IRVING, Texas – Throughout his career, Tony Romo has dealt with as much pressure and scrutiny as any NFL quarterback.
Until the Cowboys win another Super Bowl, that's not likely to change. But as Romo indicated Tuesday, not much of that gets to him.
"Pressure and fear are all just in your own brain," he said. "To me, it's nothing more than you going out and just competing your butt off every day and trying to win every day. I don't allow outside influences to affect my psyche or what my mental makeup is. It's about this room, this team and how I'm going to get myself and my teammates ready to play. Outside influences don't directly affect how your emotional state is, I guess. To me, an easy way to say it, it's not real.
"Pressure is just … if you're telling yourself or you're saying you should be scared or that you're saying you should be, this is a lot of pressure, well then you're losing already. To me, that's not the right frame of mind or thought."
The pressure may be the same as last year, but the person telling him the plays will change, as the Cowboys make the switch to Bill Callahan as the play-caller. Romo doesn't expect much to change from his perspective. He said it's still Jason Garrett's system, and what matters more is the game plan itself.
In addition to his role in the game plan and his thoughts on a new play-caller, Romo touched on a variety of subjects Tuesday in front of his locker, even commenting on the media and how they don't play a role in his psyche.
Will a new perspective and different set of ideas be a positive calling plays this year?
Romo: "It's never just one guy. I think it's always been a collective effort, I think, in there with the coaches. That part of it, I don't know that. You'll have to ask them about how that is going to go. I just know that we're going to do things that are going to allow us to have a chance to compete. It's going to be a collective effort again, I'm sure."
Do the same things motivate you now?
Romo: "Yeah, I think more than anything, it's just I've always loved competition. I enjoy competing. I enjoy a challenge. Winning a Super Bowl is a challenge. I think it's the ultimate challenge. I think that that's something that wakes me up and gets me excited in the morning, continuing to find a way to make that happen for the fans, the organization and these players in here. It's something that sits there and you just constantly are trying to figure out a way to do that through different ways. I feel like there's a couple of ways to beat people. You outwork them and you outthink them, and I think those two things allow you to get the best chance to succeed, and that's what we're trying to do."
Do you see the read option lasting long?
Romo: "It'll be interesting to see. More than anything, it's going to come down to whether a guy gets hurt or not. If no one ever gets hurt running it, they're going to continue to do it. If someone goes down, people are going to think twice about it.
"If you can gain a schematic advantage and someone doesn't prepare for it, it was great last year. Will it be as good? Maybe not. Maybe some weeks it will be. Every week, maybe not, but I still think if people sprinkle it in it will still gain a schematic advantage. I think more than anything, as a defense you've got to hit the quarterback. You've got to say, 'hey, you might get four yards up the middle with your tailback, but we're going to hit the quarterback, and even though he's handing it off, he's a runner now.' I think that's always going to be an issue for play-callers."
*Are there times you wish things would be quieter off the field within the organization? *
Romo: "More than anything it's just, I think you guys, not trying to be rude, but you guys just don't matter. Saying that, I mean, I know you guys all have a job to do and it helps grow the game and there's a lot of talk about the game and it's a wonderful aspect of it, but good, bad, none of it matters. It's going to be played out on the field. No matter what, we're going to have to open up the football season against the New York Giants and whether you said great things or whether you guys may have said the Cowboys are whatever, the best ever, the worst ever, they can't ever, they can, it doesn't matter. [embedded_ad]
"More than anything, all the other stuff is for people to talk about and enjoy. But to me, when you sit there and look at it, it just doesn't matter. It's just stuff. What I do, and what this team does, is you go back to work, and you go back there and put your head down and say, 'How can we be better?' You've got to go out there and outwork people. You've got to put your head down and get better. I think that's just the process that happens. The rest of it is just you guys talking, and it just doesn't really matter, good or bad. Someone tells you you're the greatest ever, 'Thanks,' move on. Someone tells you you're the worst ever, 'Thanks,' move on, and go out there and keep getting better, and eventually you'll have your best chance for success."
Is it fair to say you have thick skin?
Romo: "I would say that's fair (smiles)."