Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Hard Knocks

Even with all that football blogging since the close of the regular season, I somehow managed to leave out the Dallas Cowboys and their terrible, no good, very bad 2008 season. Truthfully, anything short of the Super Bowl would have been considered a disappointment for this team, but to finish 9-7, embarrassing themselves in their final two losses, was nothing short of one of the all-time chokes in all of sports.

So what went wrong and where do the 'Boys go from here? As usual, everyone is calling for TO's head, as if it were somehow TO's fault that everyone else on the offense couldn't hold onto the football againast the Eagles or that the defense which had played so well just collapsed in the season's final two weeks. The fans and the media have this need to lay blame somewhere and TO just makes himself much to easy a target. But as an unapologetic TO defender, I've just got to scratch my head. Tony Romo choked at the end of the season not for the first, not for the second, but for the third time in his brief career. This isn't Peyton Manning struggling to overcome good defenses on his own, this is a guy who literally seems to be a shell of his warmer-weather self as the weather turns cold. Yet rather than worry about Romo and whether the Cowboys can win with him, we're worrying about TO- I heard from several different people on ESPN radio today that the Cowboys should get rid of TO, along with Roy Williams, and just go from there.

I've said it before and I'll say it again. TO is a great, game-breaking receiver, who may have a big mouth, but always plays hard and has undeniably fantastic numbers. A good team will find a way to work TO's skills to their benefits. A bad team or a team with too many big egos will use TO's mouth to help excuse their own self destruction. But let's be serious for a minute. TO had another 1,000 yards this year and another 10 TD season, the 8th time in his career he managed that feat. And he opens his big mouth about wanting the football, and now, after that disaster in Philly, the team's offensive play calling. As I started out by saying, teams don't lose games because people open their mouths. Generally, teams don't win or lose on much of anything their receivers do, unless it's catch big balls or drop key passes. Teams lose because of bad coaching and crappy quarterback play.

Speaking of bad coaching, it's now rumored that wonder-kid Jason Garret is being considered for the Detroit job. I might think twice if I were the Lions. I'm sure Garret has a future in the league, but he didn't do a very good job of managing all that talent this season. Really, the Dallas offense this year, after a flourishing start, settled into mediocrity for most of the season, with flashes of brilliance few and far between. I'm not sure what you do if you're Dallas- Given Garret's performance this season, I don't think the Cowboys can justify promoting him and firing Wade Phillips. I think you either keep them both and give them another shot or else get rid of them both. Of course, there's no guarantee Garret won't go somewhere else.

But mark my words- parting ways with TO won't make the Cowboys better.

7 Comments:

Blogger McMc said...

The Cowboys are a mess, because no one can keep this team in check. Yesterday, Zach Thomas voided the final three years of his contract just to leave Dallas. A story broke that Bradie James ripped a sign off of a fan and broke his sunglasses. T.O. started blaming the play callers/coaches. This all happened along with T.O. calling out his QB for throwing to Witten too much and Roy Williams calling out the coaches and Romo for not using him enough. I mean, all of that is bad behavior and you HAVE to lay that on the coaches first. Good coaches don't let this stuff happen publically. The Cowboys are undisciplined and ego-centric and because of that the dogs were let loose and things went wild. If I'm Jerry Jones, I'm getting rid of Wade Phillips for being too leniant and Jason Garrett who butchered that offense.

And to play Devil's Advocate, yes Terrell Owens is an amazing WR, but at what point do you allow him to continue to be a distraction. He was great in San Francisco, starting complaining/calling out Garcia and then he was gone. He was great in Philly, started calling out McNabb and then he was gone. He was great in Dallas, he started calling out Romo and now?

I personally believe the WR position is a bit over-rated in the NFL. I think you can get by with hard-working guys that minimize drops. An offense like the one the Cowboys has doesn't need a bunch of flashy, play-making receivers. They need guys to catch the ball (Owens drops tons of passes) and to keep moving the chains.

At the end of the day, I don't think you can have guys calling out teammates and coaches the way Owens does. Say what you want, but there's no way that doesn't help split a lockerroom. Maybe it's unfair to paint him as a scapegoat, but I don't think it would be a bad thing to cut him and other trouble makers loose.

6:05 PM  
Blogger lonely libertarian said...

I'm glad you brought up the Eagles-

With TO on the field, the Eagles were 17-4 over that brief one and a half year span. Since that point they are 29-27-1. Even if you want to get into the possibly limited value of wide receivers, you'd still have trouble convincing me that the Eagles have been better for getting rid of TO.

Players don't have to like each other to be able to work together, they just have to have some confidence in each other's abilities. Wayne Chrebet and Keyshawn Johnson hated each other, but the two of them managed to play together for awhile. These things can be worked out,so long as you've got at least one guy who can be the mature one. (In the Jets case it was Chrebet.)

11:25 PM  
Blogger lonely libertarian said...

You're right that TO's drops suck, but if your the Cowboys, how do you justify getting rid of TO and Roy Williams without calling next year a rebuilding year. Who the hell else do you possibly bring in. Cut Williams for not producing and coming in and complaining and maybe can the coaching staff- But if you're keeping Romo, how can you say you're really being competitive for next season without keeping TO?

11:27 PM  
Anonymous rose said...

Ok, TO is a stud and has been for a long time. He's been a huge asset when happy to every team he has ever been on. You can win with mediocre wide outs if you are good enough at other spots to make up for it, just like you can win with Trent Dilfer at QB if all else is right. But TO/Moss/Andre Johnson type wide outs are incredibly valuable.


McMc, you want Jones to fire Phillips for being too leniant? Jones made very clear that the Cowboys policy towards Owens (or Michael Irvin in the past) is appeasement. Anytime Owens got into shit w/ whoever it might be Jones publicly defended him no matter how wrong Owens was. Romo was an appeaser too. And it worked for awhile, but you can't fault Phillips for staying the course that Jones set.

Whether the Boys or Eagles won a superbowl w/ owens or not, I think it was worth the gamble. He brought the Eagles very close and the Cowboys truly had the potential to do it both last year as well as this year. If a few injuries don't occur here and there and the ball bounces differently, any of these Owens teams could've won it all and he would've had a lot do w/ it.

He's a gigantic douche though.

11:18 AM  
Anonymous McMc said...

You cannot have two WRs criticizing the staff/QB the way TO and Roy Williams did this past year. All you're doing is putting more pressure on the QB to distribute the ball more evenly as opposed to just doing the smart thing.

And I think you're underestimating the effect a guy like Owens has in the locker room. He's high profile, he's a guy younger players might look up to. You're telling me that when he's publically criticizing coaches and his QB, that he's not doing it privately too? All of these things are cured with winning, but the 'Boys lost this year and we all saw the problems.

2:09 PM  
Anonymous rose said...

I agree mcmc. But I can agree w/ that and still think he's made many teams better and given them a chance to go further than they would've otherwise.

9:14 AM  
Blogger McMc said...

T.O. is definitely a weapon and he's someone that can make a team better, sure. But have we passed that point in Dallas? If you're constantly doing things to make one man happy or to keep him quiet, isn't that a detiment to the team?

The sad thing is, Owens will be 36 next year and he is still without a doubt a physical specimen and one of the best WRs in the game, but he still acts like a giant douche.

I don't mean to make an Owens a scapegoat or anything, I just think the team would be better off with someone less volatile. Sure they'd lose talent, but Romo is an elite quarterback...that's more important than an elite WR.

7:10 PM  

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