Jerry Jones has finally stepped up and rid the Dallas Cowboys of their number one troublemaker.
At least, that is what the pundits and critics are saying. For them, the release of Terrell Owens makes the Cowboys a better team – a sort of addition by subtraction.
Overall, the move to release Owens has been met by praise from most members of the media and fans alike.
But, I’m not one who favors the move.
No, Terrell Owens is no saint. Still, he was a very productive member of the Dallas Cowboys. Some point to his numbers and say he is on the decline and no longer an elite receiver. Still, he managed to post yet another 1,000 yard/10 touchdown season, and that was considered a down year. Personally, I believe the lack of creativity in the offense, more specifically, failure on the part of offensive coordinator, Jason Garrett, had more to do with his statistical drop-off than diminishing skills.
Had Owens lost a step? He actually seemed like he was faster this season.
Off the field, Owens has been labeled a distraction or cancer. However, everything seemed to be going okay until the big fiasco involving Owens, Garrett, Romo, and Witten. And, in all honesty, none of us truly know what transpired. The only information leaked to the public came from ESPN’s Ed Werder and his “sources”. The “sources” were never identified. It did seem though that whoever the “sources” were, they definitely had an agenda. Much like the talking heads at ESPN who seemed like they were on a mission to get Owens released from the Cowboys.
I found it particularly funny listening to ESPN analysts Keyshawn Johnson and Chris Carter lambast T.O. at every opportunity for demanding the ball more. These are two individuals who pretty much did the same thing during their careers. Keyshawn even took it one step further and wrote a book. I guess he has forgotten about that.
All we really have to go on is what Owens said publically. Yes, he did criticize Garrett and even Romo. But was he wrong in doing so? I don’t think so. We, as fans, all saw it. And if we’re completely honest, we all thought it too. Owens simply voiced it – and, was vilified by some of the fans and media for doing so.
When the Cowboys were 13-3, and Owens was getting the ball, he was model teammate. Last season, the team went 9-7, and he wasn’t getting the ball, and he was upset. So, he doesn’t like losing. Or, better yet, he like several other superstars, felt like he could help the team win if he had the ball in his hands.
Isn’t that what we want from our top players?
I wonder what the reactions would have been if Jason Witten had made the same statements?
Would he have been vilified? Or, heralded a leader?
I guess we’ll never know.
In listening to Jerry Jones, he insisted that this move had nothing to do with locker room chemistry, but everything to do with change. He also stated that his belief in wide receiver Roy Williams was a major reason for his decision. But, clearly that is not the case. Jerry, uncharacteristically, bowed to the pressure by the media, fans, and some of the people on his staff. Jerry didn’t want to release T.O. You have to believe that after witnessing the success of Arizona and the success of their “81/11 tandem”, Jerry had visions of the Cowboys being able to duplicate or surpass them with their own tandem.
But, Jerry decided to cave in. And he sided with those who wanted T.O. gone. None more so than Jason Garrett, who by all of accounts, told Jones he didn’t feel he and Owens could co-exist.
So now what?
If I’m offensive coordinator, Jason Garrett, I’m feeling the immense pressure.
Even without Owens on the team, the Cowboys have a tremendous amount of talent on offense. They still have the offensive line, Romo, Witten, Bennett, Williams, and their trio of running backs. In my opinion the X-factor is going to be Miles Austin. No disrespect to Patrick Crayton, he proved that he can be a decent 2nd receiver. But, he is much more effective in the slot but lacks the outside speed the Cowboys need. Austin has the size and speed. He has shown flashes that he is capable of being a 2. He just hasn’t been consistent, mostly due to injury. But, if he is able to step up and be a force, this offense has the ability to be very potent.
That is where Garrett comes in. It will be up him to create mismatches, and free up his playmakers to make plays. He won’t have the luxury of teams doubling Owens on nearly every play, so he is going to have to be creative – something, he definitely wasn’t last season.
Of course, Romo will have to prove that he is the franchise quarterback Jones believes he is as well.
But, that is a topic for another discussion.
As for Garret though, I’m not sure he is up to the tasks, but he had better be. It is not a good sign when opposing defenders comment that your offense is one of the simplest to figure out. And, if the offense is still stagnant much like it was towards the end of last season, he no longer has the Original 81 to point the finger at.
The bright lights will shine squarely on him. And, if he fails, he will no longer be the coach in waiting.
He’ll be amongst the unemployed. Or, at least should be.
The Wizard has spoken.