QBs in Focus: Tony Romo

An in-depth look at Tony Romo's positives, negatives and tendencies as Steve Palazzolo's "QBs in Focus" series continues.

| 3 years ago

QBs in Focus: Tony Romo

qb-month-romoThough we certainly miss football during the offseason, it’s always a good time to take a step back and analyze our plethora of data.

We’re often so busy grading and collecting data during the season that we’re unable to put a lot of the information to good use. With that said, we’ve decided to declare June as “QB Month” as we break down NFL quarterbacks every which way.

We’re going to examine quarterbacks from a number of situations before looking at each of them individually. The grades and numbers should reveal each quarterback’s strengths and weaknesses from the 2013 season.

As we go through this series, it’s important to understand the relationship between QB Rating (NFL’s version) and PFF Grade.

While QB Rating is obviously supposed to be a QB statistic, it’s actually a better gauge of what the entire offense did in a given situation. This is the type of information that is actually extremely valuable to our NFL team customers as their game planning efforts must go towards stopping an entire passing offense, not just the quarterback.

 If the quarterback throws an easy dump off pass to the RB who then weaves through the defense for the touchdown, it’s certainly not a great indicator of quarterbacking skill as it is the running back and defense accounting for the majority of the work on the play. Of course the QB Rating will look quite shiny in that situation.

On the other hand, PFF Grade is a good indicator of how well the quarterback actually performed in a given situation. Whether they throw an accurate pass that was dropped, or perhaps an inaccurate one that should have been intercepted and the defense dropped, the PFF grade will account for those situations with a positive and a negative grade respectively while QB Rating will simply reflect the 0-for-1 passing.

It’s important to distinguish between QB Rating and PFF grade, though there’s a good chance they’ll match up in most situations.

After taking a look at the entire league in various situations, it’s time to break down each quarterback individually.

Tony Romo

Tony Romo

Tony Romo (2)

Tony Romo (3)

All categories with a * are normalized so that the league average is 0.0.


•  Ranked third in the league with a +7.0 first down.
•  +6.7 grade on passes in 5-to-10-yard range ranked second in the league.
•  Among the league’s best on passes in 21-to-30-yard range (+5.9) and third-highest grade on passes of at least 20 yards (+7.4).
•  Threw well to the middle (+5.9) and right (+7.1).
•  Fourth-highest grade in a clean pocket at +24.4.
•  Graded well on 4-to-6-yard drop-backs (+4.5) and 7-to-8-yard drop-backs (+7.2).
•  Posted highest grade (+6.3) and passer rating (106.1) in the fourth quarter/overtime.
•  Graded at an identical +5.2 on passes both in the 2.1-to-2.5-second range and on passes lasting at least 3.6 seconds.


•  Among the league’s worst under pressure at -14.2, particularly non-blitz pressure (-10.3).
•  Graded at -2.1 on third down including -3.6 on 3rd-and-10+.
•  Graded at -1.1 grade on 36 scrambles outside the pocket.
•  Only negatively graded pass depth was 31-40-yard range (-0.8).
•  Struggled on drop-backs of 9+ yards at -1.1.
•  Graded at -1.4 on passes lasting between 2.6 and 3.0 seconds.


•  Used play action only 14.0% of the time (league average: 21.0%).
•  Dropped back 9+ yards 31.0% of the time, well above the league average of 24.6%.
•  Threw 24.6% of his passes to the left, outside the numbers, above the league average of 22.3%.
•  Threw 77.5% of his passes wide receivers (by alignment), sixth-highest in the league.
•  Only 7.2% of passes went to inline tight ends, fifth-lowest in the league, but threw 14.5% of his passes to tight ends in the slot, third-highest in the league.
•  16% of passes went to running backs, below the league average of 19.6%.
•  Threw fifth-highest percentage of slants at 10.7% of aimed passes.


For the entire set of “Quarterbacks in Focus” posts, click here.


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| Senior Analyst

Steve is a senior analyst at Pro Football Focus. His work has been featured on ESPN Insider, NBC Sports, and 120 Sports.

  • Chris

    Getting pressure on Romo is obviously the key. Such a stark variance in his grades.

    • Jim Scott

      Specifically doing it without blitzing. This may have something to do with 3 first round picks spent on OL

      • Mekkio wekkio

        It’s simple the league know Romo chokes under pressure, think back to the redskins game a few years back. The redskins blitz Romo all day and knew what they were doing.

      • El Phantasmo

        Obviously pressure without blitzing is worse. There’s more guys in coverage. I’d expect the same for most QBs in the NFL.

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