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What Art Thou, Tony Romo?

ratcheting down his expectations for this season, "I have to be a realist. If we are making this adjustment right now, I hadn't thought or hoped that we'd be sitting here after the sixth game making these adjustments . . . this change. 

"But I'm not in any way thinking with the amount of games that we have left, with the team we have, with the plusses that Tony could bring to us, I'm not in any way dismissing the possibilities this year. But I want you to know it would have been a lot harder thing for me to accept, go along with, do whatever - it would have been a lot harder thing for me if this would have meant we were junking this season and just putting the team together for the future." 

How many more times do you have to hear Parcells say, "It's not like we're all of a sudden going to junk the whole offense and go to an all new encyclopedia"? 

Or how about this when asked if he was nervous starting Romo for the first time: "Nervous? I don't think that would be the right word. I'm anxious to see what we'll have." 

Even Romo senses this, saying himself, "I don't think anyone here is throwing in the towel," meaning even he isn't counting on being afforded a learning curve. 

See, there is a belief Romo is ready for this. Come on, if Parcells didn't think so, no way would he have injected him into the second half of Monday night's game against the Giants. No way would he have removed Bledsoe in that situation, no matter how much the interception at Philly was compounded with the one at he end of the first half against the Giants. 

There is something about Romo that Parcells believes defies the odds. And maybe I should get that through my thick skull, too, because do you realize the number of quarterbacks he has discarded since coming here, yet has hung on to Romo through it all? Hutchinson. Carter. Henson. Testaverde. All gone. Bledsoe? The door is open. 

Romo, he continues to groom. 

When asked if Romo, the second-year quarterback, had any chance in hell of staying with the team that summer of '04 when he had Carter as the incumbent starter, had traded for Testaverde the first of June for backup purposes and already had acquired Henson in a trade that guaranteed him $3.5 million, Parcells said, he would have, that "something would have worked out." 

What I guess we all need to understand about Parcells is that he's a percentages guy, meaning he plays the percentages. That's why he likes baseball so much. It's a game of percentages. That's why he likes horse racing so much. It's a game of percentages, and why he always says, "I bet a little to make a lot." 

That's why he coaches football the way he does, liking most to lean on his talent on defense and not reckless-abandon blitzing, along with the running game mixed with high-percentage passing and good kicking. 

So don't think Parcells, in his mind, was gambling on Monday night when he turned to Romo or that he simply threw his hands up in exasperation. At that time, with what had gone on with Bledsoe and what he had been seeing from Romo, he thought the inexperienced quarterback gave the Cowboys their best chance to win. 

He'll never say it, but deep down Romo fooled him with the three picks. 

And even though the Cowboys are going to Carolina this weekend, and even though they have this three-game road trip coming up, Parcells truly believes he's playing the percentages here by starting Romo. He doesn't view this as a desperation gamble. Parcells, with dwindling chips on the blackjack table, would never go all in on one hand to make a comeback. That's just not him. Still thinks this gives the Cowboys the best chance to win. 

No, this move has nothing to do with the future. Romo is about now, and all I can say is, he better show up in the winner's circle. Because if he doesn't . . . . 

What now, my Cowboys?                                 

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