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Lose a Cricket, gain a Tank

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Nick Eatman has an article on losing Cricket and gaining a Tank. It’s really too bad about Deon Anderson, besides his outstanding special teams play he was also starting to get the nuances of being an NFL FB. He recently showed he could catch the ball, he’s a very willing blocker and once he got the pass protection schemes down, he might have been on his way to developing into the Cowboys full-time FB. Now we’ll have to wait until next year. The Cowboys have a slight problem on their hands. Coach didn’t sound optimistic about Oliver Hoyte in the immediate future, but they might not have a choice. Unless they plan to use Fasano and Witten as FB/TE hybrids for the whole game, they need Hoyte to play. And I really don’t like the idea of using our TE’s that way through an entire game. Maybe Jerry will pick someone up, but they probably couldn’t help us that much this week.

On the other side of the ledger, Tank Johnson will return to the NFL and play his first game of the season in New York. This is welcome news, Jay Ratliff has done an outstanding job manning the fort, but he needs some help, and Remi Ayodele isn’t the guy to give it to him. But Tank is that kind of guy and will free up Ratliff to do other things and remain fresh throughout the game. I actually think this is going to end up being a big deal for Dallas.

Because it was one heck of a play, I give you the Jason Witten play.

Hat tip to ImpactNate

Let me start out this section of my post with a disclaimer. I was one of those people who were not very interested in bringing T.O. to Dallas when the subject first came up. In fact, I think I argued against it on this very blog, many times. I didn’t like the guy, plain and simple. I thought he was a jerk and a selfish player who would only destroy every locker room he touched. So I staked my journalistic reputation on that – if I actually had a journalistic reputation – and put it out there for all to see. After the fact, I just accepted that he was on the team and hoped his on-the-field contributions would outweigh his off-the-field antics. In the end, it took him a little time to get acclimated, but T.O. has turned out to be more than just a talented receiver, he also became a pretty good teammate. So good that I can’t believe it’s him, and that spawned the pod-person conspiracy.

So what’s the point of my babbling? The point is, I, unlike Peter King, can admit when I’m wrong, and I can do it in front of the whole world – at least that tiny sliver of the world that actually reads this blog. T.O. hasn’t exactly been an angel since he’s been here; last year was full of minor dust-ups and some ill-chosen words. But it wasn’t catastrophic and this year you can’t say that T.O. has been anything except a model citizen. Unless you're Peter King. Here’s the offending quote from T.O. and then King’s response.

"It's so evident that ever since I left, nothing's been going right there. I'm not saying I'm the sole reason, but when I was there, we were very successful.''

Dallas wide receiver Terrell Owens, on the post-Owens Eagles, appearing on radio station 790 The Ticket in Miami.

OK, not exactly the most politically correct thing to say in terms of NFL-speak, but really not that bad and really – the truth. But King has so much vested in T.O. being a bad guy and perpetuating that idea, that the only thing he writes about T.O. after he crushed the Eagles on Sunday night is this:

Three comments:

  1. Insert "distracted'' for "successful,'' and T.O. would be right.

Uh no, King, successful would be just as an appropriate description. Or have you forgotten that until Owens got to Philly, they couldn’t get to the Super Bowl, and after they booted him out, they haven’t gone back. So the apex of success for Philly over their recent run was the Super Bowl year when T.O. played. Note to uber-journalists like King – just because you make stuff up, doesn’t mean it’s true.

  1. No athlete embodies the ugly moniker of "It's all about him'' more than Terrell Owens.

Uh, unless that athlete is Randy Moss. Oh yeah, I forgot, Moss now plays for the beloved Patriots, so all that stuff back in Minny and Oakland never happened. Lord, it’s a miracle.

  1. In the Eagles' 26 games since Owens left, their record is 14-12. In the last 26 games Owens was under contract in Philadelphia (including the nine that he was suspended for insubordination), the Eagles were 13-13. That's certainly not the fairest stat, because of the half-season he missed after picking fights with Andy Reid and Donovan McNabb that forced Reid to kick him off the team. But here's why I include it: Part of the reason the Eagles went down the tubes in 2005 was because of the ridiculously self-centered crap Owens pulled in training camp. So if he's going to take credit for being a big reason why the Eagles got to the Super Bowl in 2004, he's also got to take a good deal of the blame for the games they lost with and without him in 2005.

Spin it anyway you want King, but the Eagles’ record when T.O. played in Philadelphia, and I mean actually played, was 17-4 (excluding playoffs) and when he didn’t play for those nine games and the two season after that, 15-18.

Let’s compare: T.O. plays for the Eagles - 17-4. T.O. doesn’t play for the Eagles - 15-18. Gee, what part of successful and not successful don’t you get King?

Now, before anybody thinks I’m hypocritical, I’m not saying T.O. doesn’t have a very checkered past. He represented almost everything I hated in athletes. But just because I don’t like a guy doesn’t mean I’ll make stuff up, or forget inconvenient facts that don’t support my position.

But for Peter King, it’s just another day of collecting a paycheck from Sports Illustrated.

In fairness, King does a good job of breaking down the Romo contract in comparison to Marc Bulger's. This is the kind of journalistic work that can be done when you don't have a pre-set agenda that you must make the facts fit into.

Hat tip to ab03 for the article