Thursday, March 5, 2009

T.O. Out in Dallas

What it means for the Cowboys: Terrell Owens is a productive receiver on the football field, there is no getting around that fact. At the age of 34 he had 69 receptions for 1,052 yards and 10 touchdowns. While those are excellent numbers, Owens is not the dominating receiver he once was. He posted only two 100-yard games including a 213 yard performance against the 49ers. His loss will hurt the Cowboys as he had almost double the number of receiving yards of any other receiver on the Cowboys last year and more touchdowns than the rest of the receivers combined. Now those statistics are a bit misleading, Dallas tight ends and running backs accounted for over 1,800 yards receiving and had 10 touchdowns, so the Cowboys aren't without weapons. Also receiver Roy Williams, acquired during the year, can be a star receiver. Williams will hopefully be a bigger part of the offense now that he's had a full year to learn the system. It will be interesting to see if the Cowboys add another receiver, because for all the talent that Williams has he's only had one 1,000 yard season. The true benefit for the Cowboys will be in their team unity, Owens was a disruptive force in the locker room. Owens has clashed with players and coaches alike and has frequently had his disputes made public further hurting team chemistry. The downside of losing Owens is what he did on the field. While the Cowboys still possess their share of play makers, those players will have to show they can succeed without Owens in the line-up. Owens drew the best coverage often freeing up TE Jason Witten and the running backs to make plays. Cowboys will need their receivers to step up and fill the void that Owens leaves on the field.

What it means for T.O.: Terrell Owens has burned a few bridges during his NFL career and it could come back to bite him now that he's on the open market. Two of the teams most in need of a big play receiver the 49ers and the Eagles, have been down the Owens road before and are unlikely to try again. Three other teams that have been looking at receivers, the Dolphins, Ravens, and Vikings, all will likely pass given past experiences with T.O. by some of their top personnel. Dolphins president Bill Parcells was the Dallas coach in 2006 when Owens came, and head coaches Jim Harbaugh (Ravens) and Brad Childress (Vikings) were in Philadelphia when Owens became a locker room problem there. That doesn't mean that no teams will jump in the Owens market but it isn't likely to get to a bidding war over his services. Look for a team like Oakland or maybe New England to explore the possibility.

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