Does Tony Romo hold the ball too long?

May, 20, 2013
5/20/13
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There was this interesting story regarding Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick recently.

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Vick has taken exception from the notion that he doesn't read defenses well and that he holds the ball too long, which leads to sacks and poor decisions. Vick was sacked 28 times last year, 22 times in losses.

After reading this, it got me to thinking about Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo. He was sacked 36 times in 2012. It's easy to blame the offensive line on the sacks, but sometimes you wonder what Romo is doing with the football.

Yes, it's good to see Romo move from pressure to extend plays. When he does this the receivers have to find open spots on the field to receive a pass. Laurent Robinson was so good at this in 2011 that Romo found him 54 times for 858 yards and a team-leading 11 touchdowns. All of these throws weren't on the run, but Robinson was able to leave defenders to get free.

It's interesting to see if Romo missed Robinson last season when under duress. Maybe Romo could have curtailed on some of the sacks if he knew when moving out of the pocket there was a receiver who understood about getting to open spots on the field. Outside of Miles Austin and Dez Bryant, the Cowboys receiving corps was pretty inexperienced.

A quarterback is supposed to get rid of the ball in about two seconds. Is that a lot of time? Depends on what's happening. There were times when Romo held the ball for about four to five seconds as he scrambled out of the pocket. Sometimes he held the ball for two seconds and still got sacked. Is that Romo's fault? The offensive line's? Receivers? Running backs?

It's hard to say.

The bottom line is Romo has to protect the ball better in 2013 or the 36 sacks the team allowed in 2012 will go up in 2013.
Calvin Watkins joined ESPNDallas.com in September 2009. He's covered the Cowboys since 2006 and also has covered colleges, boxing and high school sports.

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