Romo Gives 'Boys Best Chance ... For Now

Before last season, Bill Parcells said his future and that of quarterback Drew Bledsoe were tied together.

If he was going to ultimately achieve his goal of turning the Cowboys into a Super Bowl team again, it was going to be because Bledsoe had shed his label as a loser in New England and Buffalo and become a winner in Dallas.

Parcells has not given up his hope of turning things around in Dallas, but he has dumped Bledsoe as his quarterback for the unknown and unproven Tony Romo.

In what could be his last season as coach, Parcells said he had to make the move to salvage the Cowboys season heading into a three-game road trip, starting Sunday in Carolina.

And he truly believes Romo gives them the best chance to win now because of his mobility and quicker release.

"I know the business, I've been in it a long time," Parcells said. "They can get the hearses if they want to but I'm not riding in them yet. Simple as that. I just need to make an attempt to do something that alters kind of what we have been ... this thing's a long way from being over. I know what we kind of got to do to get where want to go. I just don't think we can go too much longer being kind of the way we are. I'm hopeful that it gives us a little better chance."

Parcells simply got fed up with quarterback Drew Bledsoe's mental errors, turnovers and lack of mobility.

It's bad enough that the Cowboys can't protect Bledsoe well enough. What's worse is that he compounded the protection issues with mental and physical mistakes. And that began long before Monday's loss to the Giants when Bledsoe was benched at halftime following a second interception.

In Dallas' three victories, Bledsoe had six touchdown passes and one interception. But those have all been against teams with losing records. Against playoff contenders Jacksonville, Philadelphia and the Giants, he has one touchdown and seven interceptions.

"Well, anytime you do something like this, it's not without a lot of consideration, so I've been thinking about it for some time," Parcells said. "(Romo) might be able to do a couple of things to assist us. We have to do a better job protecting the ball.

"I know Tony didn't do a great job in the second half either. Unless we do that, we are not going to win. If we do do it, we will win."

This marked the third time in Bledsoe's career that he was replaced for someone younger who the team thought gave it a better chance to win. In New England he was replaced by Tom Brady. In Buffalo, he was replaced by J.P. Losman.

Bledsoe almost retired when he was replaced by Losman, saying he didn't want to be anybody's backup. However, he continued to play because he got a chance to be reunited with Parcells in Dallas. Parcells drafted Bledsoe with the Patriots. And it was their dream to crown their careers with a Super Bowl title in Dallas. It would be third for Parcells and the first for Bledsoe, who has Hall of Famer worthy stats but is not considered a winner.

Now he will not get the chance to erase that losing legacy.

"This is an extremely disappointing situation for me," Bledsoe said. "Obviously I would like to be the guy still, I really in my heart of hearts believe that I give us the best chance to win." Despite Romo's inexperience, Parcells has prepared Romo for this moment all season. Even back in training camp, Parcells anticipated Bledsoe's woes, which have followed Bledsoe his entire career. He was immobile, held on the ball too long and threw the critical interception. Poor offensive line play didn't help.

So Parcells got Romo ready for this moment. "I feel like Tony is a different kind of quarterback than Bledsoe," Parcells said. "And maybe, we might be able to put some of those abilities to work."

SERIES HISTORY: 9th meeting. Dallas leads series 5-3. Dallas has won five of the last six meetings. Dallas and Carolina met in a 1996 Divisional Playoff Game and a 2003 Wild Card Game, with the Panthers claiming victories in both.

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