SAN ANTONIO – The back-shoulder throw on a fade route in the end zone is one of the most beautiful plays in football.
It was also a focus of Tony Romo’s offseason work, which made his strike to Roy Williams during red-zone drills Tuesday morning especially significant.
Romo recognizes the need to be more efficient in the red zone after ranking near the bottom of the league’s starting quarterback in red-zone passer rating last season. He realizes that the size of his wide receivers should give the Cowboys an advantage in the tighter space constraints inside the 20, which should make the back-shoulder throw a big weapon.
“If you watch film and tape over the years, you get a sense for what we could do, or what’s hurt us, or what are we not doing really well,” Romo said. “What coverages or what type of defenses give us the most trouble, I guess you would say. … But that back-shoulder throw can hurt a lot of defenses. They want to come after you. They want to get up in your face.”
But that back-shoulder throw isn’t easy to execute. It requires the quarterback and receiver to simultaneously make the same read to break off a route designed to be a jump ball in the back corner of the end zone.
Romo and Williams pulled it off perfectly against Pro Bowl cornerback Mike Jenkins. With a refreshed right arm, Romo fired a laser beam behind Williams. With hands apparently no longer ailing from a drastic case of the dropsies, Williams caught the ball cleanly after adjusting at the last split-second. Jenkins, who was playing press coverage, didn’t see the ball until it was in Williams’ mitts.
That play is a work in progress. It was incomplete when Romo and Williams tried it again during the afternoon practice.
But if they can beat Jenkins with it, the rest of the corners on the Cowboys’ schedule better beware of the back-shoulder throw.