Romo confident in holding abilities, expects better results this time

IRVING, Texas -- Tony Romo doesn't really want to be a holder again for what he calls "obvious reasons."

Yet if having him hold will help kicker Nick Folk regain his accuracy, then Romo is willing to resume the role that left him in tears the last time he did it for the Dallas Cowboys.

Heck, Romo even volunteered for it.

"When you're the quarterback of a football team, really all that matters is winning," he said Thursday. "If this helps us do that, I'm doing to do it. ... Pops told me one time, 'Leadership is doing what has to be done.'"

Romo bobbled his last hold for Dallas, in a January 2007 playoff game in Seattle. The flub cost the Cowboys a chance to beat the Seahawks, and it left Romo tearfully apologizing to his teammates afterward. He asked to hold at the Pro Bowl a few weeks later and hadn't done it again until this week. He'd never worked with Folk, who arrived the season after Romo gave up holding to concentrate on solely being the quarterback.

"When you're coming back to doing something and something like that happened in the past, you have to be mentally strong and mentally feel as though you can do something at a high level," Romo said. "Hopefully I'm going to be pretty good. If I'm not, I'm not going to be doing it very long or at all."

Folk has missed eight kicks this season with punter Mat McBriar holding. Folk missed just seven kicks over the first two years of his career when backup quarterback Brad Johnson was the holder. Johnson waited for the snap to reach him, consistently spun the ball with the laces toward the end zone and made sure the ball stayed straight up, the three things Folk needs a holder to do.


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However, Folk hasn't been happy with the way McBriar has held this season. Tensions surfaced Sunday when Folk put up his arms in disgust following a fourth-quarter miss that thwarted a rally in a 31-24 loss to the New York Giants.

McBriar hasn't exactly been thrilled with doing the job either, so the Cowboys decided to try something different this week, especially once Romo told special-teams coach Joe DeCamillis that he was willing to try it.

Romo began working with long snapper L.P. Ladouceur and Folk on Wednesday and kept it up Thursday. If all goes well, Romo will be back there Sunday against the San Diego Chargers.

"We just got to make sure we get it as good as we can, as quick as we can," DeCamillis said. "We're kind of grasping for things. You have to be good at it in the first place, which he was. I think he'll be fine going back into it. We're looking forward to giving him that opportunity."

Folk was in college when Romo had his infamous hold, but he certainly saw it. Folk said he's trying not to think about it because any negative thoughts can become a problem.

"It happened," he said. "I think it's kind of beyond him. I think he's pretty good about forgetting stuff."

Romo joined the Cowboys in 2003, then was the main holder in 2004 and '05. He kept the role in '06, even though he became the starting quarterback midway through the season. His breakout success was like a storybook tale, only to have the botched hold ruin the ending.

Part of the problem on that play was the switch to a slick, new "K" ball used strictly for kicking.

"They're not much better now, either," Folk said. "I told him that if he needed me to bring out a glove for him on the holds, I will, or L.P. will. He could throw it on real quick. Whatever he feels comfortable with. I know he feels pretty confident in his own hands. We're indoors this week, so it should be a good start for him."

Note:Cowboys TE Martellus Bennett missed a second consecutive practice Thursday because of concussion-related symptoms. Bennett didn't report any problems during the loss against the Giants, but he has since complained of headaches, fogginess and that "his eyes were hurting," coach Wade Phillips said. Bennett has seen a specialist and continues to be monitored. If Bennett can't play against the Chargers, rookie John Phillips likely would see more playing time.

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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