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Randy Galloway: Romo is quarterback Cowboys can win with, but when?

By By Randy Galloway/McClatchy Newspapers (MCT)
May 23, 2012 at 12:23 a.m.


"Well, my window is getting shorter. Time goes by ... Candidly, you're looking through rose-colored glasses if we all don't realize that now is the time to compete on the field." _ Jerry Jones this week on the NFL Network

With apologies to Jim Mora, but the immediate inclination after hearing Jerry's comments was to paraphrase a still-famous coaching postgame rant from 11 years ago:

"What's that? Ah _ 'Window.' Don't talk about _ 'Window.' You kidding me? 'Window.'

While Mr. Jones should at least be applauded for giving a realistic opinion on the state of the Dallas Cowboys, was he actually breaking any ground here? OK, Jerry being realistic on the state of the Cowboys can be viewed as the breaking of new ground.

But the Cowboys' current "window" flung wide open in 2006.

That's when Tony Romo dropped in out of nowhere to play quarterback. If you don't have a quarterback who can play, then you don't have a window in the NFL. You have a blank wall.

Spare me any mention of bygone years when a team won a Super Bowl with a journeyman quarterback. We are talking about here and now in the NFL.

First and foremost, Tony Romo "IS" the Cowboys' window.

And thus continues the ongoing debate.

Some of you _ maybe many of you _ will say if Romo is the window then the window is closed.

The rest of us say it's only because of Romo that the Cowboys have a window.

But if he hasn't done it by now, and with only one meager playoff win in Tony's time, exactly what window was Jerry talking about this week?

Are these desperate times for the Cowboys? Sure, they are. One playoff win in 15 years would make any other franchise totally irrelevant, but these are the Cowboys, who, no matter what, are never irrelevant.

A long memory doesn't necessarily apply when you are dealing with the Cowboys, but if you backtrack to the late '90s, and the end of the Aikman Era, and then fast forward for the first five seasons of the 2000s, that's when the Cowboys had no window.

No quarterback. No window.

Tony changed that. But how much has really changed?

This week we had Jerry saying, "This is the time; this is the time to go win." Why is that any different from any time since 2006? The only possible answer is that Romo has just turned 32, but his age is not a factor here and, barring injury, won't be for the next couple of years.

Tony was outstanding for some of last season. Tony was also awful for a couple of games. Regardless, he's a quarterback you can win with.

But win when?

Easy answer is Romo will win when he gets more help on both sides of the ball. But with that answer comes the bounce-back rebuttal of the Lions game last season, and the Jets game last season, and whatever the heck that was at the end of the Cardinals game last season.

In attempting to correct those kind of meltdowns, Romo simply can't be the reasons those losses happened. But in the bigger picture, I've actually liked the Cowboys' off-season, particularly with the aggressive approach of overhauling and upgrading the position of cornerback, which was obviously a huge problem area last season.

Jerry has been aggressive and, by being aggressive, it tells us he was being realistic about problem areas.

But when Jerry talked on the NFL Network this week about the "window," he also went into a scary area by bringing up the 9-7 Giants winning the Super Bowl with a great playoff run.

What the Giants did does not apply to what the 8-8 Cowboys did a season ago.

Yes, the Giants and Eli Manning also had their Lions moments, their Jets moments, their Cardinals moments, otherwise the Giants wouldn't have been 9-7.

But once the playoffs started they had a Manning, who I don't think is as talented as Romo. But a quarterback was in place.

The difference between the Cowboys and the Giants, however, obviously came down to the other side of the ball.

The Giants had a front seven on defense that was capable of disrupting an offense. And in the playoffs that disruption happened on a frequent basis. Combined with Manning and receivers who came up big time, a Super Bowl happened.

The Cowboys' defense did not compare to the Giants', particularly with the front seven. It still doesn't compare, and unless there is more pressure applied up front, new and better cornerbacks won't necessarily matter.

Yes, the window is still cracked open for the Cowboys. But we will never know if Romo can keep it open until other elements surface. Until that happens, are you kidding me and Jim Mora? "Window?"

Jerry is right that time goes by. And it's been a long, long time of nothing for the Cowboys.

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(c)2012 the Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Visit the Fort Worth Star-Telegram at www.star-telegram.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services

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