My, my, things have gotten a little hot at Valley Ranch in the middle of December. Everybody's favorite bogeyman, Terrell Owens, has been dragged back into the spotlight. Ol' ESPN and Ed Werder are having a field day with quotes from an anonymous Cowboys player who probably isn't on T.O.'s Christmas card list.
What to make of the madness? Whatever you will, everybody's got an opinion. So here's mine.
Make the jump if you care.
I don't think Werder is making anything up here, he's a tool but there's no way you can convince me he made up all those quotes from a player unless he actually came out and said he made them up. He found somebody on the Cowboys who obviously doesn't like Owens and let it rip. I really can't blame Werder here, if some Cowboys player told me the same things I would have it up on this blog in a heartbeat. That's just the way it is. So I take the article at face value.
Now, this player could be a total scrub who has no idea what's really going on, he could be a player with an ax to grind with T.O. and is inflating his supposed transgressions, or he might actually be shedding light on something that's been building for a while. Whoever he is, he does himself and this team a disservice by speaking out at this juncture.
Also, this article in the DMN seems to spread the accusations of Romo favoring Witten around to several sources, not just T.O. We all know that Owens met with Jason Garrett today, as did Roy Williams and Patrick Crayton. Watkins refers to several players when he says that guys are unhappy with Romo's practice habits of forcing passes to Witten. For his part, Witten takes the high road and says they are not making up secret plays and takes no shots at T.O. Romo hasn't commented but was characterized as being taken aback by the ESPN story.
So has T.O. gone off the reservation and lost that loving feeling for Romo? I don't doubt that T.O. has been expressing some displeasure in this offense for a while, and yeah, some of that has probably found its way into the locker room. We've heard him imply it in a few post-game press conferences so there's no reason to think it hasn't been talked about elsewhere. I would also guess that it is probably getting on Tony Romo nerves and that their once tight relationship has probably drifted a bit.
I guess the real question is do you think that this thing will blow up any further and destroy the Cowboys? Owens is already trying to put out some of the fire with his comments to Calvin Watkins over at the DMN blog. To answer the question, you have to separate the current season from the offseason. In the current season, I don't think this will have much to do with how Romo plays and chooses his receiving targets. He's still going to do what he thinks is best in the pocket. What really matters is if we win or not. If we win, as long as T.O. still has a shot to win the Super Bowl, he's not going to wreck that. So winning will be tonic. If we start losing and blow the rest of the season, T.O. probably won't be the only one blowing off some steam. You can't wreck what's already been wrecked. For the short term, I don't think this controversy has legs.
But come the offseason, if the Cowboys have a failed season by missing the playoffs, there's going to be a whole lot of unhappy people at the Ranch and my guess is that Jerry Jones will make a lot of changes. But one person's job security that won't be in question is Tony Romo's. So if you find yourself on the opposite side of Romo in the offseason and want to make it a smackdown between yourself and the QB, you're going to lose.
If T.O. is really mad at Romo, he better make a decision after the season is over about his future in Dallas. If he wants to stay, he'll find a way to co-exist with Romo. Maybe he already does that and the Werder story is a pumped-up faux-controversy pushed by a player with an agenda. In that case, while there might be some grumbling, things will stay status quo. Or maybe he really is that upset with Romo and has been making his displeasure known to members of the team. If that's the case, the losing will only make it worse and he could force the Cowboys' hand. Roy Williams was brought here to be a future #1 WR, when that process actually begins is likely tied to how long Owens wants to play nice with Romo.
Of course, we could settle this the easy way. Just win the Super Bowl, and I guarantee you Romo and Owens will be the best of friends then.