By Kevin Ross II
On Sunday against the Broncos, Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo once again crumpled like paper when the game mattered most. With under two minutes on the clock, Romo had a chance to shock the football world and hand Peyton Manning his first loss of the season. Instead, Romo decided to throw his rather patented crucial interception, and ruined what would have been a historically great performance.
All of the headlines have spoken about Romo’s inadequacies in the clutch, but football connoisseurs understand that one man cannot win or lose a football game. It’s important for those seeking to become students of the game, to take a step back and understand the difference between marketing ploys and real football.
If the NFL has borrowed anything from the NBA, it’s the concept that a league generates more revenue when fans can identify with star players. Subsequently, the NFL has created an illusion that the position of quarterback trumps all other positions on the field. The NFL wants the average fan to believe that the quarterback is the team leader, the team MVP, and the most skilled player on the field. However, for the average locker room, that notion couldn’t be further from the truth.
Going back and examining the Tony Romo interception, only a keen eye will be able to see that it was left tackle Tyron Smith who caused Dallas to lose that game, and not Tony Romo. If the media has its way, Romo will be the only Cowboy talked about because that is what generates viewership and money. But if you take a closer look at the play, you’ll notice that Tony Romo had his foot stepped on by his left tackle which caused him to lose his balance and throwing velocity. Although Romo threw the ball, it was the left tackle Tyron Smith who caused Dallas a chance at victory against Denver.
If the Washington Redskins want any shot at beating Dallas on Sunday Night Football, Brian Orakpo must dominate left tackle Tyron Smith and cause Romo to become uncomfortable in the pocket.
Brian Orakpo has told anyone who will listen that he’s ready for a breakout season, and that he definitely considers himself an elite pass rusher. So far, his talk has only been backed-up by more talk, and his play has been average. If Orakpo wants to reinvent himself now is the time to do so. If I know anything about Redskins nation it’s this: Getting down against Dallas will cover a multitude of sins. All of Orakpo’s struggles and failures will be swept under the rug and forgotten if he has a Von Miller-like performance against Dallas.
The Cowboys left tackle is their most valuable player on offense, and if the Redskins are able to win that matchup, winning the game will follow. Brian Orakpo vs. Tryon Smith will determine everything on Sunday Night Football.
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Kevin Ross is a freelance writer covering all things Washington Redskins. His work can be found on Examiner.com.