Friday, March 6, 2009

Don't let the door hit ya

In PJ’s last post, he did something quite amazing. He made many accurate observations regarding Dallas and Terrell Owens, and still arrived at the wrong conclusion. Allow me to explain.

In theory, I agree with each of his observations. A head coach and an offensive coordinator should be able to control a player. And T.O.’s disruptions should be easily shrugged off by the rest of the team. However, this is not the reality of the Dallas Cowboys. We do have a puppet head coach who is unwilling and/or unable to assert his authority. And clearly, T.O. was a disruption. What should have happened last season is irrelevant. Roy Williams may or may not be the new number one, but that is also irrelevant when discussing if the Cowboys should keep T.O.

Besides all that, T.O. can’t produce like he once did. I completely agree that Jason Garrett needs to do a better job as offensive coordinator—I’m no fan of his work—but it’s not entirely his fault. T.O. simply can’t do the things he once did. PJ acknowledges this, but attributes it all to the failure of Garrett. The fact is that T.O. has lost a step, and has developed a reluctance to sacrifice his body to make a catch. And despite his reputation, T.O. did take plays off on occasion last year. This drop in production alone justifies his release.

However, that, of course, is not the only reason to let him go. We may not have the specifics in this “he said, he said” drama, but there can be no doubt that T.O. divided the locker room. Patrick Crayton followed T.O. like a puppy dog, and Roy Williams was starting to do the same. Releasing Owens sends the message to the impressionable players that there is a limit. Hopefully, this will serve as a signal to them to cut the foolishness—Orlando Scandrick has already gotten the message.

PJ also points out that most wide receivers always think they are open. True enough. If T.O. only said he was open, there would be no problem. His act went well beyond that this year, however, and that is what makes it unacceptable. PJ also points out that T.O. was never in trouble off the field. Also true, but to be honest, if I have to choose between a good teammate who has legal issues and a locker room cancer who keeps his nose clean, well, give me Michael Irvin every time.

Having said all that, T.O. is the symptom, not the problem. As I said before, a coach should be able to control his team, and one player’s antics shouldn’t derail a team. But that’s not how things work in Dallas, and that isn’t T.O.’s fault. It has been common to say in years past that Jerry the Owner should fire Jerry the GM, meaning that Jerry is a good owner but a poor talent evaluator. I don’t believe that is true anymore. Jerry the Owner is causing these problems. He has repeatedly emasculated his head coach, most recently with the gag order he implemented at Valley Ranch. Until Jerry the Owner changes the culture at Valley Ranch, these problems will continue.

T.O. is gone, and that is a good thing. By no means, however, is it the last change that needs to happen with the Cowboys.


PJ said...

So, by your reasoning, the Cowboys should have kept Pacman, right? I mean most of his teammates liked him.. even though he had some off-field issues. :) So, other than Witten, who gets the ball now? Can this team survive with Crayton as the number 1 receiver? Cause I don't believe Roy Williams wants it enough.

Chris said...

Where did I reason they should have kept Pacman? Because he had off the field issues? No, Pacman deserved to be cut because his play didn't warrant the headaches he caused. Get him outta here.

This team has plenty of weapons on offense. Witten, Crayton and Williams is manageable, and Williams will be good. This is a guy who was a great teammate and quality receiver at Texas--that didn't completely disappear. Give him a training camp and I bet you get a much better receiver next year. (Having said that, they still overpaid for him.) The Cowboys need to draft a quality receiver, but the cupboard isn't bare.

Mostly though, Garrett needs to take advantage of their running game, something he has completely neglected the last two years. They have a perfect one-two punch at RB and an offensive line that can make it happen. Don't waste those talents, Garrett!

PJ said...

I was being tongue in cheek with Pacman cause you said you'd rather have a good teammate than a guy who didn't get in trouble off the field. Pacman sucked. I'm glad he's gone.

I agree completely regarding the running game. Before Felix Jones was hurt, I was amazed that they seemed to use him so sparingly. He seemed to energize every time he came in, so that was confusing.

Based on the games I watched, I can't agree with your assessment on Williams, but if he comes into training camp and shows something, I'll post that I was wrong. I hope that happens, cause I want to root for this team. They just make it so hard sometimes.

Chris said...

The lockerroom cancer v legal issue debate is only for good players. A bad player who is either isn't worth the hassle. The 90's Cowboys had a lot of players with legal issues, but they weren't a problem on the field or in the lockerroom, and they had other personalities (primarily Jimmy) who could handle it. The same cannot be said of these Cowboys.

I agree with your last sentence, and have often thought the same over the course of the season. This is a hard team to root for, and it has nothing to do with their sub-par record. I just don't like these guys.

PJ said...

Wow, that was quick. I've gotta say, I'm glad that he ended up in Buffalo rather than a NFC team. I'm also glad we don't play Buffalo.