It’s time to talk about Dallas Cowboys wide receivers. Why not, everyone else is. Three Cowboys receivers, two current and one ex, are in the news today, and only one of them for the right reason. So we’ll start with the quietest of the bunch and frankly one of the quietest wide receivers to ever play the game, Terry Glenn.
T.G. went through a practice today, not a full practice but an individual workout, in his next step towards returning to the field for the Cowboys this year. We all know about the two knee surgeries he underwent before the season and how Dallas has kept a spot on the roster open for him all season. Now they’re hoping that faith will pay off as they try to ease Glenn back onto the gameday roster. Wade Phillips said it’s very unlikely he could play this week, but barring any setbacks, he could see the field next week against the Panthers. What a nice Christmas gift that would be for the organization and the fans.
We’ll have to wait to see how he responds to activity over the next few days and then see if he can go through full practices next week. I think the Cowboys will bring him along slowly, letting him settle in as the third receiver and keep as much pressure off that knee as possible. I could end up being wrong, maybe Wade throws him into the fire right away but that doesn’t really seem to be Wade’s style. Either way, if Glenn can provide another serious option in the passing game, the Cowboys offense could start to rival the offense in New England.
Well, so much for the serious football news about our wide receivers. The other two Cowboys-affiliated receivers in the news are having a little spat that is as absurd as it is petty. I loathe giving it my attention here, but I can’t just ignore it like it’s not news. Although I grant you term ‘news’ is used very loosely here.
We might as well start at the beginning to unfold this messy pile of doo-doo. And that description is just about what it feels like I’m doing here, but here goes. It all started when Jerry Jones decided to sign Terrell Owens – a great decision as it turns out – and brought him to Dallas without any enthusiastic approval from Bill Parcells. We’ll never know exactly how that played out behind doors, but it became obvious Parcells wasn’t thrilled with it. He probably could have brought it to a stop or thrown a major monkey-wrench into the works but he didn’t. The upshot was that Keyshawn, T.O. and Terry Glenn were not going to all be on the same roster and the guy who had to go was Keyshawn. Technically, Keyshawn was released prior to the Owens signing, but it was obvious what was going on. So here we have Owens basically taking Keyshawn’s job and playing for a coach who loves Keyshawn and wasn’t enamored with Owens. Gee, any wonder there are a few testy feelings between this trio.
For most of Parcells one year with Owens, their relationship veered between casual indifference to simmering bitterness. If never boiled up over the surface but all the underlying tensions were there. Now, that season with Parcells is also the basis of the current kiddie-spat. It’s true that Parcells never utilized Owens as the central cog of the offense and that they could have done a lot more to feature him if they wanted to. They rarely moved him around to get better matchups and they didn’t run a lot of the patterns that are his specialties. It’s equally true they didn’t ignore him, he had 1,000 yards and led the league in TD catches. Equally culpable for not having a bigger year was T.O.’s penchant for dropping balls last year, sometimes on big plays. We also must remember that Drew Bledsoe was the QB for the opening five games and he would throw to Terry Glenn no matter what. So there were other things that kept T.O. from having this kind of year last year besides Parcells coaching. He also had the hurt finger for much of the season. So basically, both guys, Parcells and T.O. had issues that limited T.O.’s performance and they were just never going to be in sync.
Move on to this year and T.O. is having a fantastic season, he’s having no issues with the press and the Cowboys are 12-1 with the roster that Parcells basically built but it took Wade – and Jason Garrett – to finally unleash its total potential. All year the press – more specifically ESPN – picked and picked at T.O. to try and get him to say something about Parcells or about last year, basically they just wanted a story and T.O. wouldn’t give it to them. He deflected those questions by talking about this year’s coaching staff and this year’s team. But I guess it took Keyshawn’s big mouth to finally break T.O.’s will. He finally succumbed and unleashed a verbal assault back at Keyshawn. Here we are today, with Keyshawn admonishing T.O. to quit talking about Parcells and T.O. telling Keyshawn just where he sits on the WR pecking order, which isn’t nearly as high as Keyshawn thinks it is. And here I sit writing about a couple of knuckleheads polluting the airwaves.
Let me go to Keyshawn first, since he matters nothing to me relative to the Cowboys of ’07. I liked Keysahwn when he played in Dallas, he would block for the run, he would make big 3rd-down catches and he wasn’t afraid to go over the middle. He was a tough receiver and I loved it. Still, I wasn’t confused that he was an elite receiver. His reputation was bigger than he was and his own ego was bigger than his reputation. He just didn’t have the physical skills that an Owens, Moss, Harrison, or Holt possessed. He just wasn’t as good as the elite. And that’s just on the playing field. His hypocrisy at ESPN is so blinding that I recommend sunglasses and a good B.S. detector when watching him. His lecturing receivers on the correct way to act is like getting parenting advice from Britney Spears. Just stop it, Keyshawn. You’re not fooling anybody. We know you were divisive, a diva, had an ego that outweighed your talents, and basically no coach could stand you except for Parcells. It’s no wonder that you go to extremes to protect him; he’s the only guy who will talk about you in terms of greatness. On a side-note, I don’t think there was anything particularly wrong with what Keyshawn said about T.O., that he should just ignore the Parcells questions. I agree, who cares about that anyway. Not the 12-1 Cowboys. But I understand the frustration of being lectured by a huge hypocrite.
Over to T.O., everything he’s been saying about Parcells, Wade and even what he said about Keyshawn today was mostly true. And nothing about it was very controversial. But this is the exact kind of stuff he needs to stay away from. T.O.’s focus on football and his team has paid off big dividends this year. I would hate to see him get distracted by trivial stuff like this incident. The second thing is once you give them a little they are going to come back for a lot. In that I mean the press - a juicy quote from T.O. is like chum in the water for ESPN. It’s a network that isn’t interested in discussing football; you should watch the NFL Network’s AFC/NFC Playbook show for stuff like that. ESPN is interested in personalities and controversies. To them, the old T.O. is the goose that laid the golden egg and they will do anything to get that going again. Don’t let them T.O., ignore their constant Parcells questions, just keep on praising Wade and Romo and let your play on the field do the talking. Get back in the pod, T.O. At least until the season is over.