NFC East Top 20: No. 7 Tony Romo
Romo may be the ultimate example of a player whose reputation fails to jibe with reality. His inability to elevate the Dallas Cowboys to Super Bowl contenders during his time as their starting quarterback has come to define him. Critics ignore the facts of poor offensive line play and substandard defense and blame Romo for failing to win more than one playoff game to this point. Games such as last year's in which Romo helped blow second-half leads with interceptions against the Jets and the Lions don't help.
But the easy criticisms and unfair reputation obscure the reality that Romo performs pretty consistently as one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. His career passer rating of 96.9 ranks among the greatest quarterbacks in league history. Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers and Peyton Manning are the only active quarterbacks with a higher career completion percentage. His career fourth-quarter numbers are excellent. And for all of the talk about interceptions, Romo only threw 10 of them last year against 31 touchdowns. His career TD/INT rate is 2.07 to 1.
Romo deserves to have a lot of the same things said about him that are said about quarterbacks with better reputations. He moves well in the pocket. He keeps plays alive, makes something out of nothing. He has shown an ability to overcome poor line play and a revolving door at running back and still deliver top-level production. He has shown an ability to help make receivers better. He deserves to be ranked among the current greats at his position and, obviously, among the best players in the NFC East. And if he ever does find a way to lead the Cowboys to a championship, the reputation might finally match up with the reality.
Rankings so far:
8. Justin Tuck, DE, Giants
9. Jason Babin, DE, Eagles
10. Victor Cruz, WR, Giants
11. London Fletcher, LB, Redskins
12. Michael Vick, QB, Eagles
13. Tyron Smith, T, Cowboys
14. Brian Orakpo, LB, Redskins
15. Jason Witten, TE, Cowboys
16. Dez Bryant, WR, Cowboys
17. DeSean Jackson, WR, Eagles
18. Osi Umenyiora, DE, Giants
19. Evan Mathis, G, Eagles
20. Ahmad Bradshaw, RB, Giants
103.3 FM ESPN PODCASTS
Play Podcast Todd Archer joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss the latest Tony Romo news and what he will be watching for in OTAs.
Play Podcast Nate Newton joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss his comments on how Jason Garrett should handle being on the hot seat and not let Jerry Jones get in the way.
Play Podcast Cowboys safety Barry Church joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss the new defensive scheme and the impact it will have on him, how much more intense he expects practice to be with Monte Kiffin and his expectations.
Play Podcast ESPN Insider Ed Werder joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss the latest Cowboys news, including Jason Garrett downplaying Tony Romo's involvement in offensive planning and play calling.
Play Podcast John Lynch joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss playing for Monte Kiffin and Rod Marinelli, why Cowboys fans should be excited about the new defensive staff, why Valley Ranch will no longer resemble a country club and his thoughts on the Cowboys' roster.
Play Podcast Herm Edwards joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss the latest Cowboys news and give his take on what new face will make the biggest impact for Dallas.
Play Podcast Nate Newton joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss what he saw at the Cowboys' rookie minicamp and how he helped Rod Marinelli on the defensive side of the ball.
Play Podcast Todd Archer joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss what he took away from the Dallas Cowboys' rookie minicamp.