Over the last few weeks I have had the pleasure of communicating with the creator and author of Blogging the Boys. Our conversations have covered many subjects. Dave, Raf and the rest of the guys at Blogging the boys do an exceptional job at covering the Cowboys. When Lee and I started this blog we tried to build it in the image of BTB. We continue to learn from those guys, and they have been a great help to us.
Last week Dave and I started chatting about the Terrell Owens situation. I had originally planned on this piece being a sort of round table discussion between Dave and I, but after talking with Dave for a while, decided to just approach it as an interview.
A Cowboy Nation: Do the Cowboys need Terrell Owens to win?
Dave Halprin: That's the 9 million dollar question that we're all asking. But the reverse question is just as applicable if not more so – can the Cowboys win with Terrell Owens? So far the answer is no in the sense of post-season/Super Bowl victories. The guy is obviously a tremendous talent on the field but is there a point of diminishing returns? You see this kind of problem a lot in the NBA; super-talented players who for whatever reason end up creating a situation where they are successful but the team is not. Only when they subvert their game for the betterment of the team does it end up paying off in ultimate victory. For a while, T.O. has been a pretty good teammate by not criticizing his own team but this year you could feel his frustration mounting. If things don't go well early next year, will his frustration explode? I think the odds are that it will.
A Cowboy Nation: Is T.O. taking the heat for their collapse unjustly?
Dave Halprin: Sure he is, but because he is so vocal about things that bother him he directs the media and the fan spotlight his way. This benefits him in keeping a high-profile and gets him plenty of attention which he seems to crave, but when things go south it also puts him in the cross hairs; it cuts both ways. He is absolutely not the only one responsible for the collapse, there are plenty of players/coaches to share that blame. But his past and his constant need to be in the spotlight ends up hurting him in situations like this.
A Cowboy Nation: There has also been a rumor that Jason Garrett gave the Cowboys an ultimatum, Terrell goes or he goes! While I am still on the fence with Garrett, the thought of starting over with a new OC and a new system is not high on my list of things to do. Do you think there is any truth to this? Or was it something to sell more papers?
Dave Halprin: I think there is truth to this. Garrett's comments from today at the Senior Bowl highlights the fact that he doesn't want to work with T.O. any longer.
“I certainly have a lot of respect for him as a player,” Garrett said. “And we'll just leave it at that.”
Garrett is basically saying he's a great player but outside of that he's killing me. That was the most explicit, non-explicit answer he could have given. Whether Jerry Jones acts on the ultimatum or tells Garrett he'll just have to deal with it is another question all together, one none of us can answer.
A Cowboy Nation: There are a lot of people that believe the mental state of this team was more the problem than the scheme or coaching. Is it possible for this coaching staff to work through those issues and keep Terrell Owens “happy”? Or do those two things simply not go together?
Dave Halprin: It's possible in some situations but I get the feeling it's not in this one. Jason Garrett and Tony Romo obviously like Jason Witten as a main target, they will also try to emphasize the run more next year. They need to get Roy Williams more involved in the offense, too. All of that will take away from the amount of times plays are directed at Owens. I think it's a situation that would deteriorate as time goes on.
A Cowboy Nation: I am of the belief that the Cowboys have painted themselves into a corner on this Terrell Owens thing, whether they meant to or not. Whomever the anonymous source is (there seems to be several of these in Valley Ranch) has forced their hand. If they do not release him they run a very serious risk of a large T.O. explosion, I already can see another shirtless T.O. doing push ups in his driveway. Is there even a way for them to keep T.O. now without a large explosion? And if this is possible does that come at the risk of another year of Tony forcing the ball to T.O. just to try and keep him happy?
Dave Halprin: The only way for they can keep the T.O. situation from getting worse is if they manage to find a way to get him the ball regularly and not do it at the expense of having a balanced offense that can win games. If they lose games, he won't be happy and will continue to highlight his unhappiness. If they win games but he's not a major factor, he'll be less unhappy but will still probably voice his opinion that he should be involved more. If they can find a way to win and get him his numbers, things will be fine but that's the problem. For the Cowboys to be successful they need to emphasize the running game more, we have a trio of extremely talented running backs, and they will always need Witten for those clutch third downs plays. Add they need to get Roy Williams more involved, he'll be here much longer than T.O. will, making it all work will be very difficult.
Hope you all enjoyed the Interview with Dave! Make sure you all go by and see Dave and the guys.