Tony Romo‘s first taste of real NFL action came seven years ago this week. It wasn’t pretty. Going in for the benched Drew Bledsoe in the second half against the Giants, Romo tossed three interceptions — including a pick six — in a 36-22 loss.
The Cowboys’ overall performance was so bad against New York, Bill Parcells felt compelled to “apologize to the people of America” afterwards.
Romo told Matt Barkley about those early struggles following Sunday's 17-3 Dallas win over the Eagles to help the rookie gain perspective. The USC product threw three picks in as many drives in his limited time against the Cowboys.
"He's was kind of smiling and saying his first start he threw three picks," said Barkley "and that to learn to pass you've got to throw it."
It wasn't Romo's first start. That came the following week against Carolina, a 35-14 Dallas win. He ended up going 6-4 that year and has essentially been the man ever since.
"I've been there. We've all been there," said Romo of Barkley's bumpy debut. "Put in a situation at the end of the game where it's your first time out there and I think the emotions of it -- you're excited, a little nervous. There's always things running through you but you're excited about the opportunity and I just told him, 'You gotta go out and let the ball go.' The young guys who end up being successful are the ones who throw it, they see it and they let it go. And eventually they'll tighten all that stuff up. The guys who just stand there and hold it, they don't last very long."
Barkley definitely wasn't afraid to chuck it. He went 11-of-20 for 129 yards in a quarter's worth of action, going downfield frequently. That of course had something to do with the fact that the Eagles trailed 17-3 when he took over.
"It's frustrating to see a kid get thrown into something like that where nothing's going ," said Jason Kelce. "You don't have the ground game going, you don't have the passing game going, seems like the offense isn't going well at all, and then you're going to throw a kid who's only been in the NFL for what, two months now, in live situations. Felt a little bit bad for him but I thought he handled it really well."
It should be noted that Barkley's arm looked stronger than it did this summer. The QB recently admitted that his shoulder was still ailing during the offseason and that it is now feeling much better. It showed, and he looked more comfortable letting it rip.
It has yet to be seen how it will all unfold for the fourth-round pick. He is currently the third quarterback on this 3-4 Eagles team when everyone is healthy, but the injury bug has hit the position. Nick Foles left late in the third quarter with a head injury. His availability for Sunday's game against the Giants is unknown. Michael Vick is still dealing with a hamstring injury. There's a chance that Barkley could end up starting against New York this week.
"I'll take [Romo's story] for what it's worth and take this game in stride and learn from it and grow. But this game is not going to set a tempo for the rest of my career," said Barkley.
"I know what I'm capable of. I believe I can do great things in this league. And this is just the start."
WHAT YOU MISSED
Sheil provides his observations from the game.
The Eagles had a total system failure on offense.
An update on where the quarterback situations stands after Sunday.
WHAT THEY'RE SAYING
Reuben Frank takes a look at the Eagles' home woes.
Since the start of the 2011 season, the Eagles are an NFL-worst 5-14 at home, and they haven’t had a winning season at the Linc since 2009.
They were 3-5 at home in 2011, then 2-6 last year and 0-3 this year. They need to go at least 4-1 at the Linc the rest of the season to avoid a third straight home losing record for the first time since 1969 through 1971.
“It’s tough, it’s tough,” DeMeco Ryans said. “Our fans are still behind us, but we know we’re not getting it done at home right now, and it’s disappointing not to win games at home when you have the home-field advantage."
Jeff McLane writes that Kelly's QB of the future is not on this team.
...The ideal conductor of that offense is not Foles. It's likely not even Michael Vick, at least not for the long term, although he'll certainly retain his starting spot once he fully recovers from a hamstring strain.
Kelly's model is likely playing on Saturdays and quite possibly for the program he left after six years. But obtaining Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota or any one of the seemingly cream of the crop quarterbacks in next year's draft doesn't help the Eagles in their final nine games.
But Kelly surely knew that when he brought Vick back as a one-year stopgap and even Foles, who was on the roster and for free. He needed to buy some time and it might as well have been the first year as he went about turning the organization over.
We'll talk to Chip Kelly at 1 p.m.