Tony Romo’s winning return has created borderline craziness among the Dallas Cowboys.
One minute veteran defensive end Jeremy Mincey is declaring Romo the “savior of our season” and the next, owner Jerry Jones is doubling down on his radio show by saying Romo should be an MVP candidate should the Cowboys win out the rest of the way.
All of this comes on the heels of one game in which Romo helped the Cowboys snap a seven-game losing streak by beating a mediocre Miami Dolphins team on Sunday.
Maybe it’s time to tap the brakes, and it sure doesn’t sound as though Romo would disagree. After all, he hasn’t found his inner Nostradamus and taken to Twitter this week about “winning the whole [bleeping] thing.”
Tony Romo is 6-2 on Thanksgiving, but he was 18-of-29 passing for 199 yards with two interceptions last year in a 33-10 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.
“I just think we won a football game,” Romo said, answering a question if the Cowboys have new life after the victory in South Florida.
“That’s always why we play the game. As far as going into this week, it’s such a short week you just forget about last week and you have to move right on. You get about four to six hours of enjoyment with it and then you are right on to Carolina. This one is coming fast. We’ll worry about all the other stuff after.”
Romo has no intentions of giving another pep talk before the game, something his offensive teammates raved about after the 24-14 victory in Miami.
Romo gave a heartfelt speech to the group Saturday with receiver Dez Bryant admitting he got “chills” from it. That, however, is not going to become a weekly occurrence.
“No one needs rah-rah speeches every week and things of that nature,” Romo said. “I spoke because I thought it was something I needed to say. I thought our team used that. It happens like that once in a while.”
Romo and the Cowboys are focused on getting ready with a short turnaround for two games in a five-day span. It happens every year with the Cowboys’ annual Thanksgiving Day game, of course, but carries more questions for Romo now than in the past.
Romo had his worst Thanksgiving game a year ago, going 18-of-29 passing for 199 yards with two interceptions in a 33-10 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. Romo blamed some of those struggles on experimenting with a different routine for his surgically repaired back.
The back is becoming less of an issue for Romo, and he fully expects to play at a similar, if not higher, level as he did last week.
“In some ways, just some of the decisions I made [last year] were not conducive to me being ready in that short period of time,” Romo said. “It happened. You learn. You move on. I think I’ll be better this year because of it.”
I have a lot of confidence in him. He has played this game a lot. I know it’s a short week, a lot of football here quickly for him after the long layoff with the injury. He knows what he has to do. He is the best at that.
Jason Witton on Tony Romo
Romo’s plans this week includes condensing most of what he would do during a normal week, not necessarily skipping anything. Physically, Romo described himself as having “the good kind of sore” after his first game action since late-September, and sees no issues going forward.
He also used part of his time off studying the Panthers because he knew he wouldn’t have as much time to prepare for them.
The Panthers are arguably the most complete defense the Cowboys will see this season, which is saying something considering they’ve faced the New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks already.
But the Panthers have playmakers on every level. They have established pass rushers, from veteran Jared Allen to up-and-comer Kony Ealy, and possibly the best linebacker corps in the league led by Thomas Davis and Luke Kuechly. The secondary, led by Josh Norman, is also top-notch with a league-leading 15 interceptions.
“They have an excellent defense,” Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. “They defend the run. They affect the quarterback. And they’re awfully good. They’re really good at all three levels of their defense.”
Romo is 4-0 in his career against Carolina, and has been known to spoil a couple perfect seasons in his career.
The question is whether he can do it on a short week. Romo is 6-2 in Thanksgiving games.
“I have a lot of confidence in him,” tight end Jason Witten said. “He has played this game a lot. I know it’s a short week, a lot of football here quickly for him after the long layoff with the injury. He knows what he has to do. He is the best at that.”
Panthers at Cowboys
3:30 p.m. Thursday, KTVT/11