Tony Romo has improved as a leader

This morning, Tim MacMahon wrote a columnabout what Tony Romo can learn from Jon Kitna in terms of being a leader from the quarterback position.

Leadership, an area in which Romo has improved, is defined and presented in different ways.

When the Cowboys fell to 1-3 on the season, we talked about Romo's leadership role, one that was questioned by former NFL coach Tony Dungy.

You will see Romo get on his teammates for mistakes. When left tackle Doug Free missed a block leading to a tipped pass that was intercepted in a loss to the Vikings, Romo gave Free a look that would kill.

Kitna leads differently. He yells at his teammates, and he also speaks to them in private. A 14-year career and being secure in who he is gives Kitna the confidence he needs to lead a team.

Romo won't scream at guys in the same manner, but he will let his feeling be known in private. Miles Austin said Romo gets on guys during offensive meetings if they make mistakes, and he even owns up to his own issues.

Romo would seemingly rather not do his critique of his teammates in front of the media.

"Behind closed doors is when you really lead," Romo said back in October. "A guy who does it for show is doing it for show. For me it's about talking, telling and stressing the importance. This is the time when it needs to be said. [I'm not going] to demean guys. We're all in the same thing together."

Now this is not to say Romo has been doing this from Day 1. He had to learn how to lead because he was trying to get better as a quarterback on and off the field. He had to go from an unknown quarterback to what Bill Parcells called a celebrity quarterback. Romo turned into a celebrity, not by choice, but by circumstance.

Romo kept quiet when Terrell Owens was ranting and raving during the 2008 season. Romo probably felt he couldn't control the situation. He should have said something, but didn't feel he had enough skins on the wall to tell Owens to shut up.

Over time, Romo moved into a role in which he might tell a guy to be quiet and listen. But as we've said, he won't do it in public.

Earlier this week, the Giants' Eli Manning gathered the team together for a brief meeting that apparently earned him praise. When the Cowboys were going through the 1-7 stretch Terence Newman called for a team meeting in which Romo spoke.

Did the meeting help?

Not really, but it was veteran players trying to solve the problems of a bad season.

Romo was trying to be part of the solution.

So before you think Romo isn't much of a leader, he is ... just in a different way.