DENVER - OCTOBER 04: Quarterback Tony Romo #9 of the Dallas Cowboys is hit by Robert Ayers #56 of the Denver Broncos during NFL action at Invesco Field at Mile High on October 4, 2009 in Denver, Colorado. The Broncos defeated the Cowboys 17-10. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
One of the increasingly prominent of the myriad theories concerning Tony Romo's struggles of late is that an emphasis on ball control (read: not throwing interceptions or fumbling) has effectively handcuffed Romo on the field; that is, the 29 year-old is no longer free to create with his arm, an ability that is widely considered one of Romo's greatest upsides.
This even-keeled, unremarkable style of quarterbacking has been seen in each of the two weeks since Romo's three-interception performance against New York, which has caused some fans and writers to wonder if he has been coached out of dynamism; the idea has what could be conceived as video evidence (see: weeks three and four).
But this is not the case, says Wade Phillips.
"We're not trying to change him," Phillips said in Thursday's Dallas Morning News. "Sure he could [be playing too carefully] but I don't think he's doing that. He's working through it and we're working through it. He's not playing terrible but we've got to get him playing on top and one of the top guys in the league which he is."
Phillips pretty much hit the nail on the head in stating that Romo wasn't "playing terrible," or "playing on top;" and therein lies a potential problem. That Romo as a gunslinger is better than Romo as a bus driver seems fairly incontrovertible when one looks at the tapes from past seasons (there are, of course, five or so exceptions to this rule) compared to tapes of the last two games.
The best case scenario would be a sort of middle ground between the two, but asking for the "best case scenario" at this point is a stretch; something, anything better than last week will do. Call it progress.
None the less, the coaching staff believes the old Romo will return, at least in some (hopefully less interception-prone) capacity.
"Tony's fine," Phillips continued. "He's going to do well because he works so hard at what he does. He's a talented guy that cares. I think he'll do better and better."