"We have all the confidence in the world in Tony Romo," Jones said Tuesday on his weekly radio show on KRLD-FM. Two nights earlier, in Dallas' opener in the $1.15 billion Cowboys Stadium, Jones was part of an NFL regular-season record crowd of 105,121 that watched Romo implode in a big game yet again; he threw three interceptions and had a passer rating of 29.6 in a 33-31 loss to New York.
"You'd like for him not to have a day like that," Jones told KRLD-FM, "but when everybody is pointing fingers, when it didn't go good, then you want someone who can walk into that huddle in the next snap at practice, the next snap in the ballgame and walk out there and cut and shoot and play like they just won the Super Bowl. That's a great quarterback."
At about the same time Jones came out in support of his quarterback, the chorus of Cowboys legends not impressed by the fifth-year veteran grew by one.
"I don't know why on God's earth Tony Romo has been anointed a superstar in the National Football League," Hall of Fame running back Tony Dorsett told Fox Sports Radio. "Tony is very young in his career. Not to say you can't be young in your career and be a superstar because you've got one up there in Minnesota in Adrian Peterson.
"But the thing is this: You have a guy who hasn't done much, and quarterbacks in the NFL, most of them go through this growing curve. He hasn't gone through that growing curve, but he was anointed this great player all of a sudden. Now he's having to live up to that. And obviously Tony has some deficiencies."
Romo turned in one of his worst outings in the loss to the Giants: 13-of-29 for 127 yards with a touchdown, and the three picks all resulted in New York touchdowns. It also was a dramatic reversal from the opener, in which Romo was poised and patient, did not have a turnover and threw for 353 yards and three scores in a 34-21 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
"He's a good player who's still learning how to play in the NFL, and I think the media has given him too much credit for doing nothing," Dorsett told Fox Sports Radio. "He hasn't done anything really in the NFL to deserve all the recognition and visibility he's gotten so far."
Smith told Sirius NFL Radio several weeks ago that Romo fails to "demand excellence" from Cowboys players.
"I never saw [Romo] go snatch somebody up, and say, 'Hey, we can't win like this. We can't have guys jumping offsides. I can't have [a defender] coming at me unabated. Who is making the mistakes up front? Why aren't you picking this guy up? This is not going down this way. If you can't get your job done, get off the football field,'" Smith said in his interview with Sirius.
Last January, Aikman questioned whether Romo understands what it takes to be quarterback of the Cowboys. During the offseason, Romo vowed to become a more "active" and effective leader for the coming season.
"I think maybe things happened so quickly for Tony in terms of obscurity to all of a sudden national spotlight that he hasn't fully grasped what being the Cowboys quarterback is all about," Aikman told former teammate Michael Irvin on the latter's radio show.