Dallas and the QB Shuffle —NFL Week 8

The QB shuffle is an off-field play that certainly affects on-field play. In week eight of the 2006-07 NFL season, it’s become a major preoccupation with certain teams either because of injury or poor performance or both. But one shuffle above all had more drama than any other. It was the one that occurred last Monday night and continues into this evening.

This shuffle happened as the Dallas Cowboys found themselves in the midst of a major pummeling by the New York Football Giants. (Are there any other NY Giants these days?) Starting QB Drew Bledsoe was replaced by that inexperienced young guy with the really clean uniform. No, not the punter, the other guy with the really clean uniform—Tony Romo. Although Romo, who was the main man behind the center for Eastern Illinois University, is listed as having 4 years in the pros, he’s got a half-game of stats, which include being 16 of 27 with 3 TDs and 3 INTs. The mid-game replacement of Bledsoe was a classic Jerry Jones’ moment with the Dallas owner on the sidelines being interviewed by the media as the substitution was made. Romo’s first play was a pass thrown directly into a defender’s hands—a true “thank you very much� football play.

Romo starts this week against the Carolina Panthers, and I just don’t get it. First, the kid is going to get killed. Dallas has no offensive line, which means no QB protection. Second, I neither love nor hate the play of Drew Bledsoe, and I also recognize that he’s usually good for one or two major mental lapses every other week, but taking him out after the first-half last week was ludicrous. Did Parcells actually think Romo was going to do any better? Did the coach have a “feeling� in that ever expanding and contracting gut of his? Was he tired of “throwing up in his mouth� (a favorite Tuna saying) as he watched his starting QB have another “Bledsoe Moment� (as they call it in New England)? Did Jerry Jones give Bill a secret nod just before the team went into the locker room for half time? Third and finally—I don’t get starting Romo today. I understand it from the “I’m the coach and standing by my decision (no matter how dumb it may be)� point of view. But is Romo ready and is he any better than Bledsoe?

Last week equaled great theatrics and clown car football. I’m hoping Romo doesn’t get killed. If you’re into carnage, you may want to catch this game, especially because he’s facing a tough defense and the Cowboys, who are 4 and 1/2-point underdogs, are away. How will Bledsoe handle his latest adversity? As he always does—like a pro. Hey, T.O., you may want to take some notes.

The soap opera continues tonight at 8:15 pm. I’ve got the brats and beer all set to go.

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