Friday, January 16, 2009

T.O. Release or Not T.O. Release: That is The Question

The Dallas Cowboys are apparently undergoing chemo to rid themselves of the locker room cancers that have turned perhaps the most talented NFL team into mere ESPN Coverage Champions and employment guarantors of Ed Werder.

Already in this young offseason they have severed ties with Adam “Don’t Call Me Pacman” Jones (although according to him they are merely giving him rain check). According to ESPN, the Cowboys are also considering letting free agent DT Tank Johnson go unsigned. This is understandable, given the fact that Tank has not accomplished much with the ‘Boys. But the rumors do not stop there. Also according to ESPN, the Cowboys are considering severing ties with arguably the best wide receiver in the NFL, Terrell Owens.

T.O., who has been unjustly vilified by the public ever since he asserted his right to be one of the highest paid receivers in the league. When he led the Philadelphia Eagles to their only Super Bowl appearance, he was the only Eagles player to perform well, despite having an injured ankle for which he was required to sign a waiver that stated he would not be owed any future money by the organization in the event that the ankle was injured.

T.O.’s on the field performance has been nothing short of special. In his 3 seasons as a Cowboy he has gained at least 1,000 a year (for an average of about 15 yards per catch) scored at least 10 TDs a year, and been a dual threat over the middle and down the sidelines. Wherever he goes on the field he has drawn double teams and opened up Jason Witten and Patrick Crayton. He also isn’t afraid to throw a downfield block for his RBs or another receiver. Drops aside, I think that you will be hard-pressed to find a more complete receiver in the NFL.

T.O. has shown great loyalty to the organization. He has said that he "definitely" wants to finish his career in Dallas and enter the Hall of Fame as a Cowboy. Unlike his time in San Francisco or Philadelphia, Owens respects his quarterback, even going so far as to pathetically cry for him after defeat to the eventual World Champion New York Football Giants. [Ed. Note: Yesss]

So why release him?

I honestly have no clue why. As Jim Mora would say “Don’t Ask Me!”

Is it because he demands the ball on every play? Show me any top receiver who doesn’t. After looking at his numbers (specifically YPC and TDs), he definitely should get the ball every play.

Is it because of Jason Garrett? Word is that the Cowboys are afraid of losing the so-called offensive genius from Princeton. Garrett, who has a rocky relationship with Owens, has been inconsistent and his play-calling horrendous. Look what he has done with all the talent surrounding him--produced the 13th overall ranked offense in the NFL. Clearly he is dispensable.

Is it because of a rift with TE Jason Witten? I’m a huge Witten fan, but to put Witten before T.O. is putting the proverbial cart before the horse. Without Owens’ double coverage, Jason Witten would be nobody significant. Look at the numbers that back-up TE Martellus Bennett has put up in Witten’s absences.

Is it because of media distractions? You are seriously going to let the media run your team? Why not banish ESPN and Ed Werder from Valley Ranch? Shouldn’t you draft/sign thick-skinned players who will not be “distracted” by being asked questions about a single player who the media has a hard on for and who will be able to live with being a member of so-called “America’s Team?” Maybe you should investigate your signings more.

The man shows up to play his hardest every day. While he is a diva, like most WRs, he is not a felon.

Do not pin the Dallas Cowboys failure on T.O. Following his biggest distraction (PlayGate involving his alleged allegation of Tony Romo and Witten leaving him out of plays), the Cowboys defeated the Giants. It is not his fault that the Cowboys defense let up back-to-back 70+ yard runs against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 17, or Romo fumbled away the game versus the Philadelphia Eagles. It is not his fault that the Offensive Line (led by a partially deaf left tackle in Flozell Adams) could not stop the Giants defensive attack of Michael Strahan, Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora in the 2008 Divisional Round or that Romo fumbled a snap against the Seattle Seahawks the year before.

It is not his fault that Wade Phillips is a puppet and offers no leadership, nor his fault that no other player has asserted leadership of the team.

So go ahead, Dallas. Release him. See what happens when all who an erratic, choking QB has to throw to are a possession receiver in Roy Williams and a double-covered Witten. I’ll give you a hint: it will not be winning your first playoff game since 1996.


  1. If they had got Calvin Johnson instead of Roy Williams, you could make a case for releasing him. I really doubt Jeh-rey is going to release someone who grabs the spotlight as often as T.O. As he smugly said when people were talking about the Whitten-Romo-T.O. gayness - "We like it whenever anyone is talkin' about the Cowboys" (or something like that.

  2. Jerry Jones is excellent at the business operations but terrible at football operations and I wouldn't expect him to give up either any time soon. So the Cowboys are going to be a train wreck until their micromanaging owner is 6ft under.

    In related news I hope Jerry Jones lives until he is 125 and puts every personnel move to happen 25 years after that in his will.