Friday, October 17, 2008

The Passing Game

Non-WoW post incoming. I feel the need to address this issue because of a few gripes, namely a hatred of the Dallas Cowboys, extreme disrespect for Terrell Owens, and the misconceptions around the wide receiver commonly known as T.O.

No, this post is not about passing loot.

NFL wide receiver Terrell Owens is frequently cited as one of the best active players at his position. NFL "experts" laud his ability to gain yards after the catch, his sound pass-catching ability, and his powerful frame.

What I do not understand is how the same experts can turn around and explain that the reason he isn't producing gobs of yards, catches, and points for the Cowboys is that he isn't able to fight through press coverage, isn't getting separation from corners, and the QB isn't looking his way enough.

TO is 6'3", larger than most any cornerback that lines up opposite him. He supposedly has great upper body strength, which is what enables him to gain those yards-after-catch by fighting off arm tackles. Why is it, then, that a guy gifted physically can't fight through press coverage? A jam at the line of scrimmage from a smaller guy shouldn't be throwing him off that much.

And then, if he's so good, why can't he create separation in his routes? Good receivers are usually skilled in route-running, able to make a cut or a move that will throw the cornerback off and create some space. They also need a base amount of foot speed - a receiver who can't outrun a defensive tackle probably won't be able to create any separation, even if they make all the right cuts. TO supposedly has more than enough speed to come out of a break. If so, why are all the experts and announcers claiming that he's not able to create separation, but unwilling to criticize him for it?

All the reports I've been reading keep saying that the Cowboys "aren't getting him the ball enough," or they "need to get him involved more," or "should find ways to let him make plays." I say, if he's considered one of the upper echelon of wide receivers in the league today, he should be able to create plays. Maybe he's not getting open? Maybe his route-running isn't crisp, so the corners are draped all over him? Maybe he's just a loud-mouth and isn't really that good? If people want to claim that TO is one of, if not the, top receiver in the NFL, why did they have to go out and grab Roy Williams from the Lions to distract defenses from blanketing TO? The Carolina Panthers are able to get Steve Smith the ball and let him make plays, and I can't name a single other wide-out on their team. Good players don't need excuses, they simply execute. If TO were part of the elite, he'd be able to create separation and get open, and fight off the press coverage at the line. I think that his lack of production is simply evidence that he's a mediocre wide receiver that can put up gaudy numbers against bad defenses.

Make no mistake about it - I'm a NY Giants fan, I'd love to see TO and the Cowboys go down in flames this season. However, I'm terribly tired of seeing all this fanfare in the media about how the Cowboys need to do more to get TO the ball. I think that TO needs to do more to get the Cowboys some points. It's a two-way street, my friends, and this selfish, self-promoting sonofabeesting needs to put up or shut up if he's really that good.

End non-WoW transmission. I now return you to your regular retribution programming.

1 comment:

Entilzah said...

As a Dallas Resident and admitted Fair Weather Cowboys fan, let me say...


Romo may have taken heat for not getting it to TO enough, but his favorite target is easily his TE Whitten. ALWAYS gets separation on 3rd Down and does not drop nearly as much as TO does.