Predictably Romo: Welcome Home, Tony

Welcome to our now weekly rendition of “Predictably Romo” column, dedicated to the clairvoyance, excitement, and raw analytical abilities of the best thing to happen to the NFL since the read option.  Great expectation awaited Romo’s return to Dallas for their contest and Chiefs, and the Dallas faithful did not disappointed by declaring it Tony Romo day with all the appropriate fanfare.

And with Romo just one season removed from holding a clipboard behind Dak Prescott, we were all expecting his now famous “prediction” skills to be on full display.  But those expectations were sorely disappointed, as Romo ventured very few predictions, and even went so far as to hedge when he was tempted to do so.  Perhaps he was self-conscious about being accused of inside information with his former team. At any rate, we at TFG hope this was only a one week phenomenon—or we’re not going to have much of a column to write!

However, what Romo lacked in predictions, he more than made up for in schematic analysis, with a few certain themes such as outside leverage and man vs. zone coming through repeatedly.  Romo also channeled his inner Gruden, heaping a healthy dose of positivity upon his former team.

As always, we make an effort to group our Romoisms into categories. Like the analyst himself, this is more art than science.  Enjoy!

Un-predictable Tony

On a crucial fourth and eight, “Dallas is gonna play aggressive….or soft, we’ll see.” (Smith threw a pick; suffice to say, they played aggressive.)

“Usually inside the 20 yard line, he likes to hand it off. He trusts his offense, but not inside the 20, normally.  We’ll see in this case if he changes.” (He did.)

On a first down measurement, as the chains are being stretched, “I’m saying he’s got it.” (first down by an inch, but not much of a prediction.) Nantz; “How did you know?” Romo, “just a rare, rare quality to see it and call it at the same time.”

Outside Leverage Tony

On the Chiefs defense, “When Beasley motions over, they’re gonna play 1 one.  Everyone plays outside leverage on Beasely because they love to throw to him in short yardage.”

On the Cowboys defense, “Outside leverage right now. You’re gonna make him go inside with help from what we a ‘rat’ player.”

Back to the Chiefs, “The key is to play outside leverage on Beaseley and Witten, force him them inside, and have your safety play deep in the middle”

And back to the Cowboys, on their interception effectively ending the game, “Now watch this, outside leverage right here.  The guy who has come in and help is a rat player, a funnel player, a helper basically.  And that’s why the Dallas Cowboys are playing good defensive football.  They know where their help is.”

Man v. Zone Tony

On the Cowboys zone vs. man defense choices, “You saw the motion guy, right, run behind him. Well if you’re in man to man coverage someone has to sprint across the field with the motion guy, so they present a lot of problem to man teams because guys are running left, right, and they’re all fast, and you kinda get discombobulated.  When you play zone, everyone just kinda stands in their area, and they’re like you can motion, we’re standing here, we’ll still watching you.  But then they can gash you in the run because that guy has to play soft, he can’t get beat behind him in the zone either.”

After a long Chiefs run, “That’s the only issue I see is Dallas wants to play man to man, but if they do, they’re an explosive bunch they’re going against.”

During a Chiefs two-minute drill, “You want to attack that area until they get a little antsy and call man, and then you go outside.”

Motivational Tony 

On Jason Garrett, “He believes in motivating. He wants to come in each day and have something for you to motivate you.  Some guys believe in hey, I need to find guys who are motivated, and others who are like my job is to motivate this team. So it’s different philosophies for different people.” (I’m guessing Wade Phillips is over the other philosophy.)

Hill Mary Tony

After the Tyreek Hill touchdown, “On my gosh, I’ve never seen that in my entire time in football, and I promise you Jason Garrett hasn’t either.”

“Those two play calls, that’s coaching.”

On the newly coined “Hill May” terms (by the Chiefs). “The Chiefs are the cheesy ones. I tell you what, we’re not immune to it, I like it.” (So did Nantz.)

Parenting Tony 

“This is a big boy game, and both of these offense are starting to bring it in the second half.”

On his son Jones, “He loves ceiling fans. He’s really fascinated.”

BBQ Loving Tony

“My producer pretty much ate all that food you just saw. Jim Ricker, for anybody who wants to hire a food eater.”

Clock Management Tony

During a Chiefs drive, down two scores, “Now this clock will stop, you see it’s 6:45, but it will actually start when they spot the ball.” (A very mundane observation, but one no other analyst would make.)

Objective Tony . . .

“My producer and you guys all week you’re like, hey, it’s not “We” this week, it’s just a game.  The colors, obviously, you love playing for your team, but, you know, I play it straight down the middle, and it’s enjoyable to watch the game and just call what’s happening on the field.”

. . . Except for Sean Lee Tony

On Sean Lee, “To me, this is the more underrated player in the National Football League…This guy sniffs stuff out, we used to have long conversations about offensive and defensive football, this guy sniffs stuff out, it’s off the charts his football acumen.

“Sean tries to kick him just a little bit. He’s not averse to getting the job done any way he can. He’s not Bruce Lee, that’s Sean Lee. That was cheesy, but I’m still using it.” Nantz: “I liked it.”

“He is the eraser of this defense. He makes them a good defense almost singlehandedly sometime.”

Positively Tony

On Demarcus Lawrence,“He knows when to level off at the quarterback. See you watch, you’re gonna run up the field.  They call that leveling off, you don’t want to run around the quarterback.  That’s the worst spot, you’re nowhere near him.”

“The Cowboys run block, it’s pretty unique.  They really work together so well.  These guys have averaged two hundred yards rushing the last two years. It’s almost like high school stats.”

“You can attack Dallas in their secondary, but their front seven is slow becoming one of the best in football.”

“How about Witten coming up with that catch? That’s through someone’s hand right there.”