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Cowboys Aren’t Hinged By T.O.

Bryson Treece

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With all the talk about Terrell Owens and whether he'll be in a Cowboys uniform next year, the subject of whether or not we can sustain a potent passing game without him has been raised. It's something that nobody has the answers on, but it makes me wonder, why don't we?

What is it about Roy Williams that says he can't handle the load without T.O. across the field? Perhaps the best argument against him is that he played for the Lions until last year, and I know this because I've seen it written in so many places, and by so many people. The popular opinion is that he sucks because he was with the Lions.

People like to throw out there that he's only had one season over 1,000 yards, but what I don't understand is why the same amount of logic isn't placed on both sides of the discussion.

He played for the Lions ... when is the last time the Lions did anything notable in their passing game? Even I had Mike Furrey on my fantasy team a couple of years ago, but that was also the same year in which Williams got his 1,000 yards, so something was obviously working better that year.

So he comes to Dallas, narrowly escaping a full claim to the worst season in NFL history, and he catches 19 passes for a couple hundred yards. The truth is that Williams, while he caught fewer passes than he could have, was only about 3 yards per catch behind Owens. That means that had our offense not collapsed from mid-season on, he could have ended up with more yards than Owens. Sure, it's not likely since Owens is the number one wide out, but it's possible that he could have without him doing anything different.

That has to make you wonder something, how can we be facing such trouble without Owens when Williams was producing at a similar level per catch? Now watch that, I said per catch. A lot went into why Williams had fewer catches, some of it was his fault, some of it wasn't, so we can't really make claim to the cause in either direction.

What we do know is, even after Jerry Jones so cryptically told the attending reporters at his press conference yesterday that they weren't going to get the answer they wanted, that even if he does cut Owens loose, he wasn't the only guy producing.

T.O. was the only player at a skill position playing in every game of the season.

T.O. did have a blow out game against his former team, nearly breaking his own career record for yards in a game.

None of that says that this team won't produce over the top should he be gone in 7 months. And to say that we need to pick up another receiver either through the draft or free agency is just idiotic. Why would the Cowboys risk bringing in another player as a project from the draft when we still have Stanback, Austin, and Hurd who have yet to progress past that same status?

Why would we bring in another free agent receiver when we've got Williams not playing up to his ability last season; Owens the center of a bigger fuss than Bill Clinton, and the other free agent wide outs we've brought in during this decade that have quite literally flopped?

A lot of what's being said centers around the attention that Owens gets, some off the field, and some on the field. Can this team be any good without Owens occupying double coverage? Well, tell me this, how did Michael Irvin do it all those years? He was never the fastest receiver; he was just a go-up-and-grab-it type of guy. For all accounts, Williams is that type of guy also, he's just never had a QB worth $60 million throwing it to him.

Give it an off-season, a full training camp and preseason, and you'll see that Owens is going to get more competition from his right than from the defensive backs facing him.



Nothing gives me greater joy than the experience of being a Dallas Cowboys fan come time to check another victory on the schedule every Sunday. I live Inside the Star everyday and blog on it occasionally, as well. Follow us on Twitter - @InsideTheStarDC

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9 Comments
  • https://insidethestar.com/ Bryson Treece

    At this point I fear the chances of that are equal to the chances of getting Irvin back in uniform. But it’s a nice though. Surely Garrett won’t feel like he can do anything less than make the needed changes. Even if he does it wrong, if he can’t adjust after the 2008 season, he won’t be around as an OC much longer.

  • Joe C

    Yeah I agree with you, like I have been saying give ALL of them time in the off season and training camp to come together and mesh together and everything should be ok, depending on if J Garrett can figure shit out, which I HOPE he can.

  • ALISON

    I THINK THE COWBOYS SHOULD OUST TERRELL OWENS QUICKLY. HE ISNT DOIN ANYTHING FOR THE TEAM ALWAYS DROPPIN THE BALLS AND THEN SOME. THEY NEED TO TAKE SOME OF THAT MONEY AND INVEST IN SOME OF THESE UP AND COMING RECEIVERS AND SOME GREAT RECEIVERS WILLING TO TRADE OFF. AS I WAS SAYIN BEFORE THE PLAYOFFS IT DOESNT ONLY TAKE ON MAN TO PLAY THE GAME BUT IT ALSO TAKES GREATNESS LIKE MICHAEL WAS ALONGSIDE ALVIN HARPER TO WIN GAMES. HE NEEDS A GREAT RECIEVER ALONG SIDE OF HIM. AND AS FOR JASON GARRET HE KNOWS WHAT HES DOING, I HAVE WATCHED HIM HELP OUT THEM WINNING COWBOYS BACK IN THE 90’S WHEN TROY WAS INJURED AND HE PLAYED GREAT. JERRY JONES NEED TO STOP TRYING TO BE THE DAMN COACH AND LET HIS COACHES WORK!

  • Joe C

    What money are you referring to Allison? If we cut Owens we take a huge hit on our cap and we already don’t have much to work with because we still have our free agents to worry about too. Besides we don’t need to spend money to get a better receiver, we already have 3 primed and ready. And I don’t know which game you were watching this past season, but Garrett def. didn’t know what to do with his receivers. Not sure if that’s why Romo was improvising and changing the plays from what Garrett had called or not, but that can be my only guess. He needs to figure his offense out and if not it’s just like Bryce has said, he will def. be gone for the 2010 season and will prolly not be pursued by any high paying decent teams next year after another piss poor performance. I can only hope that he figures shit out and gets on track with his receivers and the likes.

  • https://insidethestar.com/ Bryson Treece

    With what you say though … Owens and Williams should both be drawing double coverage, which I believe will be as close to the case as possible next year. Of course team can’t always double two receivers, but they’re going to try. That should open up other things a lot.

    But Garrett is going to have to be careful with what he does, cause if you load up too much on one play, like Barber and Jones, Witten, T.O., and Williams, you’ll get a lot more man coverage and cover 2, which can be more dangerous if everyone isn’t on the same page.

    Good points though.

  • Shaun Wellman

    I dont know what kind of pitch and catch system they were running in Detroit after Mike Martz departed, but the offensive scheme in Dallas is very, very complicated.

    One guy not on the same page with the QB can bust an entire play.

    The biggest mistake made after Roy Williams arrived was giving him Patrick Craytons job in only his second game. That decision reduced P.C.’s role and production, and also played what I think is the biggest part of why the offense went to shit after Romo went down, and did’nt seem much better after he came back.

    P.C. was the starter for all of 07 until Glenn came back for the last game of the regular season and the playoff game against the Giants. Remember how disastrous that was? In 2008 P.C. came in to the mini camps and training camp and held on to his job with Hurd and Austin begining to emerge as viable replacements. You should always try your best to stick with the horse you rode in on.

    This offense has run like a machine when the recievers are schooled up in camp and know their role, but when you start messing with the chemistry that makes your team run like a cohesive unit during the season you can start expecting the worst. The incumbent “Z” receiver has lost his job to someone that was’nt part of minicamps and training camp twice in the last 2 seasons, and both times the results were season ending. The only difference is that there was a lot more season left to play in 08 than in 07.

    People saying that the trade for Roy was a bust, is bullshit. Roy is a stud reciever and will fit in much better next year when he truly knows the system. I’m looking forward to seeing him doing some heavy work over the middle and grabbing jump balls in the back of the end zone, and for now thats exactly why he was brought in. He’ll replace T.O. some day and we’ll all be glad he’s here, they just put too much on his plate last year.

    I’m also excited to see P.C. back in the slot after a full offseason of work there. He has the best hands on the team and should’nt be thought of only as the guy who dropped one. They all drop one from time to time, some alot more than others(T.O.), but P.C. is a player we should all be proud to have.

    Keep T.O. one maybe two more years at the X, Roy at the Z, P.C. in the slot, and Miles Austin coming in with that speed to take advantage of all the double teams Owens will get and we will see this offense come back to form in 09 and for years to come.

  • The Wizard

    Williams will be the number one receiver one day. But, I’m not sure that it is time for that day to come. The best scenario would be for Owens, Witten, Romo, and Garrett to sit down and straighten out whatever the problem is like men. I don’t think there is any argument to the fact that the Cowboys are a better team on the field with Owens. It would be nice to see everyone get on the same page and on the same common goal of winning a Super Bowl. It should be easy for Owens because he is not getting any younger and you have to believe that winning a championship is very important to him.

  • Frank Washington

    While I agree with this article, it should be pointed out that Hall of Famer, Michael Irvin was a Deep threat AND also would get that tough over the middle catch to move the chains. T.O. and R.Williams have’nt shown the ability to do that with any consistancy throughout their careers(Aligator arms, Dropped balls). The Cowboys current Wideouts can get the job done if Jason Garrett gets back to the drawing board, his Offense has been figured out by the rest of the league…..Jason, heres a start , put in some bunch formations. The first one is free!!………… you pay for the rest!!! GO COWBOYS!!

  • https://insidethestar.com/ Bryson Treece

    But Irvin was never that fast. He wasn’t slow … obviously … he was physical enough running his routes to get a step, and that usually translated into a deep pass taking advantage of that extra step. Owens has never been that way, and Williams hasn’t really either.

    I’m just hoping that Williams can step up and show us a few new tricks to his game in this offense. No doubt is this offense more explosive than the Lions’ over the past decade.

    Getting comfortable is going to be the key, even if Garrett doesn’t fix his end of things, Romo trusting Williams will not only help Williams get the ball, but it may start drawing double coverage away from Owens even. I’m optimistic about Williams.

Game Notes

SEA 24, DAL 13: Cowboys Offensive Woes Continue

Jess Haynie

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Ezekiel Elliott, Connor Williams, Seahawks
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Inefficient passing and turnovers cost the Dallas Cowboys today, leading to a 24-13 loss to the previously winless Seahawks in Seattle.

Dallas's offense produced just a single field goal by halftime, with Dak Prescott only completing two of his first nine passes for just four yards. He got better as the game went on, but still finished with just 168 passing yards and a single touchdown.

The box score will say Prescott threw two interceptions, but one was a bobbled catch by Michael Gallup. The other was not a good throw, trying to find Blake Jarwin in traffic. Seahawks LB Bobby Wagner went up and caused a tipped ball.

Both picks ended up in the hands, and ankle, of Seattle safety Earl Thomas. He drew a taunting penalty for bowing at the Dallas sideline on his second INT, almost as if mocking the team for not giving up enough to trade for him.

Ezekiel Elliott did have a big day on the ground; 127 yards on just 16 carries. It's his first 100-yard game of 2018. But the fact Dallas couldn't capitalize on Zeke's production was just further indication of their offensive dysfunction.

Hurry home, Travis Frederick. Who knew you were our Offensive MVP?

Other Notes

  • While Zeke did have a strong rushing performance, two critical errors were big parts of the Cowboys' loss. An early TD catch was called back because Zeke stepped out of bounds before making the reception. Also, Elliott's fumble in the 4th quarter squandered a strong drive that could have started Dallas' comeback attempt sooner.
  • Dallas' defense looked good early but clearly wore down over time. Seattle RB Chris Carson ground out 102 rushing yards on 32 carries. Russell Wilson took advantage of some miscues in the secondary for two touchdown passes and 192 passing yards.
  • Tyrone Crawford got called for another bogus "roughing the passer" penalty after a clean hit on Wilson early in the game. The NFL has to get this figured out, because it's becoming a bigger eyesore for the league than any amount of kneeling ever did.
  • Tavon Austin got his second touchdown catch this year, the only Cowboy to record a receiving TD so far this year. Tight end Geoff Swaim had five catches for 47 yards, reminding the world that Dallas actually has TEs on their roster.
  • Speaking of which, as Troy Aikman commented on during the game, Rico Gathers was not used in redzone passing situations. Why is Gathers dressing for games and not being utilized in the one situation where he's not a liability?
  • Sean Lee left the game after reaggravating the hamstring injury he suffered last week. It meant more playing time for first-round pick Leighton Vander Esch, who reminded you of Lee with how he was getting to the ball. Both finished the game credited with 11 tackles each.
  • Rookie guard Connor Williams continues to struggle when up against powerful defensive tackles. It's not a surprise for a converted college tackle, but growing pains still cost you on game day. Dallas may have to consider starting Joe Looney at guard once Travis Frederick comes back.
  • Kicker Brett Maher went 2/2 today on field goals, including a 50-yarder. He has hit four straight after missing his one attempt against Carolina in Week 1.
  • The rest of the NFC East won their games today. That puts Philly and Washington at 2-1 and now evens up the Cowboys and Giants at 1-2.
  • Dallas returns home next week to host the Detroit Lions, who are currently 0-2. They play the Patriots tonight.



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Game Notes

Why The Seahawks Will Be Looking Into A Mirror Against The Cowboys Sunday

Kevin Brady

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Sean's Scout: Starting Front 7 Sets Tone Early, Cowboys Depth Falters in Loss to Bengals 1
AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth

For the better part of the last decade one defense has reigned supreme over the NFC. One defense has continually put their offense and team in position to win big games, including a dominant Super Bowl win over one of the more productive offenses in recent memory.

That defense, of course, belonged to the Seattle Seahawks.

With a secondary deemed as the "Legion of Boom" and a defensive line which rotated through Pro Bowl level talent routinely, the Seahawks bolstered one of the best defenses the NFL has ever seen. A defense which perfectly complimented the physical, run first philosophy their offense lived by.

Players like Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas, Kam Chancellor, Michael Bennett, and Bobby Wagner will arguably be Hall of Famers one day, and they wreaked havoc on the conference for a strong 3-5 year stretch.

Now, however, things are changing.

Gone are many of the elite players which once bolstered the Seattle defense to top-tier status, and while some big names remain, the talent level simply isn't the same. The Seahawks missed the postseason a year ago, and now sit at 0-2 before their home opener today against the Cowboys.

Their window looks to be closed, while their opponent today is looking to build their defense (and team) in the mold of what once was in Seattle.

Former Seahawks defensive coordinator Kris Richard has come to Dallas and brought with him a more aggressive defensive philosophy, one which he deployed successfully with the Seahawks. Under Richard the Cowboys are blitzing more often on third down than they have in the past under Rod Marinelli, they're utilizing more single high safety looks, and they are allowing their long and talented corners to do what they do best in coverage.

The Seahawks once leaned on a deep pass rush and long, physical secondary. The 2018 Cowboys are looking to do the same thing.

The Seahawks once leaned on a mobile quarterback to make plays with his feet while relying on a strong running game and one of the league's best backs. The 2018 Cowboys are looking to do the same thing.

Byron Jones and Chidobe Awuzie look like they were molded in a 2013-Seahawks lab as cornerbacks, and DeMarcus Lawrence is as productive as any pass rusher those defenses had. Of course, we aren't able to say the Cowboys have the consistent front four depth that those Seattle teams did or that they have the single high safety of Earl Thomas' caliber, but the preliminary pieces are clearly in place.

Today the Cowboys look to improve to 2-1 with a conference road win. But, they also look to bury the Seahawks in the past and take another step towards cementing themselves as one of the elite defenses in the NFC.

It won't happen over night, but anyone can see that the potential is there.



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Player News

Could Cowboys DT Datone Jones Earn Starting Role with Maliek Collins Out?

Sean Martin

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Could Cowboys DT Datone Jones Earn Starting Role with Maliek Collins Out?

Dallas Cowboys Defensive Tackle Maliek Collins is out for Sunday's game at the Seahawks with a sprained knee, further opening the door for Datone Jones to earn his spot among the "Hot Boyz". The moniker given to the Cowboys front seven this season, the team's depth up front has been a strength in totaling nine sacks through two games.

Last season, Datone Jones was a part of this rotation late in the year. Coming on strong at the 3T position while Maliek Collins played at the 1T, Jones is the type of versatile defender with veteran experience that Rod Marinelli can get the most out of.

Returning from a knee injury himself, Jones may take some time to be the disruptive interior player we saw at the end of 2017. Through two games, the Cowboys had played Collins at his original position of 3T, with Antwaun Woods doing more than enough to continue playing at 1T.

This potentially makes Collins and Jones two players fighting for one spot. Collins followed up his performance at the Panthers with a sack of Cam Newton by constantly playing in the Giants' backfield last week.

John Owning on Twitter

Guessing that means no Irving, I'd say Tyrone Crawford then Antwaun Woods. I have high hopes for Datone Jones once he returns though. https://t.co/9frjFK2J9J

A player determined to not let his team's misuse slow down his progress, after an incredible rookie season at 3T, Collins is returning from his second broken foot in three years.

Through his five years in the NFL, Jones has only played a full 16 games once.

The most games Datone has started in a season is four. Maliek Collins should like his chances of playing over Jones once both are healthy, and the Cowboys should be equally thrilled with the opportunity to keep both fresh in rotation.

Following Sunday's game in Seattle and next week against the Lions, the Cowboys can return David Irving from suspension to play all over their defensive line - his best position also being at three technique.

Without the wealth of talent they now have at all four positions up front, the Cowboys have had too many bodies to fill similar roles in the past. Thanks to the addition of Kris Richard along with strong edge play from Taco Charlton and rookie Dorance Armstrong, the Cowboys defensive line can do no wrong in 2018, and using Jones in week three and beyond should only add to this.

The Cowboys biggest key to success against the Seahawks will be containing Russell Wilson. Pressuring him in his face to collapse the pocket gives Dallas a chance to really slow the Seahawks offense, something they'll be relying on Jones to help them do as DeMarcus Lawrence and Randy Gregory also work with favorable match ups at defensive end.

Tell us what you think about "Could Cowboys DT Datone Jones Earn Starting Role with Maliek Collins Out?" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!



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