Sapp: Defense hasn't helped Romo

Sapp: Defense hasn't helped Romo

Published Aug. 13, 2012 5:00 p.m. ET

Former seven-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Warren Sapp has taken his fair share of shots at Tony Romo over the last couple of years. As an analyst on the NFL Network, Sapp has used that platform to be critical of the Cowboys quarterback.

But recently, he actually backed the 32-year-old franchise quarterback, choosing to blame last season's .500 record on the Cowboys' defense.

"Tony Romo is a more than capable quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys," Sapp said on the NFL Network's NFL Total Access show. "That defense just has to step up and give him some help."

Sapp even agreed that Romo is one of the most underrated quarterbacks in the league.

Somewhat of a surprising response considering Sapp said on the same show last September that Romo "is not made for the big stage."

Two months before that, Sapp said: "I don't think [Romo] has the potential to raise his game. We're talking about a guy that's from Eastern Illinois, and when you look at the young man, undrafted in this league and then he had 17 starts before they gave him a 6-year, $67 million contract. When you look at this contract, from '07 until now we're in '10, they really haven't got a lot of return for their money that they gave an undrafted guy in this league."

Romo responded to Sapp's comments in September by saying, "Criticism comes with playing this position. Warren has some, obviously, skins on the wall so he's able to say different things. And you have to accept that."

So what is Sapp's thoughts on the Cowboys' defense that struggled in 2011?

"In the new NFL, your defense gives you a chance and your offense has to win it for you," Sapp said.

He then stated that last season the Cowboys were 16th in scoring defense, 19th in red zone defense, 22nd on third downs and 23rd in passing defense.

Sapp concluded: "With these numbers right here, you're not giving that offense a chance to go out and win football games for you."

Follow Jon Machota on Twitter: @jonmachota