaw of the Dallas Morning News who wrote it -- that they should call Tony Romo "Arti." Why? Arti-choke. Get it?

I laughed when I saw that a few weeks ago. Now it's somewhat appropriate. Romo hasn't played well in big games late in his the season. He is 5-7 in December games.

Romo was terrible against the Ravens in the Cowboys loss to Baltimore Saturday night , throwing two interceptions to Ed Reed on throws he had no business making. Those picks looked like he just decided to throw it up and see what happened.

He ended up with some garbage yards late to make his numbers look respectable. He finished 24 of 45 for 252 yards. But in the first half he was 8 of 17 for 59 yards with two interceptions and a passer rating of 16.2. His two touchdown passes came in the fourth quarter in scramble time.

I'm not ready to bury Romo yet. But he needs to show this week at Philadelphia that he can get it done in crunch time.

Quick hits

  • Several Tennessee Titans players were seen stomping on Pittsburgh Steelers Terrible Towels in the final moments of the Titans' victory over the Steelers Sunday. So now the talk is that the Steelers won't forget that if the teams play again. Motivation? Wait a second. If they meet again, it will be in the AFC Championship Game. Isn't a trip to a Super Bowl motivation enough? None of that periphery stuff matters once the ball is kicked off. It's good for us, but it doesn't matter.
  • Is Eric Mangini in trouble? I would have to say yes. The Jets spent a ton of money in the off-season and they traded to add Brett Favre and all they have is a choke down the stretch to show for it. If the Jets lose to the Dolphins Sunday, it's a playoff-less season .If; they win and the Patriots beat the Bills, they're out as well. Mangini has done a poor job with this team. They lost all four games on the West coast. That means losses to the Raiders, 49ers, Seahawks and Chargers. Those teams are a combined 21-39. Nice going, Eric.
  • If Romeo Crennel wasn't fired before Sunday's game with the Bengals, he is now. That was a lifeless effort in that 14-0 loss to the Bengals. There will be a new coach in Cleveland next year. Bill Cowher?
  • Fred Taylor will have a cap figure of $6 million next season and he's due a roster bonus of $1 million. That has many speculating that he will be in another uniform next season. Not so fast. Taylor wants to be with the Jaguars and the team can't afford a publicity nightmare by letting him go with ticket sales a concern. I look for Taylor and the team to reach a restructured contract that will allow him to stay and share carries with Maurice Jones-Drew next season.
  • The more I watch Titans linebacker Keith Bulluck the more I'm convinced he should have been named to the Pro Bowl team. He doesn't get sacks because he isn't a rush linebacker, but he's one of the best linebackers in football. He was all over the field against Pittsburgh Sunday.
  • Anybody still saying Tarvaris Jackson is the answer to the Vikings' passing-game woes? Didn't think so.
Category: NFL
Tags: Tony Romo
Posted on: October 13, 2008 4:19 pm
Edited on: October 13, 2008 4:27 pm

Monday Musings

The Dallas Cowboys haven't been playing well. That's fixable.

But that's not the biggest fix they're worried about now. That's the broken pinkie on the right, throwing hand of Tony Romo's hand.

Romo is expected to be out four weeks, but who knows with a pinkie on the throwing hand? What if he can't grip the football?

The Cowboys are in big trouble. Veteran Brad Johnson, who is 40, will take over as the quarterback. While he's cerebral in his playing, he couldn't throw it through sheet hanging on the clothesline in your backyard.

That means teams will squat on the short routes, which will make it much easier to defend that Dallas rushing attack.

Their game against the resurgent St. Louis Rams in St. Louis doesn't look so easy now.
At 4-2, the Cowboys haven't looked sharp in the past three games, losing two and squeaking by the winless Bengals in the other.

Without Romo, they're in big trouble.

If Johnson can't get it done, it's Brooks Bollinger. Ouch.

The Cowboys better hope Romo is a quick healer. Or this season that started with so much promise might be going rotten in a hurry.




So Tony Gonzalez is on the trading block. Big deal.

Yet you’d think Peyton Manning was the name player available. I think Gonzalez is still a pretty good player. For the right price -- a sixth-round pick -- I'd consider him if I were a contender.

Anything more than that, you should forget it.

Gonzalez is 32 and his best football is behind him. Giving up a value pick to get a player like that will hurt the franchise down the road.

Knee-jerk reactionaries, and you know who you are, are all about the name of the player rather than the deal to land him.
If somebody is considering making a deal for Gonzalez they're forgetting the No. 1 rule of the Pete Prisco GM Handbook.

Never trade to get older.

As for the Giants, they have a good, young tight end in Kevin Boss. Why do they want Gonzalez?

I'm not making that deal if I'm the Giants general manager.


Quick hits

---With the Bears trailing by nine midway through the fourth quarter against Atlanta Sunday, Bears coach Lovie Smith eschewed a field goal to go for the touchdown on a fourth-and-goal from the 1.Memo to Smith: Down two scores, you need to get that field goal somewhere. The Falcons stuffed Matt Forte and the Bears got nothing. As it turns out, they did get a field goal a bit later and actually went ahead with a touchdown pass with 11 seconds left. But down nine, you have to take the field goal there.

---For all those New England fans thinking Matt Cassel was OK in the passing game, I beg to differ. He doesn’t have a great arm to make the deep passes. It seems every time Randy Moss is down the field, pulling away from a defensive back, he has to stop and wait for the ball. Cassel loves to throw short, which is why Wes Welker is running wild, but that's not going to challenge defenses down the field. Keep an eye on this as the Patriots play on. I also love the way Bill Belichick told the crew doing Sunday night's game with San Diego that they were a good team when Tom Brady was just starting out and they could rally around Cassel the same way, playing good defense and running the football. Bill, you're a great coach. But don't dare make that claim. The Patriots are Tom Brady's team. The team's success is his success, more so than yours we're finding out.

---Marvin Harrison had two touchdown catches against the Ravens, leading many to claim that he's back. But there was one throw that showed that he's not the same player he once was. Manning slightly overthrew Harrison on one throw and the pass went off his fingertips. The old Harrison would have caught that for a score. Manning hasn't said this, but I get the idea he's being forced to adjust to the newer, not-as-fast, Harrison. By the way Harrison did his usual thing after the game and didn't meet with the media.


---The Ravens have Willis McGahee as their featured back. So why are they giving the ball to 260-pound Le'Ron McClain on a cutback play McClain is a power runner and that play called for speed. Colts linebacker Clint Session dumped him for a 2-yard gain on a play that opened up and should have been a big gainer. McClain also had a lost fumble. Moral of the story: Don’t throw to glorified guards.

---Bucs runner Earnest Graham is a bigger man than I would be in the situation he faced Sunday. When the Bucs lost their starting fullback, Graham volunteered to move from running back to fullback. All he did was help Warrick Dunn rush for 115 yards. Graham paved the way with his crunching blocks. Don't do too good a job. They just might keep you there, Earnest. Being the lead blocker is a thankless job.

----I've been critical of David Garrard's play in the past, but the Jaguars quarterback had a heck of a day against the Broncos. He completed 25 of 34 for 276 yards. More impressive than the numbers was the way he played. He seemed comfortable with the play calling for the first time this season. Garrard isn't the kind of quarterback who can just sit in the pocket on third down and make a play. He needs to play more up-tempo, doing a lot of rollouts and bootlegs and throwing down the field. For the fist time this season, the Jaguars allowed him to do that and he had his best game.

---Matt Ryan has the Peyton Manning-Tom Brady feel to me. He just gets it. For a rookie passer to do what he did against the Bears, including that impressive throw to set up the game-winning field goal, says a ton about him as a player. The kid loves the game, too. His teammates rave about him. "He's very confident in the huddle," center Todd McClure said. "Nothing bothers him. His voice gets your attention."  He will be a star.

---Green Bay Packers corner Charles Woodson has four interceptions now. Get the man to Hawaii, please.

---It looks like Colts rookie runner Mike Hart will be lost for a while, maybe the season, with a knee injury. That's too bad. Hart looked like he had a chance to be a contributor this season. He had a nice run against Baltimore before hurting his knee and he also showed soft hands catching a short pass.

----Getting one sack is tough enough for an interior lineman. Getting four? That's how special a day Minnesota Vikings defensive tackle Kevin Williams had Sunday. He got four sacks against the Lions. Williams just might be pushing Albert Haynesworth for the honor of being the league's best defensive tackle. I'll give the edge to Haynesworth for now.

---OK, so the Wildcat formation has some other wrinkles that the Dolphins showed against the Texans. Their first score came off a trick play off the Wildcat. So what should we call that? A trick off the gimmick? I still don't like it. I never will.

---Quarterback controversy over in Houston. As if there was one. The fans tried to make one in the off-season, saying Sage Rosenfels should start. We all saw his meltdown last week against the Colts, a meltdown that know has it's own name. When you mess up in a big way, it's called doing a Sage. Matt Schaub's game against Miami, including driving the team to the game-winning touchdown in the final minute, which he scored, can put any thoughts of a controversy to rest.






Category: NFL
Tags: Tony Romo
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