For Romo, fine line means fewer turnovers

IRVING, Texas – When it comes to cutting down his turnovers, it’s a matter of time for Tony Romo.

At this point in his career, it really doesn’t have much to do with the maturation process for the 33-year-old Romo. He’s had seasons in which he limited his picks and still made a lot of plays.

As far as Romo is concerned, the key is the time he is afforded to sit in the pocket.

After tying for the league lead with 19 interceptions last season, Romo renewed his vow to make protecting the ball a priority. He’s followed that up throwing only one pick in the first few games and points to improved protection as the primary reason for his safer decision-making.

“You’re not throwing as many balls under duress in a football game,” Romo said. “That’s an important aspect for a quarterback. You’ve seen some other teams across the league go through that a little bit with some pretty good quarterbacks who just have that half-a-second less time to make their decisions.”

Romo didn’t mention any names, but it doesn’t take a genius to figure out which quarterback he had in mind. Just look who has thrown the most picks this season.

That’s two-time Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning, whose eight interceptions lead the league by two through three games. Not coincidentally, the Giants have allowed 11 sacks, matching the Philadelphia Eagles for the most in the NFC.

Meanwhile, Romo’s lone pick was the result of a mental mistake by a rookie receiver. He’s as comfortable in the pocket behind the Cowboys’ remodeled offensive line as he’s been in years and made a point to mention that he has the luxury to get through all his reads without having to rush.

“The ability to not necessarily get through them as fast as I would have to previously, I can see the difference sometimes in that,” said Romo, who has been sacked six times this season. “It’s been a little bit, not having to make as many decisions under duress and trying to move the football under those circumstances. The best teams in the league, the teams that go on and give themselves a chance later in the year, they have quarterbacks who are able to get through progressions at a normal speed.”

Those quarterbacks have a fighting chance to follow through on promises to cut down on their picks.