Some Things We Do Know

coach. You do what you do and you go build on it. We won. Great. Now we have to go do it again. Look, for me as a player, there was pressure on every throw, every drill in practice. I was such a fringe bubble guy, I never had it made. And it's still true. After three games, we haven't made it. We have to do it against the Rams or none of it matters. We have to worry about today's practice." 

And he is right. He couldn't be more right. Every team is different. Dallas has to prove it can handle prosperity. Champions are mature in the way they deal with the ups and the downs. They don't quit when things are shaky, and they don't, to borrow a phrase from The Last Head Coach, eat the cheese when things are going well. 

And that's why this column proclaims it's time to stop saying we don't know about Romo and we don't know about Jason Garrett. 

It's completely understandable why people were cautious about Romo. Great as he was for five games last year, he was just as average-looking for five. How were we to know he wasn't, say, Scott Mitchell? (For those with shorter memories, Mitchell was a big, young left-handed backup to Dan Marino in Miami. In his third season, 1993, Marino was injured and Mitchell stepped in and did a nice job. He turned that into a huge free-agent contract with Detroit, for whom he toiled five years. In the second, 1995, he threw for 4,338 yards and 32 touchdowns. By 1999, he was gone.)  

Hell, he may still be Scott Mitchell. But right now, who cares? If you weren't impressed by what Romo and the offense did against the Giants and on the road against the Dolphins, that second half Sunday night had to get your attention. So let's just accept that in today's NFL, Tony Romo can play, and get on with it. 

And let's say that you need to understand Romo doesn't do it alone. He needs Jason Witten and Terrell Owens and Julius and Barber and Big Leonard and Colombo and all the rest of them. And they all need Jason Garrett, and he needs them. 

Give Jerry Jones a little credit. For all the flack Jones caught for hiring Garrett before he decided on Wade Phillips as the head coach, admit now that Jones knew something when he was presented with a 48-hour window by the Dolphins to hire Garrett in January or send him back to Miami. 

What did Jones know that made him make the move? 

"I knew he wouldn't be a prisoner of his philosophy," the Cowboys owner says. "He said he'd prefer to use the fullback more, but we didn't know for sure at the time that we'd have the fullbacks we'd want. He said he'd build the offense to fit the talents of the players, and he has. 

"You won't sit in a meeting and hear that we shouldn't have run a play because we didn't have the right personnel group in. He knows how to use his players' talents in making the plan and in calling the plays." 

The Rams' head coach, Scott Linehan, was Garrett's boss as offensive coordinator in Miami. He told a media teleconference Wednesday, "Jason is maybe the brightest guy I've met. I must have interviewed 100 guys for the Miami quarterback coach's job, and when I talked to him, he knew things about me that I didn't know. 

"Then Troy Aikman called and told me if I hired Jason it would be the best decision I ever made. Unfortunately for you guys, he'll be a head coach real soon." 

Don't bring that up to Garrett. He's still trying to get this coordinator thing down to suit him. 

"You never can really know about something until you do it," he says. "It's like playing. Ask Aikman. You can visualize all you want, but until you do it at every level, it's all new. You learn how to do it better, all of it. You draw from your previous experience as best you can, but until you actually do it, you don't really know." 

Fair enough. We don't know all we can know about Romo after 14 starts, or about Garrett after three. 

But somehow, I think we've seen enough. Let's find another set of worries.       

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