March , 2009

Sideline Scouting

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T.O. had to go

Posted by Administrator On March - 5 - 2009

The Cowboys now belong to Tony Romo.

Jerry Jones made that clear Thursday, when he fired Terrell Owens.

That’s right, the universal scapegoat has been removed from the Cowboys’ roster.

It had to be done.

There was absolutely no way Jerry could have returned this team intact after its woeful December and embarrassing finish in Philadelphia and expect a different result.

Jerry may be a lot of things, but he’s no fool.

He needed to make a dramatic change to this organization.

Jerry wasn’t going to fire Wade Phillips. And Jason Garrett wasn’t going to get another job. And Jerry wasn’t going to sign Ray Lewis. So, Jerry absolutely, positively had to let T.O. go. You know it pained Jerry to do so because he always feels like he can save a lost player.

But it wouldn’t work with T.O.

Owens’ personality is too powerful. Nobody in the locker room has the professional success or the intestinal fortitude to insist that T.O. sit down and shut up.

He had to go.

But all of the excuses go with him.

T.O. can’t be blamed for any more of Romo’s problems. If the offense doesn’t work this season, it won’t be because Garrett felt compelled to force the ball to T.O.

If Roy Williams, who caught 19 passes and scored one touchdown in 10 games with Dallas, doesn’t play like a Pro Bowl receiver, it won’t be because T.O.’s presence cost him chances.

It’s time for every player who blamed T.O. for the problems on this team to put up or shut up.

T.O. was flawed. Who could possibly dispute that? He whined way too much.

At 35, he’s a declining player whose ego will never ever allow him to admit it. He is a locker-room cancer.

We know that. He can’t help himself.

But he played hard on Sundays, and he produced. In three seasons with Dallas, he caught 235 passes for 3,587 yards and scored 38 touchdowns.

Few have done it better for the Cowboys.

But he was a non-factor much of last year. He had one tremendous game – a 213-yard performance against San Francisco – and not much else.

Eight times, he failed to have more than 40 yards receiving. He went 10 games at the start of the season without a 100-yard game.

Give Jerry credit for recognizing he had to make this move.

He spent a king’s ransom, including a first-round pick in April’s draft, on Williams before signing him to a five-year $45 million deal. Jerry knew Williams’ talent couldn’t, or wouldn’t, be maximized as long as T.O. was on the roster.

So did everyone else.

That’s why Jerry has been bombarded with questions about T.O.’s future since the season ended. Drew Rosenhaus, T.O.’s agent, scoffed at the thought of the star receiver being released.

Who knew he was so out of touch?

Jerry even had the nerve to become indignant when questioned recently about the topic.

Perhaps, it’s because he felt so conflicted.

After all, Jerry signed T.O. to a three-year, $27 million extension last season that included a $12 million signing bonus.

Every miserable season needs a scapegoat.

Firing assistant coaches Bruce Read and Brian Stewart and releasing Adam Jones was nearly dramatic enough. Getting rid of T.O. does the trick.

Now, the pressure is on everyone else to perform, starting with Romo.


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