Does anyone else laugh when they watch the Cowboys’ post game reaction after a loss or am I the only one? It seems to me that #81 has never attributed a team loss (I realize the word “team” is not in his vocabulary) to anything other than him not getting the ball thrown his way enough. Isn’t this odd? I mean couldn’t he just once say “we had opportunities to run on their nickel defense and failed to adjust,” or “they had a good scheme and outplayed us today, I tip my hat to them.” Never. I mean, those types of comments aren’t so uncommon… Tom Brady said the latter after the Giants upset his Patriots in Super Bowl 42, but no, not TO.
The purpose of this entry is not to harp on TO for being so selfish, at least not directly, it’s that I find things so comical when he blames every loss on a lack of his participation in the game plan, even when the numbers show otherwise. This past Sunday, in Dallas’ 26-24 loss to Washington, he was targeted 20 times out of 61 offensive plays. That’s nearly a third of the time. And while he was blanketed for most of the afternoon by Springs and Rodgers, 7 of those passes ended up being hauled in, with one making it to the end zone on an underneath crossing pattern. So I’m not sure what he’s looking for? 50% of the passes to him? 70%? Perhaps in theory he’d like this, but unless he’s dozing off in the offensive meetings during the week when they go over film, he’ll see how ineffective the offense becomes when he’s the main focus, and to a greater extent, when Romo forces the ball his way.
The Cowboys offense works best when it runs through Jason Witten. He’s a beast to cover and creates all sorts of mismatches for LBs and Safetys. When he’s the centerpiece of the offense, the safety must cheat over to help out leaving Owens usually alone to face single coverage, a situation he usually wins. This is how the Cowboys got most of their 13 wins last season. If you’ll recall, in their late season loss to Philly last year, when sitting at 12-1, Romo forced the ball to Owens and had his worst day of the season statistically, going 13 for 36 for 214 and 3 picks.
Without a doubt, he’s one of the top 3 or 4 receivers to ever play the game, even with his history of drops in big games, but a fact that I think Owens has a hard time grasping, if he’s even aware of it, is that he’s equally as important to the team if he’s catching the ball or being used as a decoy. The main thing being that he’s out there, but I guess he’d only get that if he were a team player. I’ll explain what I mean. As long as he’s out there, the defense must take him into account; they usually do this by having a safety cheat to his side to help out against the deep ball. This opens things up for Witten, for Barber and the running game, for the other receivers, and for TO as well because when they do begin to shift focus away from him, he can hit them with the big play, and the end result is usually a big offensive output for Dallas.
Until he can come to terms with this reality, instead of it being we “win as a team and lose as a team,” it’ll be we “win as a team and lose because I didn’t get the ball enough.” And as long as that’s his attitude, we’ll keep hearing his “they didn’t throw the ball to me enough” rant after losses, and unfortunately for Dallas and its fans, that’ll usually be the post game of the 1st or 2nd round of the playoffs.