IRVING, Texas –After breaking his collarbone in 2010, Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo was sacked a career-high 36 times in 2011, and through three games, he's on pace for even more this year.
Following an especially brutal game for Romo - he was sacked four times and hit four more by the Buccaneers – it's worth asking the quarterback just how damaging those shots can be, both in the short term and long term. After a display of physical toughness to survive the Bucs game, the quarterback expressed some mental toughness on Friday, shrugging off the dangers of standing in the pocket, with the likes of Julius Peppers bearing down on him.
"You just play the position," Romo said. "It's part of playing quarterback in the National Football League. Sometimes people are going to hit you. They're good players on that side. Guys up front are battling. It's always going to be tough, because you're always going against a new defensive line, a new scheme, so that part of it makes it a great challenge for our guys. So that's what makes it fun."
Fun? The fact is, Romo needs better protection from his front five, a fact they acknowledge. He can help them out more than most quarterbacks because of his escape ability, but the offense will only function at its maximum capacity if he has a secure pocket.
"You've just got to go out and play, and at the end of the day I have to control what I can control," Romo said. "If someone gets beat, my job is to help them out once in a while. You don't want to make a living at that. At some point that's going to catch up to you, but at the same time, that's part of my job, is to do that, and they're going to make me look better on other plays. Everyone helps out everybody."