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Thread: QB Controversy Thread...

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    Senior Member p1_'s Avatar
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    QB Controversy Thread...

    i couldn't help myself, guys. This is too rich....


    Drew Bledsoe wonders if Tony Romo's time is up in Dallas

    By Michael Silver
    NFL Media columnist
    Published: Sept. 26, 2016 at 02:20 a.m.
    Updated: Sept. 26, 2016 at 08:39 a.m.
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    ARLINGTON, Texas -- Nearly 10 years ago, midway through a nationally televised night game, Dallas Cowboys quarterback Drew Bledsoe threw a short pass to the left flat that was intercepted by New York Giants cornerback Sam Madison a yard shy of the end zone. It brought a frustrating end to the Cowboys' final drive of the first half, and with the home team staring at a 12-7 deficit, Bledsoe retreated to the locker room at Texas Stadium intent on mounting a comeback.

    Little did Bledsoe know that he had just thrown the final pass of his 14-year career.

    As Bledsoe sat at his locker contemplating second-half adjustments, then-Cowboys quarterbacks coach Chris Palmer stormed into the room and announced that his boss, Bill Parcells, had decided to replace Bledsoe with his untested backup -- a decision with overtones that would alter the course of the franchise for the next decade.

    "(Palmer) came in all heated up," Bledsoe recalled last week. "He made a big show out of it. I was in front of my locker, trying to get ready for the second half, and he yelled and screamed and said he was going to make a change. Obviously, I wasn't very happy. It was a clarifying moment."

    If you're wondering why I had this conversation with Bledsoe -- and what it has to do with the Cowboys' 31-17 victory over the Chicago Bears at AT&T Stadium on Sunday night -- well, it concerns that untested backup who replaced him on that October night 10 years ago in that since-imploded stadium about 20 miles away.

    Yes, Tony Romo is now the Cowboys quarterback in danger of losing his job to a young up-and-comer -- and, if he's honest with himself, he's at least entertaining the fear that he has thrown his last pass.

    Look, I'm not saying the impressive September put forth by rookie Dak Prescott -- whose 19-for-24, 248-yard, one-touchdown, no-interception effort against the Bears was a thing of beauty -- portends that Romo's time as a starter in Big D is done. Once the 36-year-old quarterback is cleared to return from the compression fracture in his back, sustained in a late-August preseason game, the plan -- according to the organization's powers that be -- is that the Cowboys will once again ride with Romo.

    "Oh, yeah, the plan is to go back to Tony," Cowboys executive vice president and player personnel director Stephen Jones said after the victory over the Bears, which snapped a perplexing eight-game home losing streak and pushed Dallas to 2-1. "You like these kind of 'problems.' But if he's healthy, it's Tony's team."

    And yet, to discard the possibility of Prescott remaining as the Cowboys' starter would be na´ve, especially given the fourth-round draft pick's poise and productivity thus far. If nothing else, his efforts to date -- which include three starts without a single turnover -- have reduced the team's temptation to rush Romo back into action.

    Previously, it has been assumed that the Cowboys' Week 8 game against the division-leading Philadelphia Eagles, following a bye the previous Sunday, might be targeted for Romo's return. Now? Well, owner Jerry Jones admitted after Sunday's game that under the circumstances, later might be better.

    "We can be (more conservative), but that has several aspects to it," Jones said. "We could be sitting here with more wins cause Dak is playing, and so those wins would allow you to be more conservative with Tony's condition.

    "I don't hesitate to say today that when he's ready to play, Tony gives us the best chance to win. And when he's ready to play, we want him on the field. But I'd love to have the problem of (Dak) playing lights out and winning all the way to that point. I'd welcome it."

    Romo, who threw some passes on the field to Cowboys receivers before Sunday's game and remains a popular leader in the locker room, declined to comment as he walked to his car late Sunday night, saying, "I'll talk next week. Just gotta keep rolling, keep winning." He was reasonably cheery, but this can't be a wholly comfortable state of affairs for a player who has become increasingly injury-prone in the latter stages of his career.

    Rest assured, Bledsoe can relate to the anxiety.

    After all, losing his job to Romo was only the second-most devastating demotion of his otherwise highly fulfilling career.

    "When you're young in the league -- when you're young in life -- you think you're 10-foot tall and bulletproof," said Bledsoe, now 44, who was the first overall pick of the 1993 draft. "You think nobody can ever replace you, and that you're gonna be the guy forever. Eventually, you learn the lesson that it's a replacement business. Sometimes that hits you right between the eyes, which is what happened to me with (Tom) Brady, and again with Tony.

    "It happens to all of us. I don't know if it's the time for Tony, but it's something that every quarterback has to confront."

    Famously, Bledsoe first had to confront being replaced 15 years ago, after absorbing a hellacious hit from New York Jets linebacker Mo Lewis that landed him in the hospital with internal bleeding, a potentially life-threatening situation. By the time he was cleared to play later in the 2001 season, his previously unheralded backup, Tom Brady, had performed well enough to remain entrenched as the Patriots' starter.

    Even though Bledsoe returned to replace the injured Brady in the '01 AFC Championship Game, helping to spark an upset victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers, coach Bill Belichick went back to Brady for Super Bowl XXXVI -- and a legend was born.

    Bledsoe, who the previous March had signed a 10-year, $103-million contract with the Patriots -- then the richest deal in NFL history, and one which owner Robert Kraft said was designed to retain "one of the great Patriots for the rest of his career" -- would be traded to Buffalo in April of 2002.

    Three years later, after being released by the Bills in a salary-cap move, Bledsoe joined the Cowboys, where Parcells (who'd coached him in New England during his first four seasons, including a Super Bowl XXXI appearance) was closing out his illustrious coaching career.

    Benched in the sixth game of his second season in Dallas, Bledsoe -- once again -- had to deal with the uncomfortable sensation of watching a young replacement shine.

    "It brings up very conflicting emotions," Bledsoe recalled. "In our heart of hearts, we all want to feel indispensible. We all want to believe, 'There's no way the team can succeed without me.' Then you see the team going on, and winning with a young guy playing the position, and playing it well, and you do some soul searching... and you start to think, 'Maybe the team's gonna make that decision to move on.'

    "You always want the team to do well, but it's hard. It can be (awkward). Tommy and I are still good friends, and I text with Romo once in awhile... but it's hard to love 'em if they've got your job and you want it back."

    Romo's potential discomfort, however, is the franchise's magic elixir. For a team that has struggled mightily in his absence, including a 1-11 mark when he went down with a pair of broken-collarbone injuries last season, the knowledge that they are in good, steady hands with Prescott is a delicious surprise.

    After all, this wasn't supposed to happen. The Cowboys targeted a quarterback in the top end of last April's draft, missing out on a potential trade-up to the back end of the first round for former Memphis quarterback Paxton Lynch, who instead was snagged by the Broncos in a similar move. According to sources inside the Cowboys' draft room, Jerry Jones was visibly angered when the team lost out on Lynch.

    After a similar trade-up attempt targeting former Michigan State quarterback Connor Cook failed, with the Oakland Raiders beating the Cowboys to the punch early in the fourth round, the Cowboys feared they had come up empty. Encouragement from the coaching staff, however, compelled them to take a closer look at Prescott, and they took a flier on the former Mississippi State passer later in the fourth round.

    "Well, we're in the quarterback business," Jones said, confirming his frustration after missing out on Lynch. "But look how it worked out. Would I trade (Prescott) heads up for anybody that went in that draft?"

    Jones smiled, leaving the rhetorical question unanswered -- but it's pretty obvious that the answer, at this point, is, "No way."

    The team's primary concern about Prescott was his lack of accuracy in college, but that has not been a problem on the NFL level. Relatively raw upon his arrival, his improvement curve was steep -- and his demeanor downright unflappable.

    "He's a good player, isn't he?" Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said after Sunday night's victory. Then, holding his hand in a horizontal pose, Garrett added: "He's just like this, all the time."

    Asked what might happen if Prescott continues to shine, and Romo is cleared to play, Garrett pointed to his watch and said, "We just focus on 11:05 (p.m.)" -- the time of his answer.

    At the time of what turned out to be his final NFL season, Bledsoe knew his young, eager backup was pining for a chance to play.

    "When Tony got his chance, I really felt like he felt like he deserved that chance," Blesdoe said. "He probably felt like it should have been earlier. The difference was that Tommy was always just a sponge for information; Tony, not as much. He always felt he had a good handle on things."

    Though Bledsoe wasn't thrilled about Parcells' decision, he ended up being at peace with it.

    "The New England (benching) was quite different," Blesdoe said. "I had just signed a big deal there and planned on being there forever. And then, I went from being Patriots quarterback for a decade to, in a matter of weeks, 'OK, I might not be here next year.' If everything had gone perfectly in Dallas, I was maybe gonna play one more year. I had reached the point where I wanted to move to the next stage of my life, and I was preparing for that."

    Bledsoe now owns and operates the critically acclaimed Doubleback Winery in his hometown of Walla Walla, Wash., and lives in Bend, Ore., where he helps coach the high school football team on which two of his sons play. He and his wife Maura recently dropped off their oldest son, Stuart, for his freshman year of college, and still have three kids living at home.

    He's quick to admit that he's had a pretty awesome decade since walking away from football. When I asked if he had any advice for Romo, Bledsoe replied: "You just handle every situation the best you can. You keep preparing, getting healthy and hope you get another shot. Ultimately, for Tony, he's got a decision to make about his health and his future.

    "As I've experienced, there's a whole lot of life to be lived after football, and he's gotta decide if it's worth it to squeeze in a few more games."

    In the meantime, Bledsoe -- like virtually everyone else who has watched the Cowboys this season -- can't help but be impressed by what he has seen from Prescott, something few people in the NFL community saw coming.

    "He's good, man," Bledsoe said, via text, in the third quarter of Sunday night's game. "Legit."

    Romo, we can only surmise, believes he's too legit to quit. In the next month or two, we'll see how his bosses feel about the situation.

    Follow Michael Silver on Twitter @mikesilver.
    Jerry, you fuck this up, and I personally come for you...

  2. #2
    Amateur football god Iamtdg's Avatar
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    Yeah, I leave Dak in there and roll with the hot hand if I had to make that decision today. Dak has developed rapport with the receivers, and I'm not one for messing with that. If I knew Tony could come back healthy and stay healthy, then that might be different, but I have no faith in that happening.
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    Amateur football god Iamtdg's Avatar
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    Dak Prescott's play creating difficult situation for Jones, Garrett
    2:26 AM CT
    Jean-Jacques Taylor
    ESPN Staff Writer

    ARLINGTON, Texas -- Dak Prescott dapped up rapper 50 Cent before the Dallas Cowboys played the Chicago Bears on Sunday night, one of those unforgettable moments that demonstrates just how much the quarterback’s life has changed since he was the 135th player selected in the NFL draft.

    His life has changed because backup quarterback Kellen Moore broke his leg in training camp and starter Tony Romo broke a bone in his back during the preseason. Prescott has simply taken advantage of the opportunity circumstance presented.

    Prescott, making his third start, turned in yet another poised, confident performance, passing for 248 yards with a touchdown and a 123.6 passer rating.

    So what if it was against the winless Bears. We watched Brandon Weeden and Matt Cassel play poorly against bad teams last season as the Cowboys went 1-11 without Romo.

    Prescott is 2-1, which had owner Jerry Jones fist-bumping everyone within arm’s length, when the game ended.

    Dallas 31, Chicago 17.

    “Like I’ve said over and over, I expect to be here. I have high expectations for myself, I only want to get better and better,” Prescott said. “I’m going to keep working hard to get better every day, and continue living in the moment.”

    Prescott has played so well that a legion of fans have no interest in Romo being the starter once he’s healthy. Talking heads on TV shows throughout our country will agree with them. Social media is already filled with posts and Tweets about Dak’s greatness.

    For what it’s worth, Jones said he hasn’t heard any fans clamoring for Prescott to be the Cowboys’ starter. He’s the only one.

    Prescott’s performance is forcing Jones to confront a question he has zero interest in answering: Is there any way Romo doesn’t start when healthy. For now, the answer is no. Not as long as Jason Garrett coaches the team.

    This remains Romo’s team, and Prescott will tell you that every single time you ask him about it. What Prescott has done is take the pressure of the Cowboys to rush Romo back into the lineup.

    They can let his back heal completely. No longer must Romo’s return revolve around pain tolerance.

    In three starts, Prescott has completed 66 of 99 passes for 767 yards and a touchdown. Prescott and Philadelphia’s Carson Wentz are the two quarterbacks to start three games and have zero turnovers.

    Wentz has most passes without an interception (102) by a rookie to begin a career, and Prescott is just three attempts behind him. New England’s Tom Brady has most attempts (162) without an interception to begin a career.

    Against Chicago, each of the Cowboys’ first four possessions ended with points. His one-yard touchdown run capped a 10-play, 75-yard drive and gave the Cowboys a 7-0 lead.

    But it was a key fourth-quarter drive Prescott directed that helped the Cowboys secure the win.

    Leading 24-10, Prescott guided the Cowboys on a 10-play, 88-yard drive. He completed each of his five passes for 60 yards. On third-and-2 from the Chicago 17, he finally threw the first touchdown pass of his career to Dez Bryant on a slant.

    “It took a lot of attempts but it happened,” Prescott said, “They saved it for me. If [Dez] wants it, he can have it. I plan on getting many more.”

    Like he's done in his other previous two starts, Prescott expertly managed the drive. He completed passes to six different receivers and didn't force passes into coverage. He stayed in the pocket, patiently going through his progression, before choosing to scramble.

    He did that three times, picking up gains of seven, 12 and 17 yards. He averaged 10.3 per attempt and did not get sacked.

    Prescott has created a new dynamic for the Cowboys: a quarterback controversy -- and it doesn’t matter how many times he says this is Romo’s team.

    He can’t control the situation. Neither can Garrett, Jones or Romo.

    Whenever Romo returns, the first time he throws an interception, plays poorly or the Cowboys lose a game, fans will clamor for Prescott. Each quarterback, the players and coaches and owner will have to endure endless questions about who should start.

    It’s not fair, but it’s reality. Maybe, 50 Cent will rap about it next time he's in the studio.
    2016 DCC LOTY Fantasy Football Champion

  4. #4
    Teh Acester Texas Ace's Avatar
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    All of this QB controversy talk is pointless because Romo is going to at least be given a shot when he's ready.
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    Amateur football god Iamtdg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Texas Ace View Post
    All of this QB controversy talk is pointless because Romo is going to at least be given a shot when he's ready.
    Oh, you know they are putting Romo back in as soon as they can. I don't necessarily agree with it, but it's most likely happening.
    2016 DCC LOTY Fantasy Football Champion

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    Teh Acester Texas Ace's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Iamtdg View Post
    Oh, you know they are putting Romo back in as soon as they can. I don't necessarily agree with it, but it's most likely happening.
    I'm ready for a new era, and I don't just mean Romo.

    It isn't all his fault nor is it on the players as a whole. The ownership betrayed Romo, Witten, Ware, etc. But the fact of the matter is that the Romo era Cowboys just couldn't get it done, even if they were handicapped.

    I'm ready to move on to a new era with new blood. Yea, they'll likely face the same handicaps, but maybe these newer guys can be mentally stronger than Romo's Cowboys were. Poor ownership/coaching aside, those Cowboys were some choking ass bastards.

    We watched them go through many a spectacular collapse over the years. Just when you didn't think they could humiliate the franchise any further, they'd find a way to do it.

    So for those reasons, I'm ready for the new generation. I'd rather just stick it out with Dak all season, but I know that's not going to happen.
    2013 DCC Fantasy Football Champeen

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  8. #7
    Senior Member NoDak's Avatar
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    I have no problem with Romo going back in when he's healthy. He deserves it. He's shown that he can run this offense at a very high level.

    My fear is that when he comes back, is he still the same Romo? Has his age finally caught up to him, or have the injuries finally caught up to him? I sincerely doubt that once he's back playing, that Garrett would have the stones to sit his BFF if the health is there but the production is not. Meaning, once he's back under center, another injury would be the only thing that would get Dak back in there.

    So, I guess we all better hope he plays well once he's back. At least for the rest of this season. It would be easier on all involved to transition from Romo to Dak during the offseason. Romo can "announce his retirement", even though he's been told he is no longer the starter. That way, he technically didn't lose his job. In the eyes of the media and fans, anyway. If he's a healthy scratch during the season, the media firestorm would be unbelievable.

  9. #8
    Senior Member p1_'s Avatar
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    And there are lots of people who will say don't pull Prescott. Me being one.

    Controversy lives in Big D.
    Jerry, you fuck this up, and I personally come for you...

  10. #9
    Senior Member L.T. Fan's Avatar
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    But isn't it nice in a strange way that Dallas has two very capable Quarterbacks. This is 180 from this time last year.
    Since Day One

  11. #10
    Senior Member DLK150's Avatar
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    I work with a bunch of Bears fans here in Indiana and before work today they were all saying things like why did so many teams pass on Prescott, why did he fall so far in the draft, wish Chicago had drafted him and so on. Most of them thought replacing him with Romo when he's "healthy" is stupid. If Dak can lead the team on a decent run, I agree completely.

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