IRVING, Texas -- More than most head coaches across the NFL, the Dallas Cowboys' Jason Garrett understands what it's like to play quarterback in the league.
As he watched Tony Romo's scrambling, slipping, sliding 25-yard completion to Miles Austin in the third quarter Sunday at Philadelphia that helped lead to a game-tying touchdown, Garrett, the ex-quarterback, could only shake his head.
"Just having played the position, I know what a melee that whole thing feels like," Garrett said. "These guys are all around you like, 'Where the hell am I?' You feel like you're going the wrong way. He just has this great poise about him as an athlete where he can kind of feel what the heck's going on, and keeps his eyes up and sees what's going on down the field. It's pretty unique."
Garrett, the coach, saw something else that made him happy. As Romo slid under defensive end Fletcher Cox, Garrett saw Romo with two hands on the football. As Romo slipped through Jason Babin and Cullen Jenkins, Garrett saw those hands stay on the football.
All the while, Romo's eyes stayed downfield.
"We harp on it a lot with him," Garrett said. "You do it with every quarterback, but when a guy moves as much as he does in the pocket, the thing that naturally happens is your hands break [and the ball separates from the body]. Now that ball is out there for guys who are such great athletes to knock it out of your hands. He's had a ton of those plays and he's worked very hard to, in all of his movement, the ball is up here, in his cylinder. It's protected with two hands."
That play was a signature Romo moment, one Garrett called "one of the top five since I've been around him."
It also showed the delicate balance Garrett has to have when coaching Romo. What happened is not coachable. Coaches like to say every play is designed to score, but poor execution and the opposition turn design into mayhem.
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