With all of the talk about what to do with Terrell Owens this offseason I decided to list out the positives and negatives that he brings to the team to decide what I think Jerry should do with him. I know Ed Werder and ESPN would love to see him run out of Dallas, but his salary cap number makes that a very difficult decision. Here are the categories and my thoughts on each one.
Speed: Once he gets going there might not be a faster player in the NFL. The problem is that over the last few years he has lost his ability to beat press coverage at the line so that he can turn on the burners. Overall: Pro
Quickness: Once known as a west coast offense receiver it was frustrating this year to see T.O.'s inability to run the simple short slant routes. He doesn't seem to have the quick first step he once had to get open for the short 5 yard gain. Overall: Con
Hands: Obviously T.O.'s hands are highly suspect. He is the only marquee receiver that I can remember in all of my years of watching football that makes you hold your breath on every pass thrown his way. Overall: Con
RAC (run after catch): T.O. can be amazing when he gets the ball with a little room to run. He is a beast with the ball in his hands and can turn a 2 yard crossing route into a TD on any given play. However, sometimes his desire to turn every play into a TD causes him to miss out on the 2 or 3 yards needed to get a first down. I can think of several plays this year off the top of my head where he could have simply dove forward for a first down rather than trying to make a big gain and getting tackled short of the first down. Overall: Pro
Route Running: This is where I see the biggest drop in his performance. There were several times this year that T.O. seemed to simply give up on a route or cut a route short and cause an incompletion or interception. It seemed as though Tony Romo lost confidence in T.O. being where he was supposed to be on some plays so checked down to Witten or the back out of the backfield. Overall: Con
Separation from DB's: This is probably a result of several items already listed. Owens has lost quickness, the ability to beat press coverage and his route running has slipped so he doesn't seem to come open as often as he did even as recently as last year. Overall: Con
On the Fly Adjustments: This category is in reference to the plays where Romo scrambles and the play breaks down. Owens has a tendency to go deep as soon as any play breaks down and this has often resulted in big plays throughout the years and even a few times this year. That may be what Jason Garrett has instructed him to do but with Romo's injury this year it became difficult for him to throw the ball deep. I think the scramble adjustments should have been changed but I can't blame this one on T.O. Overall: Pro
Blocking: This is one area where T.O. really excels but the media doesn't want to give him credit for it. He is an excellent run blocker and often gets the play 5-10 extra yards by blocking down the field. He even does a good job blocking for other receivers after the catch. Overall: Pro
Overall Effort: Up until this year I have never questioned the effort of T.O. But there were several times this year where a bad ball was thrown and he didn't make an attempt to break up the pass. There were also several plays this year where he gave up on his route on plays as well. Even with what I just mentioned, T.O. plays hard and seems to have a great desire to perform well and help the team win. Overall: Pro
Attitude: This is probably the biggest flaw in his game. I appreciate that he wants the ball and wants to help the team win, but whining and making public comments about it doesn't help anyone. He seems to undermine the ability of Jason Witten, Tony Romo and several others to lead this team. Overall: Con
Salary: The big question here is whether his performance on the field justifies large piece of the salary cap he eats up. Up until this year my answer would be yes. This year has given me second thoughts, but the attention the defense gives him and the adjustments they make just for him probably justifies the payment he receives. Overall: Pro
Off Field Behavior: Outside of the accidental pain killer overdose there has never been one off field issue with T.O. I don't count his feud with Ed Werder to be a problem because I think Ed Werder is using T.O. as his meal ticket. Say what you want, but he doesn't get into trouble with the police. A lot of high profile receivers can't say that. Overall: Pro
I wasn't sure where I stood until I listed all of the categories out. Overall I count 7 categories in his favor. His value strictly as a player is undeniable. I don't think we would have the same offense without him. I think the biggest issue this offseason has to be convincing T.O. that he needs to let people step up and lead the team. If he wants to be one of the leaders that is fine, but he also needs to have the backs of the other leaders on the team. Can he ever do that? I don't know, but I think he needs to find a way to do it or he will be gone before he knows it.