Tony Romo is an elite quarterback

January, 5, 2011
1/05/11
10:30
AM ET
There seems to be this running debate regarding Tony Romo's ability to lead a team or whether he's an elite quarterback.

ESPN's John Clayton ranked all the quarterbacks in the league and said Romo is among the Top 10 in the game.

Here's what Clayton said of Romo: "A broken left clavicle in late October separated him from an underachieving Cowboys team and turned this season into a mulligan. He still has 4,000-yard ability and a lot of weapons returning next year."

The biggest complaint about Romo is his ability to become a leader, but he improved in that area this year. He was compared to Jon Kitna a lot in terms of leadership, but they lead in two different ways.

Kitna is more outgoing than Romo, at least in public. Romo is a friendly guy but at times can be a little aloof. There's nothing wrong with that, but he can be a little more outgoing and there's a belief that he is, just in private moments with his teammates.

One of the best things we heard from Romo is if the league has a lockout he wants to gather his teammates together and work out to bond.

On the field, Romo had one of his best games vs. the Houston Texans when he completed 23 of 30 passes for 284 yards and two touchdowns. After that game he threw six touchdowns and five interceptions the next two games, both losses.

Romo is coming off a season where he completed 69.5 percent of his passes and threw 11 touchdowns and seven interceptions in six games. His team was headed in a downward spiral when he got hurt and once the coaching change occurred, Kitna performed well.

The Cowboys missed the play of Romo down the stretch and most likely will need the quarterback who threw for 4,483 yards in 2009. It will need the guy who cut down on his interceptions, when he was picked off just nine games in 2009.

Romo was a playmaker in 2009 but wasn't in 2010. To continue that upward climb among the elite quarterbacks, Romo has to play better next season. He will have better playmakers in Dez Bryant, Miles Austin and Felix Jones to go along with old reliable Jason Witten.

If John Phillips recovers in time from ACL surgery, he adds to the offense along with Martellus Bennett. The Cowboys have the weapons in place to help Romo move up the ranks among elite quarterbacks. He already has the playoff win, now he needs to get his team moving forward in the postseason.
Calvin Watkins joined ESPNDallas.com in September 2009. He's covered the Cowboys since 2006 and also has covered colleges, boxing and high school sports.

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