Am I Screwed? Volume One

In the first edition of Am I Screwed?, I will investigate the 2008 fantasy fortunes of Tony Romo, or Ms. Jessica Simpson. Tony Romo is my starting quarterback in Zealots 34. During the offseason I traded Jake Delhomme to obtain one quarter of the Tampa Bay Bucs mess.

The first question is whether Romo can weather the departure of Terrell Owens. T.O. will play for his fourth team this fall. How did his starting QBs do after he left? Jeff Garcia started 13 games in 2003, Owens’s last in San Francisco. Owens caught half of Garcia’s 18 touchdown passes. Garcia signed with Cleveland in 2004, so it’s safe to call that a fail. By the time Garcia signed with Philadelphia, Owens had moved on.

Donovan McNabb is by far the best quarterback to play with Owens, although all three main starters in Owens’ career have been Pro Bowlers. McNabb only started nine games in 2005. This also was the year that featured Owens being suspended by the team, leading to his signing with Dallas in the offseason. McNabb had a good 2006, although he missed six games with another injury.

Romo’s first full season as a starter was 2007. He threw for 36 touchdown passes, and Owens caught 15 of them. 2008 was less successful for both. Romo missed three games but still threw 26 touchdowns. Owens caught ten, and was clearly the top receiver.

Sadly, the past doesn’t give us much information in this case. Romo struggled as the Cowboys worked their way out of playoff contention. He had three of his four worst games as Dallas finished December 1-3.

Roy Williams was a disaster in 2007, but he was a mid-season acquisition and the team’s third target at best with Owens and Jason Witten on the field. Lesser players such as Patrick Crayton and Miles Austin have to step up.

In 39 starts, Romo has 83 touchdowns (including rushing touchdowns). That’s a ratio I can live with. He’s the NFL active leader in yards per attempt. He throws more interceptions than you’d like to see. Still, I like him over Jay Cutler and his iffy receivers, and Donovan McNabb and his inconsistent health.

In this case, I vote “not screwed”. Sadly, there are other positions on the team where the verdict will be otherwise.

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