In the Cheap Seats
Bobby "Butch" Burney | News-Telegram Sports Editor

Oct. 9, 2006 - Four games in the books for the Dallas Cowboys, and Drew Bledsoe has personally put this team on his back and carried them to two losses.

That's not the kind of percentage rate that will get a team to the Super Bowl. Or even the playoffs for that matter.

It didn't help the Cowboys on Sunday that neither of their safeties appear to understand that the other team has guys who can run fast. But, there's not a team in the league that can overcome four turnovers and a bushel basket of bad throws from its quarterback.

Sure, the 15-year veteran was pressured, but Bledsoe lived up to his nickname of Backfoot Bledsoe, because that's where he threw most of his passes. He was sacked seven times and his arm hit on three other plays, but half of those mistakes were Bledsoe's fault for not either getting rid of the ball in a timely manner or not stepping up in the pocket to avoid pressure.

The fumble was probably not his fault. All three interceptions were, including the final one in the end zone that was returned 102 yards for a touchdown. Bledsoe indicated that tight end Jason Witten ran the wrong route, but Mark Mosley of the Dallas Morning News reported that two other offensive players told him that Witten ran the correct route, and that Bledsoe simply threw the ball into double coverage.

But, that's what Bledsoe does in big games.

The Cowboys have played three big games - the season opener against AFC title contender Jacksonville and two divisional games against Washington and Philadelphia. Bledsoe has played well in one - Washington. In the other two, he has thrown six interceptions, fumbled twice and missed open receivers right, left and down the middle.

One out of three ain't good. And it won't win the Super Bowl.

We've seen enough of Backfoot Bledsoe - and his twin predecessor Vinny Interceptaverde - to realize old, inaccurate, immobile quarterbacks aren't carrying a team anywhere except a quick trip to the offseason.

The Cowboys, we're told, have two of the most dangerous receivers in the NFL, but Bledsoe can't get them the ball. Doesn't seem to try too often.

While Bledsoe makes Pro Bowl receivers Terrell Owens, Jason Witten and Terry Glenn into spectators, the quarterback on the other side of the ball, Donovan McNabb, puts the ball into the hands of pedestrian receivers to make them into All Stars. McNabb made some bad throws, also, but he made big plays to guide his team to a win.

Bledsoe doesn't do that in big games. At least not enough to take a team to the Super Bowl. There's a reason he was let go in New England and even Buffalo.

I don't know if back-up QB Tony Romo is the answer, but several other teams in the league have ditched veteran, mistake-prone quarterbacks in favor of younger, more promising athletes. Check out Matt Leinart, Vince Young and Philip Rivers.

What would it hurt to give Romo a chance? He might lose a fumble, throw three interceptions and complete less than half of his passes? We've seen it all before.

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