Jones apparently cut TO loose not because of his poor play on the field, but for his polarizing effect in the team’s locker room. Owens just doesn’t have what it takes to gel a team – even in Dallas where you know everyone is out for himself.
Now, Jones is trying to change that feeling and it starts with getting rid of TO.
“In the aftermath of the season, we talked about change,” Jones told The New York Times. “Some of what is changing involves the process and some of it involves the people. This decision was based upon consideration for an entire team.”
I guess to Jones, when Owens rides other players, including the glamorous quarterback Tony Romo, he is detrimental to the team and that is why they haven’t won a playoff game in a while. (I am willing to bet my right big toe that Romo tearfully wept in Jones’s arms prior to this decision to get rid of Owens, who, I am sure, was a pain in Romo’s ass. The firing is all the doing of Romo’s pettiness.)
While Owens, at 35, didn’t have the strongest season last year in separating himself from defenders, he is still a force on the field. Even if his play has diminished lately, teams must still defend him and will often focus their defense on stopping him. That, in my book, is an effective receiver. If TO demands a defense’s focus during practice, which I am sure he still does, he is a good receiver – even if he doesn’t touch the ball during the game.
No, Dallas has bigger problems than TO and I think Jones is going to soon figure out that the dysfunctional locker room wasn’t Owens’s doing, but that of his own ineffective head coach, Wade Phillips, who was aptly called by ESPN’s Colin Cowherd “a marshmallow with a headset.” Phillips, as we know in Denver all too well, is simply a suck coach and he couldn’t have found a better team to lead than Dallas.
Phillips may know how to run a defense, but to let him run a whole team is a terrible idea. He can’t prepare a team to play. He can’t put together a winning offensive scheme. And even if that does inexplicably happen, there is no way he can win a playoff game. He is everything you don’t want in a head coach. If you ask me, TO took the fall for something that should have happened to marshmallow man Phillips. But hey, it’s the Dallas Cowboys. C’est la vie.
And good for TO and the Buffalo Bills, who got the so called detrimental receiver for the bargain price of $6.5 million for one year. The TO/Buffalo Bills mix just might be a recipe for success. If you remember correctly, the Bills started off as one of the NFL’s hottest teams last season in a tough, tough division. Then they fell of the map. They lacked intensity and drive. But they do have the talent.
Maybe a little TO in the locker room is just the prescription for a team that needs a kick in the ass. Owens will start the season as the number two receiver, next to Lee Evans who is seemingly getting better and better all the time. With some of the pressure moved from Owens’s shoulders onto the whole offense, the tandem of the two could be unstoppable. Good for Buffalo and good for TO.
Then again, it is TO, and maybe he will piss everybody off in Buffalo and the whole thing is a bust. But who cares in Buffalo? They haven’t won anything worth remembering in a long while. There is a renewed sense of excitement with the coming of TO.
I say this may be one of the smartest moves by an underachieving team I have seen this year. Big name, big mouth, all coming for a small price and a small period of time. Seems like a no brainier and I am pissed Denver wasn’t looking to pick him up.