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Talking Owens, from a reader

Bryson Treece

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Got a comment today from a reader, and I want to expand on what he correctly identified as another topic. The Wizard wrote:

I’m in agreement with you about Garrett, who I truly believe is the biggest problem on the team right now. People can point at TO all they want. But, when they were 13-3 and Owens was heavily involved in the offense there were no problems. In fact, he was being called a model teammate. Now, with Sparano gone and Garrett’s reluctance to use Owens more effectively he was upset.

But, that is another topic.

Something that always comes to mind about T.O. is what he says about getting the ball, “When I get the ball, good things happen.” He’s right, when he gets the ball, the Cowboys win the game, and that has yet to be proven otherwise.

Owens caused a lot of distractions late this year in his interview with Sanders where he called out Garrett’s scheme. He started an uproar when he had a meeting with Garrett about his perceptions of ball distribution. And he has been labeled as a trouble maker since he left San Francisco after problems, only to start a similar problem with his new team, the Eagles. We all know this stuff.

I write that here because of the need for some background on this post, but also because it doesn’t seem like knowing things about Owens is enough make any difference.

We know that he wants the ball, and we know we win when he gets his way, yet we translate that into not winning because he doesn’t get his way, and that’s just not the case. I’m one these people that still has issues with him because of watching him give up on a route only to have the ball thrown his way, but because had stopped running, it was picked off. I’d like to see and hear some accountability over that from him, and the coaches, and Tony Romo.

If Tony wants to lead this team, a good way to show it would be to call out that “certain influential receiver” in front of the team for those few times when he did give up on a play. Hard not to follow a guy that can do that for the team, and if Owens would respond badly to that, hard to find a reason to keep him at that point. There’s virtually no loss there.

Anyway … I firmly believe that Owens only has a problem when we lose. How many times did anyone hear him talk about getting the ball when we were winning games? Now with that said, the first game lost and he’s back at it again with none other than Prime Time himself on ESPN.

So he could use a few pointers on how to better direct his grievances, but to say, or act like, because he has grievances that he is the reason the team lost some ballgames is just ridiculous. If that were the case, we’d have only needed one of the Trio to win those three Super Bowls, an obvious fiction to say the least.

So like The Wizard says above in his comment, people can point at T.O. all they want. He’s used to it, and has made it clear that he can handle it. But as was demonstrated for us all so painfully in December, this team cannot, so cut the crap and focus on the real problems. If we stop losing games, T.O. will never say a word, will he?

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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
  • The Wizard

    Well put.

    I agree that Owens needs to ir his grievances better. But, that is easy for me to see being that I don’t constantly have a mic or camera in my face.

    I’m glad you made references to his past. It seems like people want to focus on those incidents instead of judging him solely based on what he has done/said with the Cowboys. Personally, I thought he was right in Philly too. What he said about McNabb was absolutely accurate and many people were thinking and feeling the same thing. To put it bluntly, McNabb did cost the Eagles that Super Bowl. If you were a player who played his heart out on a foot that he had no business playing on then watched your QB puke on the most important drive of the game, what would you say or feel?

    As for his route running, he needs to improve it – period. As for beating the jam, he needs to work on it. Maybe he can enlist a martial artist to help him in that area.

    But, to blame TO for all the teams problems is ridiculous.

    Look at his stats. He had an off year and had to play 3 games with a quarterback who can’t throw the ball more than 10 yards down the field.

    And, as you stated, when he gets the ball in his hands good things happen.

  • Bryson

    Absolutely on all counts. And thanks for the lead …

    It’s like they said on the Ranch report the other day, a team leader, you know, the leader on a team is usually beyond reproach. With Owens’ past transgressions, justified or not, it’s hard for him to be the leader that he obviously has the heart to be because you can always point out something he did way back when.

    But in Dallas, it’s those past issues that instigate the current issues, and he’s not even the one instigating it. That’s not the kind of accountability that this team needs, not in the locker room, not in the offices, and not from the fans.

    But as you point out, he does need to improve his game. His natural abilities have declined as he ages, which itself is natural. So he needs to account for that in some other way. But even if he doesn’t, he’s still a good receiver and an asset to this team.

  • The Wizard

    Completely agree. As far as his declining skills, which is natural, that is where I blame the coaching.

    Everything was going good this season until the Green Bay game. Even with the Cowboys winning teams saw a blueprint as to how to take Owens out of the game. Garrett had to know that other teams would try the same thing being that the NFL is such a copycat league. Still, I watched and I’m sure you did too, every opponent from there on out employ basically the same defensive plans. Garrett didn’t make any adjustments until later in the season and those really didn’t make much of a difference.

    I really hate to harp on the 07 season, but what they did with Owens that year was fantastic. They lined him up in the backfield on occassion, put him in motion, etc… And, Owens, Witten, and Crayton all had great seasons.

    Now, all of a sudden this year Garrett just completely abandoned the things that were successful in the previous season and watched this offense regress. Personally, I would think bad of Owens if he didn’t speak up. To me that would mark a person who was just wanting to collect his paycheck regardless of his performance. In a nutshell all he said is that he wanted the ball and wanted to run routes that took advantage of his abilities. I find nothing wrong with that at all.

  • Bryson

    Heck no. I don’t even blame Garrett for trying something new this season, but it took few games to see that it was different and that opposing defenses had an answer for it.

    My motto is don’t fix it if it ain’t broken. Not sure what Garrett has against that, but he obviously doesn’t feel the same way.

    That’s the one bright spot I see with Garrett coming back for next year. He got a big ass slap in the face by his own scheme. It shouldn’t be hard for him to find his way back to a more aggressive, elusive, and imaginative scheme like what was used in 2007.

  • Bryson

    Especially with a running threat that is ten times the threat it was in ’07.

  • The Wizard

    I don’t blame hism for trying something new either. Good coordinators do that. But, completely abandoning what they did last season was foolish. If he simply looked at how he could counter what the Giants did in the playoffs to slow down the offense and incorporated a few things I think he would have been better served.

    But, that is why I don’t get paid the big bucks.

    I do think bringing him and the coaching staff back is a good idea. Everyone has something to prove now. I would like to believe that Wade and Garrett both have pride and want nothing more than to prove the naysayers wrong. Now, if that is the case and they can communicate that to their team and use that as the motivation for next season, the Cowboys will be tough to beat.

  • Bryson

    You’re right about that. There is a whole database of knowledge to be obtained simply by studying the three games against the Giants in 2007. From one game to the next, the Giants D changed to be more effective against our O, and they finally got it right in the last game.

    Looking at what could have caused them to make certain adjustments could tell Garrett loads about how his scheme looks to an opposing team. It only gets better when you include the fact the Giants are a division rival, a team that knows our game as much as any team can.

    It’s also a plus on that note to think that they went on to win the Super Bowl with their adjustments. That lends a ton of credibility to Spags and the changes he made, making the use of his adjustments as a basis for improving our offense the most logical solution to our problems on the field in 2008.

    It doesn’t account for the distractions and media bull, but it certainly makes Garrett look smart if he gets it done that way.

  • Tay

    What I do not understand is how people keep trying to bring Owens past in San Francisco or Philly into this? It is a convient arguement for many, but I’m not convinced. In San Fran it was about his contract, in Philly it was about money he was owed that everyone knew Philly wasn’t going to pay. The only problem he has spoken out about here is his lack of involvment in the game plan and the was he is being misused in the system.
    The talk this season has been that he does not run good routes, he quits on routes, he drops balls, he can’t beat press coverage. Well my question is how is it that he has been able to put up all the stats he has in his career if these things are true? How did he put up the numbers he did last season and catch as many balls and touchdowns if he wasn’t running good routes or was quitting on routes all of the time?
    Now he might have trouble now getting off the line against press coverage, but how do you alleviate that? It’s easy, and Owens has said numerous of times how to do it, you put him in motion more so that he can get a free release. Or here’s a thought how bout lining him up in the slot and run a slant pattern? It’s amazing to me when I see other teams use this one simple route and kill team yet the ‘Boys can’t seem to effectively put it to use, same as the RB screen.
    I’m not trying to come off as an Owens apologist, I’m just saying that all the talk of the failures this season being his fault or him destroying the locker room is overblown. He’s an easy target for the media and fans, because he speaks his mind and says what most won’t. It’s mentioned that his calling out of Garret’s scheme in the interview with Sander’s was the starting point of the team’s downward spiral. Well if he was wrong, then why did opponets say these same things the last 4 weeks? Why did Romo himself say the same things after the last two games?
    Is T.O. “Mr. Innocent” no, is he deserving of all the blame being put on him by the media and fans, absolutely NOT! AT some point, we have to look past the easy target and look at the heart of the problem and this season it was the coaching staff and their inability to come up with effective game plans and make proper in-game adjustments…

  • Bryson

    Tay, those are my points exactly.

    But it gets a little more involved with what you bring up, about him dropping balls and beating press coverage, and not running good routes. Every player drops catchable balls, but those same players don’t complain about not getting the ball after a spell of a lot of dropped balls like Owens did. More of a point for him to better address the situation than anything.

    He gets the numbers he does in a season, particularly 2008, because of a few things, of which being his complaints causing action. We all know that Romo forced the ball his way a lot this year, and that can’t always be a bad thing, especially when Owens is the guy being thrown to. He can make things happen to come down with the ball. That helps to get his numbers and production up despite drops and whatnot, while also adding huge risks for turnovers. We saw this year the latter of the two was most concerning.

    The talk is overblown about T.O. But the point still stands, and hopefully not for much longer, that the OC has got to find a way to utilize this player better. An argument could be made for Garrett trying to do that and nothing worked, but Owens has shown that if you can’t find a way to get him open more, then you’re not trying hard enough.

    I think we all agree that Garrett’s calls were often very vanilla and he didn’t even try to move Owens around most games. You’ve got to put a player like that in bad matchups on the opposing defense. You can’t let them just stick their best cover guy to him all the time, because the best on the best equals not much at all.

Dallas Cowboys

Sanjay Lal Hired As Cowboys WR Coach

Sean Martin

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Sanjay Lal Hired As Cowboys WR Coach

After hiring Paul Alexander to fill their vacant OL coaching position, the Dallas Cowboys are continuing to retool their offensive staff below Scott Linehan. Sanjay Lal has been hired to coach the Cowboys’ wide receivers, replacing Derek Dooley.

Lal has experience as a WR coach with four different teams, dating back to 2009 with the Oakland Raiders. He was promoted up to this position after serving as the Raiders’ quality control coach from 2007-08.

David Moore on Twitter

Sources: Cowboys have reached an agreement with Sanjay Lal to become the team’s WR coach. Lal was with Indianapolis last season and replaces Derek Dooley on the staff.

Most recently, Sanjay Lal coached the receivers for the Indianapolis Colts in 2017. He has also been with the Buffalo Bills and New York Jets.

In this interview with the Colts, Lal mentions being very detail-oriented with a focus on the technical aspects of playing receiver.

Lal beats out former Cowboys WR Miles Austin for this position, earning the right to lead a room of receivers in desperate need of fresh talent. In an offseason that’s been about finding fresh ideas with the coaching staff so far though, the Cowboys have a new voice on offense.

Tell us what you think about “Sanjay Lal Hired As Cowboys WR Coach” in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!

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Dallas Cowboys

Cowboys Losing Linebackers Coach Matt Eberflus to Colts

Jess Haynie

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Matt Eberflus, Sean Lee

Multiple sources are reporting Matt Eberflus — who has been the linebackers coach and passing game coordinator for the Dallas Cowboys — will leave to join the Indianapolis Colts as the new defensive coordinator. Eberflus has been with Dallas since 2011, having joined Rob Ryan’s staff when Ryan become the coordinator for the Cowboys’ defense.

He has been the linebackers coach during his entire Dallas tenure and was also named passing game coordinator in 2016.

Tom Pelissero on Twitter

With Josh McDaniels ticketed for the #Colts, former #Cowboys assistant Matt Eberflus is expected to come along as defensive coordinator, I’m told. Lot of parts falling in place now.

If not the Colts, some thought Matt Eberflus might end up replacing Matt Patricia as the defensive coordinator in New England. Either way, it does not appear Dallas could have kept him around while Rod Marinelli remains in his current position.

Eberflus’ work in Dallas speaks for itself, and primarily through LB Sean Lee.

He has been Lee’s position coach for all but his rookie season, and in that time Lee has been one of the top defensive players in all of football.

Beyond Lee, Eberflus has also been able to get quality play out of mid-round picks like Anthony Hitchens and Damien Wilson. We also saw Jaylon Smith make significant progress this season.

Given Matt Eberflus has never worked with Josh McDaniels before, the fact he was on the Colts’ radar says a lot.

Make no mistake; the Cowboys lost a good one here.

Don’t panic, however. Coach Marinelli has cast a very wide net during his time in the NFL and there are a lot of potential guys, some with plenty of experience, that Dallas might look to.

It’s entirely possible that Eberflus’ replacement will be someone who Marinelli spends 2018 grooming to take over as the defensive coordinator.

Still, of all the coaching changes so far for Dallas, this one hurts most.

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Dallas Cowboys

Cowboys Hire Longtime Bengals OL Coach Paul Alexander

Kevin Brady

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Cowboys Hire Longtime Bengals OL Coach Paul Alexander

Thus far the 2018 offseason has brought a plethora of change to the Dallas Cowboys coaching staff, especially on the offensive side of the ball. Now it is being reported the Cowboys have hired a brand new offensive line coach, former Cincinnati Bengals’ Offensive Line Coach Paul Alexander.

Alex Marvez on Twitter

Source tells @sportingnews that Paul Alexander hired as new @dallascowboys offensive line coach

Alexander coached with the Bengals for over 20 years, and replaces the same man in Dallas who replaces him in Cincinnati, Frank Pollack. Alexander has also been the Bengals assistant head coach since 2003.

The Cowboys recently lost an assistant head coach when Special Teams Coordinator Rich Bisaccia left for Jon Gruden’s Oakland Raiders.

Per usual, the hire has been met with mixed reactions from Cowboys Nation.

Joey Ickes on Twitter

Since 2003, CIN has had only one season where they finished top-10 in Yards per attempt on the ground… They’ve been bottom-5 in the league 5 times in that span… That’s the OL Coach DAL just hired.

The hiring of an offensive line coach who’s rushing attack finished bottom five in the league in rushing yards per attempt five times since 2003 doesn’t look too great on paper. He will also teach with different techniques and styles than previous Cowboys OL coaches, which could potentially set back the offensive line early in the season.

Plus, respected Bengals’ writer Joe Goodberry did not exactly love the hire for the Cowboys.

Goodberry on Twitter

Pretty bad https://t.co/fysjZqCQ6l

Regardless, this is still a very talented offensive line and one which should lead an effective ground attack based on their talent alone. 2017 proved further that coaching matters a lot in the NFL however, and the wrong hire could set back even the most talented of units.

We will just have to wait and see how this 2018 season ends up playing out.

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