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Why Romo, Newton most polarizing QBs among NFL evaluators

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Dallas Cowboy panic? Or in Dak we trust? (1:39)

Britt McHenry, Merril Hoge and Darren Woodson break down Tony Romo's injury situation and what Romo means to the Cowboy's organization. (1:39)

Many who have followed Tony Romo closely will tell you the Dallas Cowboys' quarterback gets a bad rap. They'll say his reputation for making the killer mistake is outdated and overblown. They have a point, but only to a point.

As Romo recovers from his latest injury, I keep flashing back to what a veteran coach said several weeks ago as we watched video of the plays that left the Cowboys' QB with serious injuries in previous seasons. The coach kept imploring Romo to get rid of the football as these plays unfolded on the video monitor. Just throw it, Tony!

Coaches agree that Romo is exceptionally savvy and resourceful, but they also know he has a hard time giving up on plays, and that leads to mistakes and injuries that hurt his team. It's why Romo was going to headline this column about the most debated quarterbacks from my 2016 QB Tiers survey, even before his latest mishap. Although a few QBs such as Jay Cutler and Eli Manning generated multiple votes across more than two tiers, the arguments surrounding Romo and Cam Newton were fresher and more compelling. We break those out here, supplemented with the harshest criticisms and highest praise heaped upon the two QBs from some of the 42 league insiders surveyed for the project.

Debating Romo

2016 Tiers standing: 11th with a 2.17 average. Romo got one first-tier vote, 34 second-tier votes and seven third-tier votes.

Harshest criticisms: A QB coach said Romo plays every play as though the Cowboys are down six points in the final two minutes with no timeouts remaining, a mindset that puts Dallas in difficult situations. This coach cited as a prime example the way Romo played while tossing two pick-sixes in the first half of a Thanksgiving Day defeat to Carolina last season.