The debate has been raging in Kansas City since the middle of the 2005 season: Should the Chiefs or should they not be interested in and pursue the man they call TO? Reports are out that new Chiefs head coach Herm Edwards thinks the Chiefs should.
Weeks after TO was put on the shelf for the remainder of the 2005 season by the Eagles, rumors were out that the Jets would be interested in Owens. The logic behind it was that the Jets had a huge need for a play making, game changing wide receiver and had a head coach that had success with difficult players.
He has a knack for helping players grow into men. "Herman Edwards has helped us grow into men," Jets defensive end John Abraham said loyally in November when the whispers surfaced that Edwards would succeed (Dick) Vermeil in Kansas City. "Anywhere he goes, I'd love to go with him." The Kansas City fan base is already buzzing over the possibility of Abraham following Edwards to Kansas City.
Can the Chiefs use a player of Owens' talent? Absolutely!!
The Chiefs have not had a game breaking playmaker at wide receiver in several years. That's an amazing fact given the Chiefs have been one of the top three offenses in the NFL over the past 4 years. However, the lack of a superstar at wide receiver has been a big issue in Kansas City over the years.
The Chiefs defense has been the main culprit of the Chiefs disappearance from playoff football. Have the Chiefs defenders faced a wide receiver in practice that will challenge them and make them better day in and day out? Is there anyone on the roster that can elevate the skills of Patrick Surtain and Eric Warfield?
The lack of true playmaker at wide receiver has been a factor on offense as well. Dropped passes at key moments, the inability to get open when protection breaks down and the inability to exploit double coverage on all pro tight end Tony Gonzalez have magnified the need for a play making, game changing wide receiver.
Terrell Owens fits that bill because 1000 plus yards in receiving and double-digit touchdown seasons are routine for Owens as his behavior. But the Chiefs did not have one wide receiver register a double-digit touchdown season in the Dick Vermeil era. Tight end Tony Gonzalez did it once, but no wide receiver could manage the feat.
Don't be confused the Chiefs have talent at wide receiver. Eddie Kennison has posted back to back 1000 yard receiving seasons. Samie Parker has shown flashes of big play ability. Craphonso Thorpe has speed and playmaking ability that has yet to be put on display. Dante Hall has shown the propensity to make catches and even get to the end zone on occasion.
What lacks from the wide receiver corps is that guy that opens up the field for the other wide receivers, the tightend and even the running game. It appears Edwards may be interested in bring TO to Kansas City to be that guy with him. However, in order to do so, Edwards will have to do a tremendous sales job.
Edwards might not have to sell President and General Manager Carl Peterson that Owens is worth the risk. He's already indicated that he'd like to speak with Owens and his agent.
The on the field performance and productivity is an easy sell for Edwards . In fact, there's no sales job necessary. Owens' numbers speak for themselves. His effort and passion for the game are unquestioned. It's the off the field tantrums and tirades that drive fear deep into the heart and pocket book of Peterson. Peterson has repeatedly said that he has no interest in signing Owens. He has shown no enthusiasm for wanting to take on Owens persona.
Edwards' sales pitch will need to be two-fold. He will need to sell Peterson on the fact that Owens can help the Chiefs get to the super bowl this year, that Owens can help ease the transition of new offensive coordinator Mike Solari. Peterson won't likely be willing to sign Owens to more than a one year contract if he signs him at all. That should be an easy sell based on his production on the field.
The bigger and most difficult sell will be that Edwards can convince Owens to keep his outbursts in check. He'll have to convince Peterson that Owens won't divide or destroy the locker room. In fact, Edwards will have to convince Peterson that he will control the locker room, not anybody else, including Owens.
Edwards will next have to sell Owens on the Chiefs and playing as part of the team. For all of his off the field antics, Owens has a huge passion for the game of football and for winning. He believes he is a man that can make a play when a play needs to be made.
The Chiefs new head coach will need to sell Owens on the fact that this offense will allow him to be a man who makes those plays, but also on the notion that he'll just be one of many men that make those plays. He'll have to convince Owens that he can coexist with Larry Johnson, Eddie Kennison and Tony Gonzalez and that they can all thrive and put up pro bowl level numbers. He'll have to convince Owens that the Chiefs defense is headed in the right direction and that the necessary personnel (i.e. Abraham) will be brought in to expedite the process. He'll have to convince Owens that he can coach the team to the playoffs and beyond. He'll have to convince Owens that he can be a good teammate and still maintain his individuality.
If Edwards is successful at convincing Peterson and Owens that a marriage between the Chiefs and Owens can work; he'll finally have to sell the other 52 players of the same idea. He'll have to convince Eddie Kennison and Samie Parker to embrace Owens as part of there wide receiver corp. He'll have to convince Tony Gonzalez and Larry Johnson that their touches won't be diminished. He'll have to convince Trent Green that Owens won't be the leader on the field, Green will. He'll have to convince the team that Owens' past won't dictate his future. He'll have to sell them on the notion that Owens can be part of the team and help them get to where they want to go.
If Edwards is to eventually add Terrell Owens to the Chiefs he has a tremendous sales job ahead of him. For those TO fans in KC who want to see him wearing number 81 in red and gold, the good news is that Edwards is a charismatic leader. He is a very good recruiter, which means he's a good salesman. He's a good motivator, which means he is a good salesman.
In a nutshell, the skills necessary to make an Owens to Chiefs transaction happen, are skills that are strengths for Kansas City Chiefs Head Coach Herm Edwards.
Sold on TO?
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