Romo sends refs an early message

October, 4, 2013
10/04/13
8:00
AM ET
IRVING, Texas – Tony Romo has learned many things since becoming the Dallas Cowboys’ starting quarterback, and using the media to send a message to the game officials is one of them.

Speaking on a conference call with Denver media on Wednesday, Romo talked about the aggressiveness of the Broncos’ secondary.

[+] EnlargeTony Carter
AP Photo/Joe MahoneyThe Cowboys are plenty aware of the tight coverage that Tony Carter and the Denver secondary apply.
“I think this is as fast a back seven as I've seen in some time,” Romo said. “They play very good in tight spaces. They do a great job with their hands. They grab. They hold. They almost put a lot of pressure on the refs, whether or not they're going to call the game close or not. If they get called once or twice, that's a good thing. But they're all over guys as far as using the little tricks, I guess you could say, that good linebackers and good secondary use when they're playing man coverage. They haven't been exposed with a lot of penalties.”

The Broncos might beg to differ. They have been flagged for defensive pass interference five times (Tony Carter has three), defensive holding three times (Carter has two) and one illegal contact (Duke Ihenacho).

But the opposition has had to throw plenty against Denver because of how well the Broncos offense has played.

Cowboys coach Jason Garrett would not say whether he would speak to the officials before the game to serve a reminder, but he acknowledged the aggressiveness, too.

“Well, it’s their style of play,” Garrett said. “They play a lot of man-to-man coverage and they are aggressive with it. They do have their hands on the receivers a lot and that’s just the way they want to play. They want to disrupt the rhythm of the opposing passing offense by rerouting those guys and staying with them and not giving them clean releases. In some games they’ve gotten called at different times because of their aggressive style. You know, you can’t have your hands on these guys after 5 yards. That’s a rule that we all know. In some games, the officials have been more aggressive calling that, and in other games they let them play. That’s really the nature of every game every week. You’ve got to figure out how the officials are calling the game and play accordingly.”

Garrett is more concerned that his receivers, backs and tight ends don’t get affected by the tactics.

“The biggest thing from our standpoint is not to get caught up in being officials,” Garrett said “As players and coaches, we need to play and coach and let the officials officiate the game.”

Terry McAulay's crew is working the game. In their three games the crew has thrown six flags for pass interference (five accepted) and three flags for defensive holding.

Todd Archer

ESPN Dallas Cowboys reporter

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