Romo: Need To Be Sharper Before Ball Is Even Snapped


IRVING, Texas** - Tony Romo has been here before.

Sitting at his locker, with a crowded group of reporters asking him questions about a game some 72 hours earlier, looking for answers.

This isn't new for Romo, who certainly doesn't love to rehash a game like the one he played Sunday against the 49ers, but he knows the drill. And he also knows it's warranted for the position he plays, especially when he throws three crucial interceptions in a 28-17 loss.

"It's always difficult right after the game. If you care about the game at all, it's never a fun week, it's never good," Romo said. "All quarterbacks go through it. You never want to have games where you throw multiple interceptions. But what makes the best quarterbacks is how they respond to it. So you've got to come back and you've got to play your best football for the next (game), for the rest of the season, multiple weeks."

So as he fielded the questions, Romo didn't give excuses, but rather explanations to some of the errant throws that proved to be costly for the Cowboys.

Romo said watching the tape from Sunday's game helped him realize how better he needs to be before the snap, just as much as during the play.

"I got a lot out of it," Romo said of the 49ers film. "For me, it was just good to see the subtleness of just what I felt like I need to be a little better just through the mental progression before each snap, the subtleties of it that really gain you the advantages to ensure that you don't make certain mistakes. The more I went over it, the more I started to realize it was just some small things that I need to do. The mental checklist before you get into that situation and I think going forward that will be much better."

From a physical standpoint, Romo said playing through the game with no lingering effects from his back surgery was one of the few encouraging aspects.

"I think that was part of the positive that came from the game," Romo said. "Physically I did a lot of things well. Mentally, I felt like I wasn't as sharp as I needed to be in the football game. That's what stood out to me."

So how does the mental part get fixed? Romo said it comes down to simply getting back on the field and playing. He knows he can't fix them too much during the week. But it'll be Sunday afternoon in Tennessee when Romo gets the chance to redeem himself.

"The game comes down to mistakes. It comes down to one or two throws," Romo said. "What I found is just in some of those that the mental process that I was going through pre-snap in a lot of ways, my checklist and stuff, it's situation and understanding leading up to that week. Over the course of the game, what can happen is you lose certain subtle things that need to continually be there beforehand. I think that comes with playing. I think I needed that, and maybe what I found is I needed to get that part of it sharper and that comes with playing, and I needed that. I'm disappointed it obviously took a game to get to that point, but it'll be different going forward."

When asked if perhaps he needed to have played more in the preseason than just 48 snaps, Romo said it's a tough balance considering the stance the Cowboys took to monitor his reps and return from the back injury wisely. [embedded_ad]

"When you're coming off of any type of injury or any type of surgery I think you've got to manage that," he said. "You have to make sure you're going to be able to be healthy and help your football team and we did a great job with that. The stuff that obviously gets affected are some of the other things through your checklist, and mental for me is probably the most important thing because there are multiple things that you need to go through before you ever take a snap. Without them, you're just playing. And if you're just playing over the course of 30 throws you're going to have some you don't necessarily feel comfortable with. Each one needs to be the most important throw of the game and you need to have that mental thought process among some other things that give you the advantages."

For Romo, he knows these mental corrections need to occur as soon as Sunday against the Titans. And while the Tennessee defense will be tough, and playing on the road is never easy, Romo knows avoiding an 0-2 start is just as vital.

"It's a very important game, it's big," Romo said. "I think it's going to be a great test being on the road against a team that played really well last week and won a very difficult game in a tough environment. So I think this team is better than probably a lot of people anticipated going into the season, and it's a credit to them and their staff and the players and what they've done. This will be a good test for us, and we've got to play really good football to win."

Like always, Romo knows that process begins with himself.

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