Every week, the experts of "FOX NFL Sunday" reveal their observations and opinions as they prepare for football’s top-rated pregame telecast — seen each Sunday at noon ET/9 a.m. PT. We’ll share some of the highlights from Curt, Terry, Howie, Jimmy and Michael grabbed from their weekly conference call with insider John Czarnecki.
This week, Czar probes the "FOX NFL Sunday" crew on the Tony Romo, the Cowboys’ loss to the Jets and Cam Newton.
Czar: What has Sunday night’s loss done to the Cowboys? Does that stick in their heads?
Jimmy Johnson: It has been brutal in Dallas on Tony Romo this week.
Michael Strahan: I believe there is a chance that it sticks in their heads, has them saying, ‘Oh, here we go again. Can we ever win the big game?’
JJ: When you look at all the statistics, I think Tony has been fine in the fourth quarter. But he hasn’t won a Super Bowl so fans are looking at that botched field-goal snap in the Seattle game and the interception in the Giants’ playoff game when they were 13-3 that season and got bounced from the playoffs. Let’s be real, NFL quarterbacks tend to be defined by those types of games. Statistically, he is fine. But his nonchalant attitude does bother some Dallas fans because they are not accustomed to that. Troy Aikman and Roger Staubach weren’t like that.
Czar: But he did take full blame for the loss.
JJ: Yes, he was a stand-up guy and admitted he screwed it up. The whole thing is that there is no fear with Tony about turning the ball over. There’s a lot to like about his free-wheeling style and some of that is caused because he does have two rookie offensive linemen in front of him. He often has to improvise because he’s running from a pass rush.
MS: There has to be some uncertainty, though, now in the locker room.
Terry Bradshaw: I know what Michael is thinking. That when the Cowboys come to a big game, will Tony mess it up again? What I say is that Tony has got to have a mindset inside the 20-yard line that he must protect the ball at all times. Now, I agree that does hurt a quarterback in the passing game because it means taking one look and either throwing the ball away or running ahead and falling down. But he has to understand that everything happens really fast in the red zone and there may be times he can’t go through all his reads. And on that interception at the end, people are saying he was under a lot of pressure. There was no pressure there. He was outside the pocket. He could have just run or thrown the ball out of bounds. I’ve heard that he wanted to throw to the back shoulder of Dez Bryant, who really had a step on Darrelle Revis. Well, the receiver didn’t mess up. He should have never thrown that pass. I still don’t know what made him throw that ball.
JJ: There had to be some miscommunication between Tony and Dez, plus Dez wasn’t running full speed anyway because he had been cramping up.
MS: So why was he even in the game?
JJ: Because he is their big hope as a receiver.
MS: Let me say this, Darrelle Revis is difficult to beat when you are 100 percent.
JJ: Jason Garrett has messed up these things before. We never had these problems with Troy because when we had a lead in the fourth quarter we were running the ball and taking three-step drops.
MS: I know how you played. I was on the other end of that. You were always pretty conservative with a lead and it was almost impossible to generate turnovers against you.
JJ: But as far as the team itself is concerned, this is kind of like how this team started last year. They thought they were really going to be good and early in the season they had that bad screen pass where they fumbled the ball and Washington ran it back for a touchdown and they lost that game.
Howie Long: You have to wonder psychologically where Tony’s head at right now. Now, I did admire his effort at the goal line, but you never want to be position to turn the ball over down there.
Curt Menefee: People have said they were so undisciplined under Wade Phillips and that it’s going to be much better under Jason, but we all have to remember it is the same team, the same players. Don’t you have to wonder whether it’s the players?
HL: Now, we’ve put a lot of this on Tony Romo but if a receiver is not on the same page in Green Bay, or not on the same page with Tom Brady in New England, or with Drew Brees in New Orleans, where are they? They are on the bench. Sometimes, it seems like the only receiver he can really count on is Jason Witten.
JJ: Yes, Wade is gone, but pretty much except for Rob Ryan this is the same coaching staff. Jason has made a couple changes, but it’s mostly the same staff that Wade had.
TB: Here is the bigger picture for the Cowboys. They went up to New York, in a game I bet most people thought they would lose. Instead, they had this game under control. This is a huge game; the Jets were heavily favored, one of the top teams in the AFC and their coach, Rex Ryan, is always talking about going to the Super Bowl. And, then, lo and behold, they have this game won. Now you lose it and all you’re talking about is the way you lost it, gave it away. Now, they are going to San Francisco this week and now there’s even more pressure on Tony and his teammates because they are all saying, ‘We can’t afford to lose this one. We can’t start 0-2.’ But they very well likely could lose to the 49ers. That’s why the Jets’ game was so huge for the Cowboys. Had they held on and won it would have been such a confidence booster for their entire season.
HL: Terry’s right because the Cowboys looked really good against the Jets.
JJ: Yes, but for three quarters!
Czar: Terry, what do you think of Cam Newton’s performance last Sunday after saying you wouldn’t have drafted him No. 1?
TB: Well, I got mud on my face. I’m a big boy. But it’s only one game now. He played lights out, but I wasn’t the only person concerned about his throwing mechanics and the style of offense he played at Auburn. Tim Tebow played in the same kind of spread offense and he’s still sitting in the NFL.
Czar: After one week, the NFC North looks better than the NFC South. Can we tell which one will really be the better division?
JJ: I think the Bears will have a tough time in New Orleans on Sunday and that might even it up a little bit. I think New Orleans bounces back big because they are at home against the Bears, who did surprise me last week with how they controlled Atlanta.
TB: I know that Brian Urlacher’s mother just passed away on Monday. I know you have to have time to grieve, but sometimes it’s better to get back on the horse. I have to think he will play.
JJ: The Packers play at Carolina and Tampa Bay is at Minnesota. Green Bay should win.
TB: Donovan McNabb had a bad game last Sunday and maybe he bounces back at home.