Thursday, March 5, 2009

Dallas Roundtable No. 2

Whooo boy, I gotta say even I didn't see this one coming. I'm as hard on Terrell Owens and as down on him as almost anyone you can find, but the news that the Dallas Cowboys cut him struck me as astounding.

Not that I disagree with the sanity of the move.

It's just that Jerry Jones and the 'boys jumped aboard this train wreck with eyes wide open. They can't claim ignorance to TO's rep for being a team-killer. Not when they picked him off the scrap heap where the Philadelphia Eagles had freshly deposited him.

Not when those Iggles unwisely took TO off the hands of the San Francisco 49ers for pennies on the millions of dollars.

So why cut him? Why now? Owens had been a comparable angel in Dallas when his tenure in Big D is assessed next to the stints in Philly and the City. Sure he threw a couple not-so-subtle barbs at Tony Romo and Jason Garrett.

Those were Hallmark greetings relative to what he did to former versions. This is a guy who once openly questioned Jeff Garcia's sexuality and tried to hang a Super Bowl loss around Donovan McNabb's shoulders.

To me, the move indicates one of two things, possibly both: (A) Jerry Jones sincerely believes in Romo and is going to give the kid every shot to succeed (smart); and/or (B) Jones is almost as whole-heartedly behind Garrett (jury's still out on that one).

People keep pointing out how this means that Romo will have a clear locker room, ready for his divine leadership to blossom. That's definitely true, but I say it's even more significant for the vote of confidence it announces in support of the young (and really expensive) offensive coordinator.

After all, this is a guy who Jerry Jones seemingly hand picked as the eventual head coach of his 'pokes, paid millions of dollars to keep him around, and—if you're looking for Terrell's serious transgressions—those would seem to be scattered at Garrett's feet.

Hey, maybe the real teacher's pet is Jason Witten.

Nah...nobody loves tight ends that much. No, the real culprits here are the usual suspects: Jerry Jones and Terrell Owens. It was the egomaniacal nature of both that made this scenario a loser from the get-go.

It's Jerry's fault for believing the mystique of Dallas could conquer even the gnarliest self-lover the League has ever seen and it is Owens' fault for being so infatuated with himself, for having his head so far up his own posterior that he couldn't see the tremendous talent/opportunity he was wasting.

And it's been wasted, make no mistake about it. That's why, when the dust settles, I really like the move. A lot.

When you have all that operating budget, it makes no sense to bring in a headache like Owens so ditching one has to make perfect sense. If you can afford to grab a bunch of it, why compromise harmony when there's plenty of talent on the market without the incidental costs? You can't separate the two—a player's value is the product of the entire package.

And Terrell Owens' ego is simply beyond any physical talent he could ever bring to bear on the field. It always has been. The dude cannot be good enough on the field to offset the carnage he wreaks in the clubhouse, plain and simple.

That's saying somthin' because homeboy could really run down the pigskin in his prime.

But therein lies the other hidden gem to this move—Terrell Owens is 35 and he is playing in the National Football League. This is not Major League Baseball; this is not a game that frequently features excellence aged close to 40 years. Even a workaholic like Owens will start losing a step here, an edge there.

Some say he already has. Jerry Jones is apparently one of them—all the bluster to the contrary.

When that happens, you're best clear of the implosion that will follow because athletes are typically the last to acknowledge such news and the denial is usually a pretty ugly affair. I sincerely doubt the process would have been any different for Terrell Owens.

Now, Dallas has no such worry.

The franchise can go with Patrick Crayton and Roy Williams (who has physical tools approximating Owens' and is only 27) or they can bring in some new talent at the position. I happen to think wide receiver is one of the most highly overrated positions in the NFL.

I know a great receiver can really help your club, but I think there are lots of receivers in the NFL with the capacity to be great if put in the right situation. And a lot of them will probably be intrigued at the situation in Big D.

There's a whole lotta right down there, especially now that TO is history. As for the Dallas fans hoping this might just be a restructuring move, that Owens will be re-signed in the near future, I doubt it.

Owen's ego doesn't allow for that. At least it doesn't allow for such intentions to be kept secret. If he's doing something for the greater good, you better believe we're all gonna know about it.

Nope, I think Terrell Owens will be wearing a new uniform next year and I have no idea which one it will be. If Dallas doesn't want your sideshow, who will? Surely someone, but I don't know and I don't care.

I don't care because Terrell Owens is many things, but not a winner.

You simply can't make that argument—he's been on talented teams and driven them to despair, not to the Promised Land. Dallas is better off without him. Tony Romo is much better off without him. And Jason Garrett has a chance now that Terrell will be someone else's problem.

Tony's ability isn't what's questioned—it's his ability to rally the troops and get the job done when it must be done. Terrell Owens was not helping in that regard, which means he was hurting. Not anymore.

It's Tony Romo's team and Jason Garrett will have a firmer hold on the situation without Owens yanking at the reins in every way, at every chance.

This is Addition by Subtraction 101.

The Dallas Cowboys seem to be a Super Bowl favorite every year. With no more Terrell Owens in the picture for 2009-2010, that hype will have a much better chance of coming to fruition.

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