Turn Him Loose

than that. And he's given it to them before.

Since he took over this team, he was a playmaker. He made things happen, with his arm, his eyes, his feet, and yes his leadership.

Tony Romo took the baton from Drew Bledsoe back in 2006 and never looked back. This team, this city and this world-wide fan base embraced him, too.

In some ways, Romo was like a savior for this team desperately needing a spark. And there's no doubt, Romo was that guy. And it wasn't because the Cowboys just needed a change. Romo was making plays - most of them for the Cowboys, but there were some others that didn't go his way.

That's what he does. That's what a player like Tony Romo is. There's good, there's bad, but you just hope the good outweighs the bad. And regardless what you think, it certainly has.

This guy is 29-14 as a starting quarterback and has finished his first three seasons as a starter with a quarterback rating in the 90s.

Everyone wants him to be great. We all thought he was destined for it, and maybe he is. Maybe we're just all so hungry to find the next Troy Aikman that we put all of these expectations on him too soon.

Not sure about all of that, but I do know that no other player should be leading this team than Tony Romo.

See, everyone has their opinions on why he isn't playing his best, or simply the Cowboys aren't winning enough games. Most of them point towards Romo.

*He's not being a leader.
He doesn't care about winning.
He'd rather play golf.
He's more focused on being a celebrity.
He doesn't make smart decisions.
He's too careless with the football.
He can't win the big game, or any game in December.
He can't win without T.O. *

It goes on and on and I'm sure there're plenty more, too. Yeah, it's easy to pinpoint a few things and call them problem areas. Everyone can detect problems but few people really have the answers.

Personally, I don't know if there's just one problem. I don't know if some of those complaints don't have some merit.

But the only obvious thing to me is that Romo isn't being allowed to be Romo.

Put the ball in his hands and tell him to go play.

You remember the classic movie "Bull Durham." Kevin Costner, the old veteran catcher is trying to groom his young, hotrod of a pitcher. Many times in the movie he tells him, "Don't think, just throw."

In a way, that's what needs to happen with Romo. Sure, he needs to be conscious of making mistakes in critical situations, when to throw the ball away and when he can't take a sack. These aren't things he doesn't know.

I just believe this entire summer of him making an obvious effort to change some of his mechanics and his thought-process has changed his aggressiveness, too.

One fan from the Houston area emailed me on Monday with what I believe to be a perfect analogy.

"I feel the gunslinger is packing a pocket knife to a gun fight."

OK, so maybe taking this thing to the weapons level was a bit too far but you get the point.

It just seems like Romo isn't being Romo. It's time to go let the kid play. And yes, I always feel a little awkward calling someone a "kid" when he's only about four years younger than me.

But it fits in this situation. Romo is a kid. He's a fun-loving, big-smiling, backward-hat-wearing, joke-telling kid who loves to play this game.

So he makes mistakes. He's making mistakes either way. Might as well let Romo play his game - the game that got him to this point in the first place.

He doesn't need go out and play not to lose. He doesn't need to try to manage the game.

Go out and win the game. That's what Romo is and that's what this team needs.

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