It's been way over a month since my last post. Work has been busy, home has been busy, so the CCG has been neglected. But with breaking Cowboys news, I decided I had to jump online and weigh in...
3 seasons ago the Cowboys brought in what they believed to be the final piece to the puzzle, Terrell Owens. He was going to be the game breaking receiver the Cowboys sorely lacked. I instantly had visions of Drew Bledsoe tossing it up to TO and deep playoff runs. TO opposite Terry Glenn, Jason Witten clearing out the middle, and Julius Jones and Marion Barber ponding defenses into submission. I was sure he was the last piece.
Then slowly but surely it started to happen. The whispers and locker room back biting began. Bledsoe doesn't get me the ball enough. he throws to Terry Glenn too much. He takes too many sacks. Parcells was almost forced to make the switch to Tony Romo our potentially lose the whole season. Incredibly, it turned out very well. Romo and Owens clicked, the Boys started winning. Romo and Owens giggling on the sideline seemed to be a match made in heaven. The Boys made the playoffs that season and were a botched hold away from winning their first playoff game in a decade. While disappointing, the thought of Romo and Owens over a full season elicited many happy mental scenarios to Cowboys fans.
Season two started out with a bang, a huge Sunday night game against the Giants had Romo and TO firmly entrenched amongst the best QB/WR duos in the game. That second season was a huge statistical year for TO and Romo both. Romo posted the best numbers ever for a Cowboys quarterback. Owens had arguably the second best season of his career (over 1,300 yards and 15 scores). All seemed right in the world, the Cowboys won the NFC East and were poised for a long playoff run. In the playoffs, the Giants aggressively covered TO and made Romo utilize his other weapons. The Cowboys lost, and most people remember TO's breakdown to the press... "that's my quarterback" as he sobbed.
Coming into this season, great things were expected. Huge numbers and lots of wins should have been the norm. Unfortunately that was not the case. A clearly frustrated Owens was often seen sulking on the sidelines. The Cowboys lack of a second receiver (sorry Patrick Crayton) meant lots of double coverage for TO. All of this while Jason Witten continued to flourish working the middle of the field. When Romo got hurt these weaknesses were exposed even more. Owens grew more and more frustrated as the weeks and the losses mounted. When Romo finally returned, Witten seemed to have taken over as the go-to-guy (deservedly so, as he has a great pair of hands and is easily the toughest player on the squad). Owens then started to get more vocal with his complaints. So much so that it tore the team apart. You had players taking sides, talking more and more to the press. What should have been the stretch run to a playoff spot turned into a complaint media circus courtesy of TO. Needless to say the team was a mess and missed the postseason (which was a shame for a team that talented).
With the debacle of the last month of the season, everyone knew things had to change in the offseason. Jerry Jones issues a team gag order to stop the stream of false information. Then the other shoe dropped and the Cowboys (not so) shockingly cut Terrell Owens.
I personally must admit to being a little surprised. Jerry generally loves the drama, and TO provides plenty. I figured Jerry would wait until the season got under swing and see if this uber-talented receiver could shut his mouth enough to play good ball. I'm sure the fact that TO's numbers were down last year made the decision a little easier.
It will be interesting to see how easily the Cowboys address their new void at WR. Is Roy Williams the answer... he only caught 19 balls the second half of the season. There are no other viable top flight receiving options on the team, so free agency, the draft or a trade are the only options. The results to the offense could be catastrophic. What happens to the offense with Witten if he is now being double covered because you don't have to double any wideout. There could be a negative trickle down effect to an offense that struggled mightily in the second half of the season...
or, with the new and improved team chemistry, the Cowboys sing Kumbaya to a playoff spot. With or without Owens, there is enough talent here to make the playoffs. When you look at this years squad, a lot of blame can be placed on the lack of production and the overall distraction TO brought to the squad. This is a classic case of addition by subtraction. Who knows, maybe a happier Cowboys locker room will result in less distractions and more victories.
All in all, I must say I think this was a move that had to happen. The same way I thought bring him in was a move that had to happen. I supported the move that brought him to the Boys. I thought they had to take a shot at ading this enigmatic superstar. Unfortunately it didn't work. This year proved it. They took a big step backwards. The Boys went from contender to pretenders really fast. Was it all his fault, no. Did he contribute negatively, yes. It was time.
Luckily my big bro gave me a Witten jersey for Christmas this past year so I can now retire my TO jersey (next to my Keyshawn, Galloway, Deion and Irvin).