Grading The Dallas Cowboys: Quarterbacks

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Kyle Orton

We do not know when his injury occurred for certain, but we do know this, Tony Romo’s last drive, while obviously in pain, was the kind of athlete overcoming injury stories that could have gone down in the annals of Cowboys History as an all time test of guts and determination. In 2013 Tony Romo swept the NFC East teams he faced, and I continue to believe that if he had not been lost to that herniated disc in his back for the finale we would have won. That is how much faith I have in Tony Romo despite the continued belief by some that he is a choker.

I’ve often wondered why Matt Ryan isn’t labeled the same way Tony Romo is, given the fact he has won the exact same number of post season games, but lost 1 more than Tony has? On top of this Matt Ryan was the overall 3rd pick of his Draft while Tony was undrafted. You’d think the scrutiny would be greater on a 1st round pick, but it isn’t. The scrutiny is greater in Dallas than anywhere else in the NFL. Tony Romo’s grade for 2013, when taking into account his stats, guts, record, and leadership is an A-. I would have given him a full A or even an A+ if the wins and losses were weighted heavy on wins. The Cowboys were not 8-8 due to his lack of effort or performance. The blame and grades will fall harder on other areas later in this series.

Next up is Kyle Orton. Can I just tell you that I really like Orton? I think we have one of the best backup QBs in the NFL and I really believed he was going to lead us to victory over the Eagles. Alas, his last pass was picked off and the season came to a screeching halt after a very promising beginning. I do not fault Orton for the loss, but it is impossible not to know he played a role in it.

He has been the good soldier ever since he arrived here last year to replace Jon Kitna. Orton has been a starter in this league and could still start for some teams. You have to give him some credit for not being a distraction. On top of this, for 2 years as the Cowboys have gone with only two QBs he has been the guy running the Scout teams. Indeed he is a good solider. We needed him to be a good leader in the absence of the recognized leader. He had a great game except for 2 throws.

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  • johnnydals

    Great article! I agree with it 100%! Any chance to throw Tony under the buss, they would do it INSTANTLY!!☆

  • Th3Bill

    I fully agree with your assessment of Tony and especially of Kitna. Tony’s a warrior who obviously played at least 3 or 4 weeks with the injury, as you could see in about week 12/13 his throws started to get a little less zip and accuracy. How he plays through injuries is amazing to me. Course, one only needs to read the SI article written about him a couple months ago to realize the type of person and competitor he is. Kitna is a high quality person, and I was actually happy when they brought him in for the game, as he’s always been a good, reliable QB. I will somewhat disagree with Orton’s grade. I’d give him a B/B+. He was hampered by some of the play calling in that game…a good example of which was 4th and 1 when you have a great OL and hard running RB and they call a naked bootleg pass into the flat. That’s a play that Romo makes with his athleticism, but is not designed for someone with Orton’s lack in that dept. That play didn’t make a lot of sense and very well could have affected the outcome of the game. Overall, I agree that QB was definitely not an area of weakness on this years team and will continue to be an area of strength next year.

    Of course, Romo-haters will point to the Den Int…but I counter that any time you NEED to score 48+ points to have a CHANCE to win in an NFL game, you have a LOT more problems than QB. Without Romo, that game very likely could have been 50-14.

  • Chesney Blair

    Hi, I respect your opinion but have to respectfully disagree. Romo plays a quarterback position, and quarterbacks are judged by their wins not their stats. Lets exam what you’ve written. You point out the fact that Romo swept NFC East, which by the league observers as seen as one of the worst divisions in the league. This doesn’t warrant any credibility to him. He should sweep the Redskins, the Eagles when they were struggling, and the Giants. Everyone beat those teams. By the halfway point everyone said this our division to lose. By the way what is Romo’s record against the quality teams? He didn’t win any good games Mike! We have to hold our players more accountable, instead of switching the television off and saying they tried. Two decades of losing tradition has brought this weird unbelievable acceptance of this from our fan base. You think Manchester United fans wouldn’t riot if their owners pulled something similar? The fact remains we had hard time beating the Vikings and Raiders of the world at home. Again lost to the teams we should beat i.e. Lions and Bears, and still in the same situation we have been in the last three years. If he hasn’t got it done in the last three years, really his whole career, what makes you think he will when he is a year older?