Kind of like how his quarterbacking career started with the Dallas Cowboys. Romo was thrown into a 2006 Week 7 Monday Night Football game against the New York Giants when starter Drew Bledsoe was benched at halftime. Though the Cowboys went on to lose 36-22, Romo fared well enough to earn the job the rest of the playoff-bound season. And then the next nine seasons.
So he’s been thrown in the deep end before he was ready to swim. And he’s shown he’s smart, hard-working and can adapt to tricky situations at the highest level. He’s got a really good support system that will help him make the adjustment to the booth. That’s why I think he will thrive in his new career at the No. 1 analyst with CBS.
He has many advantages in his favor. A starting quarterback doesn’t last 10 seasons in the NFL without being a real student of the game. Romo’s preparation will show on telecasts. He can talk football with the best of quarterbacks. There’s concern he will talk over the heads of viewers and speak too long between plays, but if so, he’ll adapt like he always has.
He will be helped in the coming months by his wife, Candice, a former broadcast journalist for Dallas TV station KDAF. She will undoubtedly go through the nuts and bolts of a broadcast and give him some industry tips that will ease the transition.
He’s also be working next to a real pro, Jim Nantz. Nantz will spoon-feed Romo if needed and take him down the right road. He will be a confidant before, during and after the game. I think these two will develop great chemistry and in a short time will be the best NFL combo on television.
Romo will have the advantage of working AFC games. He will do at most three games involving the Cowboys, reducing the amount of criticism that will undoubtedly be heaped on him during his first season.
The critics will be plenty. Many surfaced when Romo wouldn’t address Houston’s quarterbacking situation during his CBS audio conference last week even though now he didn’t have a dog in the fight. That’s a bit disconcerting, but he’ll adapt – there’s that word again – as he grabs the ex-quarterback role by the horns.
Romo’s heard it all before from legions of Cowboys fans and haters. And he more than takes it all in stride. Romo doesn’t take himself too seriously and has often been heard poking fun at himself in locker room interviews. He has a very good sense of humor, and that will surface often on his broadcasts and endear him to viewers. His self-deprecating nature might be his ace in the hole entering the booth, and something that will separate him from the stale, predictable delivery of his fellow former Cowboys quarterback, Troy Aikman.
So get ready for a Romo who will become a star just like the logo on the helmet he once wore.
HOUSTON, WE HAVE A PROBLEM: I have no doubt the Houston Texans were expecting Romo to be released once the free agency period began. Then they would swoop in and sign him as their starter. Oops.
Now the Texans, after trading Brock Osweiler to the Browns, are left with Tom Savage and journeyman Brandon Weeden as their quarterbacks as the NFL Draft approaches.
The Texans’ hesitancy in pursuing Romo could have made a difference in whether Romo returned to play this season. Had they shown interest from the start and offered a draft pick to the Cowboys, that could have swayed Romo enough to decide moving his family for a season or two to Houston would be worth it. They dawdled and as CBS’ interest heated up, the Texans went further and further in Romo’s rearview mirror.
The Texans have to be filled with regret at this point. They have a team that could contend for the Super Bowl with a good quarterback. But with Savage at the helm, they have no chance. They probably have to address the position in the draft next week and start over.
SHERMAN TALK: The Seattle Seahawks have acknowledged they have dangled All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman as trade bait. There has been lukewarm interest around the league, in part because of his huge salary cap hit of $13 million, his age (29) and his public criticism of the team after a couple big losses.
No one is biting. But should the Cowboys? I have huge concerns about the team’s cornerback situation. Orlando Scandrick has been injury-prone in recent years and is 30. The signing of Nolan Carroll is a stop-gap measure. He’s not a long-term option. Second-year guy Anthony Brown showed promise last year and hopefully is the answer at one corner. Depth is lacking.
The Cowboys would have the money to take on Sherman’s contract. They will gain $14 million against the cap with Romo’s post-June 1 release designation. Sherman is signed through 2018 so he would have two seasons in Dallas. Is he worth giving up a first-round pick? Is he better than the corners the Cowboys are looking at with one of their first two draft picks next week? I’d say yes. He’s a sure thing.
I don’t have to remind longtime Cowboys fans that owner Jerry Jones signed star cornerback Deion Sanders to a huge free agency contract in the spring of 1995. Sanders helped the team win the Super Bowl that following season. This might be the same kind of move required to get to the big game.
The Cowboys have not had a linchpin on their defense since DeMarcus Ware left town. Acquiring Sherman would give the defense an edge it’s been missing and make life much better for a defensive line that struggles to get to the quarterback. I’m in the minority here, but I think it’s worth it for Jones to see if he can land Sherman with a team-friendly trade.