QB Must Rescue The Hurtin' Cowboys

around the field, the combination of Brad Johnson and Brooks Bollinger totaling just 490 yards in three games - a Wishbone-like 163 a game. With the inability to spray the ball down the field, and more importantly, on the sidelines with those deep outs, defenses began crowding the line of scrimmage.

Then worse, Felix Jones was missing, the Cowboys losing their other threat to the edges of a defense. So now you got Marion Barber plowing away for 224 yards in three games, 74.7 a game, but needing 62 carries to get there, meaning 3.6 a carry. Big deal, defenses figuring we'll just clog up the middle of the field and take our chances with the rest.

And while the immobility of Johnson and Bollinger's inexperience in this offense certainly led to the 10 sacks they suffered in Romo's absence, the Cowboys offensive linemen did not have Boy Wonder back there ducking and darting to save their butts as he repeatedly does, especially last year when three of those guys went to the Pro Bowl. They also discovered run blocking without Romo becomes significantly more difficult even if he's only handing the ball off.

Then comes the defense. These guys are probably tuckered out, needing this weekend's breather more than anyone. They were facing an average of 63 plays a game, but worse, having to run back out their eight times, mostly with their backs to their own goal line, because of turnovers.

On top of that, during the Cowboys' 35 possessions in Romo's three-game absence, 18 possessions lasted no more than four plays. That's more than half!

No wonder this defense was gashed for 78 points in three games.

And you wonder why the good quarterbacks get all the money and usually the blonde of their choice?

Romo ought to go ask for a raise.

"I probably should be paying them," said Romo, giving it his best aw-shucks.

Please.

Now, don't call me naïve. I know just having Romo step on the field isn't the cure-all. He needs the rest of the guys to charge with him. This ain't golf by any means.

And like Owens finished off his "Superman" analogy when talking about how Tony can't save the team all by himself, "But he's a very key part of this offense."

You bet he is.

And, you know what? He knows that, too. Now he won't say it, never wanting to big-time his teammates nor insult Johnson or Bollinger. He'll flash one of those Huck Finn innocent looks and deftly parry any thoughts of him being some "savior" on the way.

"I don't think about that," Romo said of the pressure being thrown on his shoulders to right these wrongs. "That is what it is. This is a football team and no one player wins or loses football games. And I think that if we win against the Redskins it will be a team effort and if we lose it will be at team effort."

Yeah, yeah, OK, but if the Cowboys are to beat the Redskins, Romo has to be Romo, meaning not only regaining his ability to throw the football with the authority he once did even though he might not be able to grip the ball as well as back then, but also be above four or five weeks of rust.

There can be no transition period, sorry, and he can't politely tippy-toe into the huddle. He needs to come galloping in, taking command right where he left off, exhibiting his "Tin Cup" confidence as if he's never been away.

You know, like this: "I am just very excited about what lies ahead (and) for whatever reason I might have come up with is obviously going to be to myself," he says. "I think this team has a great chance to do something around here. We are going to play a good football game against the Redskins."

That right there is what I'm talking about. Just being the quarterback. Just being Romo. Just getting everyone back, especially the quarterback, and everything back to normal, even if some want to say the Cowboys still lost two games back during normal. Yep, they did, by two points and in overtime.

Bring it on, and him, too, and don't believe everything when the kid from Burlington, Wis., says, "I don't think there is a magic potion; I don't think there

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