Romo vs. Bledsoe: The Carolina perspective

By Jeff Lykes  |   Thursday, October 26, 2006  |  Comments( 6 )

Carolina Panthers
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The Panthers and Cowboys square off in a huge matchup on NBC's "Sunday Night Football" this week. The show, which has garnered huge ratings, has basically replaced "Monday Night Football" as the premier NFL telecast of the week. But who cares about ratings, right? It's all about the football.

The Cowboys are a lost bunch right now. Everyone and their mother wanted Bill Parcells to go with Tony Romo instead of Bledsoe, and already -- two quarters deep into the Romo Era -- the same people are shaking their heads. Hey, we all wish we could clone the 1986 version of Phil Simms and his super-accurate arm, but that's not happening.

Bledsoe gives you some stuff (the deep ball, experience, statue mimicry) and Romo gives you something else (mobility, youthful exuberance, youthful decision-making). Listen, you're out of your mind if you can say with a straight face that Drew Bledsoe has ever thrown a pass worse than Romo's shuffle toss to wide open Giants DT Fred Robbins. Starting Romo is the right move, but it won't simultaneously fix all of the Cowboys' problems.

Every sportswriter and media member has been dwelling on the Bledsoe-Romo controversy since training camp; but, in the process, they've missed the bigger picture... the Cowboys aren't that good. They have a flawed defense that is extremely susceptible to the long ball; an inconsistent running game featuring an overrated back; a shaky O-line; a lousy placekicker; and... and... some other guy... what's his name? Oh yeah... T.O.

However, because everyone is talking about the quarterbacks, let me offer this question, "From the Panthers' point of view, which is the better QB to face?" Of course, by "better" I actually mean worse. And, strangely enough, I think it's the same guy. Julius Peppers is playing at such a high level that Romo's mobility won't factor in. I don't think Randall Cunningham in his prime could wiggle out of a Peppers sack this season; the defensive end has looked that good.

Bottom line, I don't feel the Dallas quarterback situation will be much of a factor this Sunday night. The play of Big D's offensive line has been and will continue to be the biggest issue in terms of the passing game. I don't care about arm strength; it's hard to throw a ball downfield when you're lying on your back.

On the other side of the ball, Jake Delhomme and the Panthers' offense could be in for a big day. Roy Williams, perhaps the best tackling safety in the NFL, has looked like a lost puppy whenever he has to drop back on deep passes, and last time I checked, the Panthers had a guy named Smith who was good at doing just that.

Basically, Carolina is just a better team right now. This is the Panthers' game to lose. And the team has often played down to its opponent. For instance, the Panthers should have defeated Baltimore by at least 20 points (they won, 23-21). They lost to a team last week that needed the game more than they did, and in a lot of ways they face a similar team this week.

The Cowboys could save their season with a huge road win in Charlotte, and they'll give the Panthers all they have. Remember this; never count out a Bill Parcells-led team, especially when they have their backs to the wall.

Original Carolina Panthers analysis, courtesy of
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CommentsComments: 6  |  Sign Up  View all comments
08:13 AM
I like your assessment of the Cowboys, "they aren't that good." I believe this to be wholly accurate. They have yet to prove they...
01:44 PM
You can talk all the smack you want Fr8t. But you just wait and see, I believe that Dallas has something up their sleeves waiting...
Joe Stern
03:34 PM
This is a wonderfull article. Great accessment of the Dallas Cowboys. Except the lousy kicker you mention is the all time...
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