IRVING, Texas – Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo refuted charges by former coach Jimmy Johnson that the team has a country club atmosphere, while also lending support to current coach Jason Garrett.
Johnson, in an interview on The Dan Patrick Show, said Cowboys players are not motivated by the fear of embarrassing their teammates or losing their jobs.
“Where is the fear in Dallas?” Johnson said. “There’s no fear in Dallas. It’s a country club where everybody is buddies.”
When asked about Johnson’s comments, Romo described a different atmosphere Thursday at the team’s Valley Ranch facility.
“All I can speak about is me, the grind and the way it weighs on you when you don’t win a football game is enormous,” Romo said. “The way you constantly evaluate and think about how to improve and get better and take the next step, it consumes your thoughts. That’s really what happens after a loss. I don’t know what anybody else feels or thinks.”
With his team a disappointing 3-5 and on a two-game losing streak, many of Romo’s comments during his weekly media session had a somber tone.
That included when Romo was asked about what Garrett brings to the team. Garrett’s job security has been in question with the Cowboys posting a losing record at the midway point. Speculation heated up last weekend when it was learned New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton, a former Cowboys assistant who still lives in the Dallas area, could be a free agent after the season.
“Jason’s done a phenomenal job of having this even approach,” Romo said. “It’s easy every week to rewrite the history of the NFL and how great or bad each team is — I think everyone does it.
“I think as a head coach you need that calming influence that allows you to know you’re not, you know, when they say you’re terrible, you’re not down there. And when they say you’re great you’re not up there. You have stuff to work on. If you just keep getting better and take it each day, you have your best chance of success.”
Romo’s serious tone reflected the Cowboys’ circumstances heading into Sunday’s game at NFC East rival Philadelphia. The loser of that game will likely be in dire straits in terms of contending for a playoff spot.
However, Romo echoed his coach’s comments that “desperation” is not the operative word for the Cowboys this week.
“We don’t use terms like that. I think for us, it’s obviously an important game. It’s definitely time for us to play our best football game,” Romo said. “We need to figure out a way to get a win and get things rolling.”
Dallas already has split games with the New York Giants, who lead the NFC East with a 6-3 record. The Cowboys have two games remaining against 3-5 Philadelphia and 3-6 Washington.
A loss to the Eagles on Sunday would give Dallas a losing record in the division with three more divisional games remaining. The Cowboys will be looking to avoid three straight losses overall as well as three straight losses to the Eagles.
“I just think that you have to play your best football game this weekend,” Romo said.
“Everyone understands the importance of this football game. It’s a point and a time where we need to go out and do what needs to be done.”