Nov 10, 2013; New Orleans, LA, USA; Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo (9) walks to the locker room following their 49-17 loss to the New Orleans Saints at Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports
There was a lot to take in on the landscape of the NFL after week 10. One thing was certain. A lot is going on with the current quarterback situations.
Tony Romo is still coming up small in big games
The Dallas Cowboys defense is setting records for futility but their atrocious play in 2013 is just another mask for how inadequate Tony Romo is under the lights. Beating bad defenses and winning some regular season games is a nice way to pad stats, but once again when his team needed an answer against a clearly powerful foe, Romo wilted. He finished the night with 128 passing yards and a touchdown. It wasn’t all his fault but as the quarterback he can’t keep hiding behind the problems of his team. Dallas paid him a lot of money to be their answer for a Super Bowl title. He still isn’t showing anything new.
The Carolina Panthers defense is the best in the league
Ron Rivera has coached great defenses in the past, but one can safely say his latest version with the Carolina Panthers is turning out to be a doozy. They rank 5th against the pass and 2nd against the run. That dominance was on display in San Francisco where they shut down a 49ers team that had reeled off five straight wins. Colin Kaepernick finished with 46 yards passing and the hard running of Frank Gore could only help them muster nine points. Carolina can ride this excellent unit to a playoff birth. Whether Cam Newton and an offense that managed just 10 points to win can get them further than that is a good question.
Jay Cutler is tough but he hasn’t made headway for new contract
Working his way back early from a groin injury and fighting off a high ankle sprain to stay in a game takes either guts or lunacy. Or both. Jay Cutler erased doubts about his toughness a long time ago but as far as good luck goes, he’s still in woefully short supply. After such a promising start to the season that saw him setting career highs in passer rating and completion percentage, Cutler has hit a tough roadblock in his quest for a new long-term contract from the Chicago Bears. Not only is he hurt, but backup Josh McCown has shown the offense can be run quite well without him. That could spell bad news when the 2014 NFL draft rolls around.
J.J. Watt will win Defensive Player of the Year again
There have been multiple occasions where a player has won the MVP award twice in a row. However, only once in recorded history has somebody won Defensive Player of the Year back-to-back. That was Lawrence Taylor in 1981 and 1982. Those are colossal tracks to follow. It seems J.J. Watt isn’t afraid of that shadow. Despite the ongoing struggles of his team to win games, the superstar defensive end continues to showcase his amazing array of abilities. His 6.5 sacks don’t tell the whole story. He has been a nightmare to block all season, also collecting four pass deflections and forcing three fumbles. There is only so much one man can do, and Watt is doing all that and more.
The Green Bay Packers really are a one-man team
For the longest time people have celebrated how unconquerable of a team the Green Bay Packers are, lauding their depth and ability to adapt. It seems there was a reason they were so good at it. His name is Aaron Rodgers. The one constant among all the injury turmoil dating back to their 2010 championship was the MVP quarterback. Suddenly, with him gone thanks to a broken collarbone, the Packers seem far more vulnerable than anybody expected. Their defense has given up 27 points two weeks in a row and the offense isn’t the same without Rodgers. Are they truly a one-man team? It sure seems that way.