My notebook-emptying, week-starting glance at an assortment of Cowboys matters. Excuse my rather cynical tone throughout, but we are seven weeks into Dallas' offseason and aren't we still waiting for any progress in any area?
THE DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR MATTERS: I've seen this written a couple of times now, that it makes no difference who Dallas hires as its defensive coordinator because "no matter what, Wade's going to run the defense.'' "Fat, drunk and stupid is no way to go through life, son.'' And "it makes no difference'' is no way to run a football team. Every link in the chain matters. Especially the link with "defensive coordinator'' painted on the door.
THIS IS A RUNNING TEAM: Or at least it should be. A massive, mauling offensive line? A possession tight end? A QB who, for all the thrills he provides, gets exposed when he tries to do to much? And a trio of able backs, including a world-class pounder (MB3) and a world-class sprinter (Felix)? That's a running team.
I'M WITH PETER KING AND HIS LATTES: The esteemed S.I. writer predicts that T.O. won't be a Cowboy next year and I lean that way, too. The organization has lengthy meetings – some of them reportedly involving Terrell's teammates! – to evaluate whether Owens should return.
The rumors have been circulating for quite some time, but seven weeks into the offseason, they are much stronger than ever before.
How much more do the Cowboys need to say to establish that T.O. is a problem?
Let's say you are married. And you are contemplating divorce. Behind your wife's back, you consult with counselors and experts and sociologists and ministers and even your wife's friends. How do you end the consideration – with most of those experts, by the way, advising you to divorce – by going back to the Missus and saying, "Aw, let's stay together''?
Once you've filed for divorce, isn't that kind of a sign?
DALLAS IS GRASPING AT LEADERSHIP STRAWS: The local paper is proclaiming Keith Davis to be among the greatest sports-world leaders in our fair city, in any sport.
If that's even close to true – and of course, in this "top 10 leaders'' column, a whole bunch of Texas Rangers were listed and what have the Rangers ever been led to besides being better than the Toledo Mud Hens -- leadership ain't what it used to be.
T.O. IS GRASPING AT ATTENTION-GETTING STRAWS: As demonstrated in the NBA Celebrity All-Star Game, T.O. has hops and endurance and a deadly jumper (though in terms of pure form, that part of his game is rather U.T.- Chattanooga-ish).
He even unveiled an unselfish bone in his body when he passed up a game-ending dunk to instead dish to a crummy teammate. He scored a game-high 17 points and was the MVP for the second straight year. But I still say, if I'm a Cowboys fan, that it's an attention-grab and that it's all wrong.
Do you know many other NFL stars could come to this game and dominate? (Hundreds.) Do you know how many other NFL stars participated in this game? (Zero.)
I wonder why that is?
My message to Terrell is the same as my message to Tony Romo: All things considered, isn't there a weight room or a film room you should be in right now?
IT'S NOT ALL T.O.'S FAULT I: And anyone who thinks the debate over his future is an attempt to one-stop-shop a solution simply doesn't understand. There are issues with dozens of people. But many of those dozens are T.O. followers. You can't cut dozens of players. You can cut off the snake's head. I'm saying this as a guy who was completely in favor of his acquisition and was part of breaking the news of him as a Jerry Jones target: It's been an interesting and worthy and even at-times productive experiment. But it should be over.
IT'S NOT ALL T.O'S FAULT II: There are other people on this roster – purported "good guys'' -- who also contribute to the problems. But they are not as expendable as Owens is. They are younger or cheaper or viewed as being worthy of reclamation.
Does moving T.O. fix everything? I read one report from an Owens defender that asked, "What if they go 9-7 again? Then who do they blame?''
That sentiment completely misses the point. If Dallas goes 9-7 WITH Owens. … and then goes 9-7 WITHOUT Owens. … doesn't that disprove the argument that he's invaluable?
JEFF GARCIA. NOW: The sort of move (and maybe the exact move) Dallas should've made a year ago at backup QB is available to make again. I do not know about Jason Garrett's relationship with Garcia and I do not know about Romo's relationship with Garcia and I do not care. Garcia is, on paper, the perfect No. 2, in large part because he's walked the exact path to stardom that Romo is walking. I can't believe this acquisition isn't done yesterday.
MICHAEL VICK. NO?: On a related note: ESPN loves it some Cowboys so much that "sources'' telling the network of Dallas' disinterest in convict Michael Vick is bigger news than any other team actually being interested in him. Astounding, really. … and the sort of headline honey that keeps Jerry Jones dipping into that unsavory pot.
DAN REEVES' REPLACEMENT: If the organization decided that a man like Reeves was necessary. … and then he ends up not taking the job. … shouldn't the organization be working to interview the candidates who were the runner-ups?
RAY LEWIS ISN'T A ONE-STOP-SHOP, EITHER: Just as the dismissal of Owens doesn't fix everything, the big-money signing of Lewis doesn't fix everything, either. He's too old and he slowed down at the end of the year and he'll be expensive and blahblah. But it's a start. A new head on a new right-minded snake.
If you believe the Dallas Cowboys are talented enough to compete for a Super Bowl but simply need a soul implant, this is your start. This is your guy.
FACTIONS AND FIGURES: Funny thing about the obviously splintered Valley Ranch locker room, and a good project for a Cowboys fan with too much time on his hands: I believe you can figure out which player/coach is aligned with which by watching who appears on which local TV channels and who visits regularly with which local beat writers.
One team. At least two factions. Which is one too many.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY PARTY, KEN HAMLIN: But Ken, did you're VIP list really need to include ne'er-do-wells including this rapper and that rapper and Pacman Jones? We're all adults here so we all get to choose our own friends. But isn't this proof that Cowboys players simply aren't taking seriously shape-up orders from their bosses?
DEION SANDERS MUST BE FIRED: From what, you ask? He's not a Cowboys employee, is he? No, but he sure acts like it. How Deion's self-serving approach to NFL involvement continues to allow him to essentially act as if he's the Cowboys assistant GM is one of this organization's grand mysteries.
THERE WILL BE ANOTHER BAR BRAWL STORY: There will be another "breaking-news'' story of another Cowboy in trouble. In the next few weeks. Not a star. Just another guy who thinks he is.
By the way: I am not "guessing'' that this will happen. I am not "predicting'' this. The incident already happened. Now it's just a matter of whether it'll hit the papers.
T.O. a Goner in Dallas?
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