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Romo comes to Garrett's defense on play-calling vs. Patriots

  • By Dan Hanzus NFL.com
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Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo dropped his nice-guy demeanor Thursday when the subject turned to coach Jason Garrett's play-calling late in last weekend's 20-16 loss to the Patriots.

Garrett appeared to take the football out of his quarterback's hands during Dallas' final two possessions, a conservative move that drew the ire of both fans and Cowboys owner Jerry Jones.

But Romo wasn't having any of the criticism of his coach, agreeing with Garrett that Dallas' defense deserved the benefit of the doubt at that point.

"Did you guys watch the game at all? The defense played outstanding," Romo said. "Like I said, it's easy for the Monday morning quarterback to say something the day after. But I trusted our defense, too, and felt very comfortable with them on the field at the end of the game."

Rob Ryan's unit certainly played a strong game, and forced the Patriots into a rare three-and-out in their previous possession. But the decision to give Tom Brady one more shot was first-guessed by many.

The Patriots' final possession was set up by Garrett's decision to run the ball three consecutive times before giving the ball back to New England with 2:42 to play. Brady then needed just two minutes to lead his team to the decisive score.

Romo said the Cowboys' two negative rushes, followed by a false-start penalty, put Garrett in a tough position.

"Once we got into third-and-18, we should have ran the ball on the last one, you're just asking for a bad play," Romo said. "The first-down play, we had a minus play. That's the big thing. You got to be able to get a couple of yards on first down."

Romo isn't necessarily wrong, but he's fooling himself if he thinks the Cowboys were as aggressive as they needed to be.

For his part, Garrett returned the nice words, according to the team's official website.

"There is absolutely no issue in my trust level with Tony Romo," Garrett said. "Playing quarterback in the NFL, there’s a tremendous amount of responsibility that comes with that. Tony knows that. ... We give him a lot of responsibility on Sunday. He’s responded to that really well over the last four and a half years and there’s no reason for us to think otherwise."

In other Romo news, the quarterback told the Cowboys' website Thursday that he plans to once again wear a protective vest and receive a pain-killing injection before Sunday's game against the Rams. Romo fractured his rib during the Week 2 victory over the 49ers and said he's still recovering from the injury.

"It will be nice whenever I'm able to wear something a little smaller, but it's been great," he said of the vest. "It's been a benefit."

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