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So T.O. Is Gone

Terrell Owens has been released, what happens now?

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So T.O. is gone, now what?

Jerry Jones has finally stepped up and rid the Dallas Cowboys of their number one troublemaker.

At least, that is what the pundits and critics are saying. For them, the release of Terrell Owens makes the Cowboys a better team - a sort of addition by subtraction.

Overall, the move to release Owens has been met by praise from most members of the media and fans alike.

But, I'm not one who favors the move.

No, Terrell Owens is no saint. Still, he was a very productive member of the Dallas Cowboys. Some point to his numbers and say he is on the decline and no longer an elite receiver. Still, he managed to post yet another 1,000 yard/10 touchdown season, and that was considered a down year. Personally, I believe the lack of creativity in the offense, more specifically, failure on the part of offensive coordinator, Jason Garrett, had more to do with his statistical drop-off than diminishing skills.

Had Owens lost a step? He actually seemed like he was faster this season.

Off the field, Owens has been labeled a distraction or cancer. However, everything seemed to be going okay until the big fiasco involving Owens, Garrett, Romo, and Witten. And, in all honesty, none of us truly know what transpired. The only information leaked to the public came from ESPN's Ed Werder and his "sources". The "sources" were never identified. It did seem though that whoever the "sources" were, they definitely had an agenda. Much like the talking heads at ESPN who seemed like they were on a mission to get Owens released from the Cowboys.

I found it particularly funny listening to ESPN analysts Keyshawn Johnson and Chris Carter lambast T.O. at every opportunity for demanding the ball more. These are two individuals who pretty much did the same thing during their careers. Keyshawn even took it one step further and wrote a book. I guess he has forgotten about that.

All we really have to go on is what Owens said public ally. Yes, he did criticize Garrett and even Romo. But was he wrong in doing so? I don't think so. We, as fans, all saw it. And if we're completely honest, we all thought it too. Owens simply voiced it - and, was vilified by some of the fans and media for doing so.

When the Cowboys were 13-3, and Owens was getting the ball, he was model teammate. Last season, the team went 9-7, and he wasn't getting the ball, and he was upset. So, he doesn't like losing. Or, better yet, he like several other superstars, felt like he could help the team win if he had the ball in his hands.

Isn't that what we want from our top players?

I wonder what the reactions would have been if Jason Witten had made the same statements?

Would he have been vilified? Or, heralded a leader?

I guess we'll never know.

In listening to Jerry Jones, he insisted that this move had nothing to do with locker room chemistry, but everything to do with change. He also stated that his belief in wide receiver Roy Williams was a major reason for his decision. But, clearly that is not the case. Jerry, uncharacteristically, bowed to the pressure by the media, fans, and some of the people on his staff. Jerry didn't want to release T.O. You have to believe that after witnessing the success of Arizona and the success of their "81/11 tandem", Jerry had visions of the Cowboys being able to duplicate or surpass them with their own tandem.

But, Jerry decided to cave in. And he sided with those who wanted T.O. gone. None more so than Jason Garrett, who by all of accounts, told Jones he didn't feel he and Owens could co-exist.

So now what?

If I'm offensive coordinator, Jason Garrett, I'm feeling the immense pressure.

Even without Owens on the team, the Cowboys have a tremendous amount of talent on offense. They still have the offensive line, Romo, Witten, Bennett, Williams, and their trio of running backs. In my opinion the X-factor is going to be Miles Austin. No disrespect to Patrick Crayton, he proved that he can be a decent 2nd receiver. But, he is much more effective in the slot but lacks the outside speed the Cowboys need. Austin has the size and speed. He has shown flashes that he is capable of being a 2. He just hasn't been consistent, mostly due to injury. But, if he is able to step up and be a force, this offense has the ability to be very potent.

That is where Garrett comes in. It will be up him to create mismatches, and free up his playmakers to make plays. He won't have the luxury of teams doubling Owens on nearly every play, so he is going to have to be creative - something, he definitely wasn't last season.

Of course, Romo will have to prove that he is the franchise quarterback Jones believes he is as well.

But, that is a topic for another discussion.

As for Garret though, I'm not sure he is up to the tasks, but he had better be. It is not a good sign when opposing defenders comment that your offense is one of the simplest to figure out. And, if the offense is still stagnant much like it was towards the end of last season, he no longer has the Original 81 to point the finger at.

The bright lights will shine squarely on him. And, if he fails, he will no longer be the coach in waiting.

He'll be amongst the unemployed. Or, at least should be.

The Wizard has spoken.


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11 Comments
  • https://insidethestar.com/about/ Bryson Treece

    Bryan, I agree exactly. Cutting TO will be a good thing for this team if for no other reason than because we can move forward without being held hostage by his demands and distractions.

  • Bryan Martin

    This is what is boils down too. In my opinion the exit of T.O. is the introduction to a balanced efficient offense. T.O. (though great) demanded too much, his demands took away from every players productions. It took away from our rushing game, and spreading the ball around. Sure we’re loosing a playmaker, but Jerry’s been around, he’s not always right but in this case he is.

  • https://insidethestar.com/about/ Bryson Treece

    It isn’t only a good thing to have one player consistently draw double coverage. Think about it, anywhere he lined up he had two guys on him, which can shut down that side of the field if they’re playing zone on him.

    Not to mention, it’s easier for other teams to simply put two guys on him because it’s a threat you know is there, and you know how to take it away, by making defenses spread out more, you can take advantage of mismatches.

  • http://www.cowboysfanrebellion.com Craig Cotton

    TO being gone does several things.

    1. He is no longer in the ear of Garrett, which eases the pressure on Romo to get him the ball.

    2. He is no longer getting jammed at the line of scrimmage, throwing off all timing.

    3. He is no longer going to have the ball forced to him causing turnovers.

    4. This will allow Roy to step into his role as the #1 and develop with Romo.

    5. It will allow Austin (if he stays healthy) to be groomed as a #2.

    6. It allows the offense as a whole to move on, and develop as a group. It’s no longer a few receivers, and then Owens.

    7. It allows Felix to be used more in the offense on dumpoffs, and split wide.

    It allows for a lot of things, as long as Garrett will take advantage.

    http://www.CowboysFanRebellion.com

  • Bob Sanders

    this is very bad! in case you don’t remember Owens demanded duble coverage every play. other teams couldn’t play us man to man. he opened the field up for other players. all of yall talking about him wanting the ball, at least we now that he is not here to just pick up his money. he wanted to win more than almost any one on the team. I bet romo will suffer a lot for this.

  • The Wizard

    I have to disagree, having a man command double teams on each play is a huge advantage. It now means that the defense is committing an extra player in one area, thus leaving another area exposed. I can’t think of any offensive coordinator in his right mind who wouldn’t want that type of scenario.

    The problem was Jason Garrett failed to take advantage of that with his lack of creativity.

  • https://insidethestar.com/about/ Bryson Treece

    On Jason Garrett, I agree fully. Have said it myself many times, as you know.

    But anytime you become predictable to another team, that’s a bad thing. Teams were doubling on Owens so much that they got to find out to do it best, and what happened? Only Witten was able to do much, and that was that much.

    Point is, you’re right, double coverage is a coordinators dream because it should leave a hole somewhere else. Now may Garrett was the sole reason for not finding that hole, but I’m thinking that once he proved he couldn’t find the hole, other teams clamped down and forced us to run five or six plays over and over. How is that a good example of what double coverage gets you?

  • https://insidethestar.com/about/ Bryson Treece

    That bugged the hell out of me watching that week in and week out. Garrett certainly cemented it as fact that he didn’t do enough with how that played out, in addition to how he completely abandoned the running game when we still had Felix and Barber at Washington the first time around.

    That’s my biggest concern right for this team, is whether Garrett will start running an offense or not. The offense playing good wins games, and that keep everyone pumped up and playing better.

  • The Wizard

    I agree completely with what you’re saying but I lay the blame for that completely on the shoulders of Garrett.

    After Green Bay provided the blueprint, every team played the exact offense and Garrett did nothing to counter what they were doing. The easiest thing he could have done was put Owens in motion more often. Motion makes it extremely to jam and to set your double team. But, no, he decided to leave Owens basically in one place and basically allow teams to dictate what the offense was able to do. For the life, I could not figure out why he refused to make adjustments. Maybe, it was an ego thing.

  • http://www.cowboysfanrebellion.com Craig Cotton

    Teams stopped having to double TO during the last half of the year last season. They realized that if they pressed him at the line, he couldn’t gain separation, and was easily contained. Blame Garrett some for not putting him in motion more often, but there is no doubt that TO is not the receiver he once was.

    http://www.CowboysFanRebellion.com

  • https://insidethestar.com/about/ Bryson Treece

    Good point Craig

Dallas Cowboys

5 Points: Analyzing the 2018 Dallas Cowboys Schedule

Sean Martin

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5 Points: Thoughts on the 2018 Dallas Cowboys Schedule 1
Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Every year around this time, sports fans everywhere are reminded of just how dominant the National Football League is. The NFL schedule release is literally just the sharing of a calendar that has little meaning until after next week's NFL Draft, but still dominates headlines both before and after the event.

If the Dallas Cowboys are going to return to the playoffs in 2018, we now know the path they will take -- beginning on September 9th in Carolina against the Panthers.

Here are five of my initial thoughts on this team's schedule.

1. "Early" Bye Week Still Later Than Recent Seasons

The Cowboys' bye week falls in week eight this season, which is certainly nothing new. This team is used to having their bye earlier in the season, but week eight is actually the latest it's been over the last three seasons.

In Dak Prescott's rookie season, the Cowboys rolled to six straight wins following their bye week - all part of a longer 11 game win streak. In 2017, the Cowboys played their final three games with Ezekiel Elliott after the bye, improving to 5-3 and inspiring hope for a salvageable season before further injuries piled up.

This season, the Cowboys will come out of their bye week to host Monday Night Football at AT&T Stadium against the Tennessee Titans.

5 Points: Thoughts on the 2018 Dallas Cowboys Schedule

2. AFC South to Play A Huge Factor

Speaking of the Titans, it is the NFC East's year to face off against the AFC South. This has been an unpredictable division as of late, with the Jacksonville Jaguars emerging as early favorites following their improbable run to the AFC Championship Game.

Unlike the NFC East, the AFC South has been decided by who maintains stability at quarterback. The Colts are hoping to contend with Andrew Luck back on the field in 2018, as are the Texans with second-year QB Deshaun Watson.

The Titans overhauled their coaching staff in hopes of progressing QB Marcus Mariota further to make a run at the playoffs once again.

For the Cowboys, their meetings with the AFC South will carry extra weight - as all but one of them precedes a divisional game in some sense. Following back to back games at the Texans and home against the Jaguars, the Cowboys will visit the Redskins in week seven.

The first shot Dallas will get at the defending Super Bowl champions will be November 11th in Philadelphia, two weeks removed from their bye after facing the Titans.

Coming out of two games in 12 days through weeks 12 (Thanksgiving) and 13, the Cowboys will have little chance to come up for air against the Eagles in week 14. Their chance to regroup may come the following week, with a favorable December road game in Indianapolis against the Colts.

3. Revenge Against the Falcons

The Cowboys' week 10 game a year ago in Atlanta is truly where the 2017 season was lost. Playing without Ezekiel Elliott, the Cowboys looked lost on offense thanks to the added absence of All-Pro Left Tackle Tyron Smith.

The Cowboys' fight to carry on at 5-4 was buried into the Falcons' new turf, as was Dak Prescott that afternoon, sacked eight times.

Only a week removed on the calendar from meeting the Falcons on the same date, the Cowboys will again play at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in week 11 this season. The chance for revenge against the Falcons will also mark the only pair of consecutive road games this 2018 Dallas Cowboys team will play.

Cowboys en Español: 3

Dallas Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott (AP Photo/Brandon Wade)

4. Running Through December

The national media may not want you to know that the Cowboys are a combined 6-2 in December over the last two seasons, as this team's fabled late season collapses remain a topic of conversation.

This point also stands as a great example of why breaking down team schedules in April is often a pointless exercise, but not obsessing over every twist and turn of the NFL as a yearly hobby is no fun. According to me.

It is no secret that the Cowboys will be relying heavily on Ezekiel Elliott in 2018, expecting their star running back to suit up for 16 games and carry the offense. If you believe that Prescott and Elliott paired together full-time again is enough reason for optimism about the Cowboys, their December schedule becomes even more favorable.

Aside from playing three of the four games indoors and away from the elements, the Cowboys will face three of the worst rushing defenses in yards per game allowed from last season in December. With the Eagles being the glaring exception (leading the league in this category), the Cowboys should have their way on the ground with the Colts, Buccaneers, and Giants over their final three games.

5. Thanksgiving Tradition

For the second time in three seasons, the Dallas Cowboys will host the Washington Redskins on Thanksgiving. The Cowboys were victorious on Thanksgiving in 2016 over the Redskins, 31-26.

The Cowboys have only lost to the Redskins once on Thanksgiving, facing them a total of eight times and dropping a 2012 bout with Washington 38-31 (Robert Griffin III's rookie season with the Redskins).

Riding a four game winning streak against the Redskins, the Cowboys get to face an Alex Smith led Washington team on Thanksgiving to wrap up their first series against the NFC East. Following week 12, the Cowboys will still have meetings with the Eagles and New York Giants.

Some may look at this year's division as a two-team race, but counting absolutely any team out of an NFC East race is foolish - even more so in April.

✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭

By this time next week, the Dallas Cowboys have a chance to look entirely different - adding as many as ten players at the 2018 NFL Draft. Only then will we have a better feel for how they stack up against this 2018 schedule.

Stay posted right here to Inside The Star for draft coverage live from Dallas, as I will be at AT&T Stadium for all seven rounds of picks alongside Slant Sports Draft Analyst Nick Flaherty.

Tell us what you think about "5 Points: Analyzing the 2018 Dallas Cowboys Schedule" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!


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Player News

Cowboys TE James Hanna Retiring

Jess Haynie

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James Hanna

In an unexpected bit of pre-draft news, Dallas Cowboys backup tight end James Hanna will be retiring after six seasons. He was drafted by the Cowboys in sixth round of the 2012 NFL Draft.

The news of Hanna's retirement was first reported by ESPN's Todd Archer:

Todd Archer on Twitter

The Cowboys will place James Hanna on the reserve/retired list as the tight end could not get over a serious knee condition that troubled him for most of the last two seasons, according to sources. Hanna was not involved in the early part of the team's... https://t.co/45BAZ2avSC

Hanna, who turns 29 in July, missed all of 2016 with that knee issue and has had two surgeries. He was active for all 16 games last season but wasn't used much on offense, only having four catches. James did catch his first and only NFL touchdown in the team's Week 4 loss to the Los Angeles Rams.

Many thought Hanna would be a salary cap casualty this offseason, but a retirement has the same effect on the cap. The Cowboys now save $2.75 million off his scheduled $3.5 mullion cap hit in 2018.

James Hanna has stuck around this long thanks to being a proficient blocker and one of the standout players on special teams. Geoff Swaim, entering the final year of his rookie deal, will likely be trusted to fill those roles.

That said, tight end was already a targeted position for the Cowboys in next week's draft. Losing Hanna only give the team more incentive to add more talent.


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Player News

Optimistic Reports Emerge Around Randy Gregory

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Randy Gregory, Eagles
Eric Hartline / USA TODAY Sports

Good news are coming to Dallas just in time. Less than a week from now, the NFL Draft will be held in the Cowboys' home, the AT&T Stadium. But the team may count with a defensive talent many in Cowboys Nation have tried to forget for a while now. Randy Gregory's comeback may just happen.

There's a lot of positions in the roster that need more help than the defensive end one, but after finding the "War Daddy" Jerry Jones has always wanted in DeMarcus Lawrence, finding a RDE this offseason would be a dream scenario.

Sure, there's a lot of young talent in this football team and they'll be coming off a season that put a chip on their shoulders. Even so, they'll need all the help they can get.

Fortunately for the Cowboys, some help could come in form of a very talented pass rusher. Randy Gregory is reportedly applying for reinstatement very soon and according to Mike Fisher and Bobby Belt, there are positive reports around the situation.

Bobby Belt on Twitter

Randy Gregory update: I'm told there is real momentum building. He is expected to apply for reinstatement in the week or two following next week's NFL Draft.

Cowboys Nation last saw the second round pick back in 2016, but his potential shouldn't be forgotten. Of course, the Cowboys shouldn't be considering Gregory for their 2018 plans, simply because there's risk of him not being available.

Even still, Dallas may get lucky at defensive end. After DeMarcus Lawrence has a breakout season in 2017, imagine the defensive line with Randy Gregory reinstated and rehabilitated to exploit his talent in the NFL.

mike fisher ✭ on Twitter

UPDATE: We're told Randy Gregory camp is ready to present to NFL the fact the #Cowboys DE has passed a large number of drug tests, hasn't failed one since July 2016. https://t.co/Hjgu2CqRtC

Despite some TMZ "reports", it looks like Gregory has been clean for a while. It sure should make Cowboys' fans happy and not only form a football perspective. A comeback would definitely be something amazing. He has a chance to write a unique story for himself.

Everyone likes second-chance stories. Gregory is a guy who had his share of problems. By coming back to the NFL, he's showing players and fans that change is possible. This wouldn't just be epic for Dallas Cowboys fans but NFL fans in general.

If Dallas is fortunate enough to see Gregory reinstated by the NFL, their fight in the trenches might see a big upgrade next season. Randy still has a lot to work on and he might not even be a starter right away, but the potential is right there.

The Cowboys could become a team capable of dominating the line of scrimmage both on offense and on defense.

Hopefully, Gregory is able to come back and shine as a professional player. He, and NFL fans deserve a story like that.

Tell me what you think about "Optimistic Reports Emerge Around Randy Gregory" in the comments below, or tweet me @PepoR99 and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!


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