Cowboys' Romo has been Tampa proof, but dismisses carryover

IRVING -- Nobody is putting much stock in Tony Romo's amazing career against Tampa Bay.

Not him.

Not the head coach.

Not Tampa Bay.

And actually, the reasoning rings true.

"Teams are different from year to year," coach Jason Garrett said.

"Just a new staff over there," Romo said.

"It's against a different scheme than we'll be running," new Tampa Bay coach Greg Schiano said.

But when the Dallas Cowboys meet the Buccaneers on Sunday at Cowboys Stadium, the numbers are bound to give at least a subconscious lift to Romo and the home team.

They are too astounding not to.

Romo is 3-0 in three starts against Tampa, with 11 touchdowns, no interceptions, a 70.1 completion percentage, 908 yards and a 144.8 passer rating.

The three games -- in Romo's first starting year of 2006, plus 2009 and 2011 -- are three of his top seven career games in passer rating. His 148.9 rating from the 2006 game is the highest of his career.

Got to mean something, right?

"I don't think any of those games have any bearing on this one," Romo said, ready with his answer Thursday. "Just a new staff over there. They're running a different scheme and system. They're playing hard. This is going to be a tough battle, and it's going to be a tough game for us."

But the numbers say it is probably going to be a rebound game for Romo. The Cowboys have not failed to score in the 30s in any of his starts against the Bucs, and the Cowboys have won the last four meetings.

But then, the three Bucs teams Romo played finished their seasons 4-12, 3-13 and 4-12.

"Oh, I don't know," Garrett said, asked about Romo's run against Tampa. "You've heard me say this a lot: Teams are different from year to year. Tony's played the Bucs a few different times in his career. But if you look at the makeup of our team and their team, the teams are really different."

The Bucs had a different defensive coordinator for each of Romo's starts.

In 2006, it was Monte Kiffin. In 2009, it was Raheem Morris. Last year, Morris as head coach filled the role.

This year, it's Bill Sheridan, a former New York Giants assistant.

"It's not the Tampa 2 scheme that we've come to know for a lot of years down there," Garrett said. "Bill Sheridan is the defensive coordinator, and we faced him when he was the Giants' defensive coordinator a few years back, so it's more that scheme. Certainly Schiano is somebody who has a big influence on it as well. It's not carbon-copied.... It's a milking of ideas and you can certainly see the base and the variations of that."

The personnel is different, too.

In 2006, the Tampa corners were Juran Bolden and Ronde Barber. The safeties were Jermaine Phillips and Will Allen, and the unit finished 21st in defense.

Two years ago, Aqib Talib took over at corner with two new safeties, and the unit ranked 27th.

Last year, the safeties were different again, and the Bucs wound up 31st.

This year, former Detroit Lions corner Eric Wright has joined the secondary, along with rookie safety Mark Barron and second-year safety Ahmad Black. Barber -- the only player who has played in every game against Romo -- is helping at safety, too.

"He's a very, very intelligent football player that's played, as you know, for a long time in this league," Schiano said. "He's got experience and intelligence on his side, and he helps us quite a bit. He really is like having another coach out there."

So, yes. A lot is different. But the opponent is Tampa Bay.

And the Cowboys quarterback is named Romo.

"Sometimes you play well against a particular team for whatever reason," Garrett said. "I think Tony is a good football player, and he's played well against a lot of teams."

Especially this one.

Buccaneer killer

In three career games against Tampa Bay, Tony Romo has thrown 11 TDs and has a 144.8 rating:





























Carlos Mendez, 817-390-7407

Twitter: @calexmendez

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