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Romo will take the sack now… hmmmmm…

Seems as if Tony Romo does not fear the “sack pack” pass rush of the Eagles anymore because he’s learned to appreciate the value of NOT throwing the balll up under pressure.

Now there’s a novel approach to playing quarterback in the NFL…

Commandment No. 7 on Bill Parcells’ list for quarterbacks is this: Throwing the ball away is a good play – sacks, interceptions and fumbles are bad plays. Protect against those.

But I wonder just how bad of a play a sack is. Yes, it hurts the ability to keep drives alive and score points— and Romo’s sack/fumble Saturday vs. Tampa Bay was picked up for a touchdown. But for the most part, a sack sure beats an interception.

Tony Romo has been sacked 30 times this year and will face the NFL’s sack leader on Saturday in Philadelphia’s Jason Babin, who has 18 through 14 games.

Since his three-interception game against Detroit on Oct. 2, when Romo promised he would improve and not make the same mistakes, he has been sacked 23 times and been intercepted only four times. In the first four games he was sacked seven times and intercepted five times. During that time he has 22 touchdown passes.

Is there a correlation?

It looks like Romo has been more willing to accept a sack rather than trying to stick a tight throw into coverage while under pressure.

It’s a little like Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers. He would rather take a sack than risk a throw. In Rodgers’ first four seasons as the Packers starter he has been sacked 34, 50, 31 and 36 times. This year Rodgers has a stupendous 40 touchdown passes and only six interceptions.

Maybe taking a sack is not such a bad thing if you’re in it to win it… and maybe the Eagles defense should be concentrating more on things other than sacks in Saturday’s big game against Dallas.

The conclusion to be absorbed by the Eagles is that Romo has done a much better job in reading coverages and he’s learning to take a sack rather than throw a risky pass that could be picked. Romo has made great progress this season— 29 TDs and 9 picks are not Aaron Rodgers numbers, but they’re pretty damn good.

I think a lot of it has to do with Romo trusting his offense more. The Dallas running game is solid. Garrett is now at the helm. Romo really has a command of Garrett’s offense. I think he doesn’t feel as much pressure to make it all happen in one play.

Romo has a really good feel of the offense and what he can do with the weapons he has.
Dallas’ screen game will help negate the Philly pass rush… and the belief of the Cowboys is that the Eagles’ LBs are not very good. Obviously, if that observation of the Dallas mindset is true, they haven’t paid enough attention to the improvement of the Eagles LB coverage over the past two games… Dallas wants to put Felix Jones in space, bubble screen to Miles, and run short screens to help out their OL. Dallas put these screen methods to good use vs. the Jets….and since then haven’t really gone to the screen game much all year.

But I see it coming against the Eagles on Saturday.

The choice is not always sack or interception. The QB can throw the ball away. I suspect the high number of sacks of Romo and Rodgers have has far more to do with suspect offensive lines rather than some deliberate choice to avoid a pick…A lot of Romo’s sacks are coming from his blind side thanks to Doug Free’s drop-off in play. If they can get that line fixed in the offseason by adding a quality center and flipping Free and Tyron Smith, Romo can take a lot less sacks…

But until then, the Dallas mantra seems to be: Take the sack, avoid the INT… So if you’re Juan Castillo, do you dial it back to more of a “contain” pass rush and hope Romo feels a false sense of security and puts the ball up for grabs?

Now it turns into a poker game: I’ll see your sack, and I’ll raise it by a non-interception possession…

Thomas Jackson

About Thomas Jackson

Jax Sports Media has been reporting on NFL teams in the mid-Atlantic region since 2006. Thomas Jackson is its senior writer. Tom started covering the Philadelphia Eagles for the MVN Network in 2007. In 2009 he joined the Bloguin Network. He now also covers the Baltimore Ravens.

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