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T.O. and Romo draw the headlines

I’ll be working on breaking down game film on the Giants today and will hopefully have a scouting report later in the evening, tomorrow at the latest.

But for now, we have two topics that have struck the media’s fancy, one serious and one not so serious.

Serious football topic: What is the status of T.O.’s health and are the Cowboys just sandbagging the Giants about his status?

From yesterday’s press conference we got the news that T.O. participated in the walk-through but was limping. That lead to a spate of national articles saying Owens is a game-time decision. But...for those of us who listen to Wade every week, and from his slight back-pedaling during the new conference, I got the impression that it was a lot of gamesmanship mixed in with a kernel of truth. T.O. is not 100% but there is little doubt about him playing.

If Wade wants to keep the Giants guessing, he’s doing the right thing but he should consult with the team beforehand so they can be a united front. Some of the players were telling a slightly more optimistic story.

Asked if Owens looked like a guy who would play this weekend, Jason Witten said, "Absolutely. We are all counting on him playing. He is a tough guy. Nobody wants it more than he wants it himself to get out there and play. He is a quick healer and he looked good out there, I thought."

[snip]

"I don't know if (Owens) is at full strength, but he's good enough to where he said he was going to practice so he can get some timing back and everything," Patrick Crayton said. "He's a gamebreaker, a future Hall of Famer and he's hungry."

I’m guessing by now everybody thinks T.O. will play, even the Giants, but let Wade keep the charade going. If for no other reason than it will feed into T.O.’s competitive ego and when he does show up on Sunday, he can make the comeback story on a huge national stage and everyone will say what a competitor he is and how he fights through injury to play. Perfect. A motivated T.O. is a dangerous T.O.

Now, if the off-chance arises that he doesn’t play, or is playing at considerably less than full-strength, then we might have a problem. Terry Glenn is expected to play but I just don’t think he’s at the point yet where he can fill T.O.’s shoes. He probably wouldn’t draw the automatic double-team at the beginning of the game and unless he proves he can burn them in the game, they’ll treat him more like our other receivers than T.O. And without T.O. to draw those constant double-teams, our other wide-receivers and Jason Witten will have to fight much harder to get open. T.O.’s presence also keeps the 8th defender out of the box.

Mickey Spags has an article all about this particular subject. But this Keith Davis quote about what defenses would do if T.O. isn’t out there sums it up.

"If you don't have 81 out there, put the eighth man in the box and play man on the outside," Davis said. "And that's exactly what (the Redskins) did."

Here’s the DMN’s obligatory T.O. article.

The other topic that keeps lingering around the Cowboys, the not-so-serious one, is about our QB, Tony Romo. His trip to Mexico with Jason Witten and a certain blonde has become quite the story. Wade answered a lot of questions about it yesterday in his press conference. But let’s go to the man himself, Tony Romo, and see what he has to say.

And as [Romo] walked down the hall he said, "I'm not talking Wednesday, either."

Excellent! The last time he didn’t talk to the media was the week of the Carolina game, and he came out focused and effective that day, putting 17 points on the board in the first half when he had T.O. in the game. I like it when Romo retreats into the bunker and gets himself psyched for a game. He spoke after the Carolina game about how important it was for the Cowboys to win that game and that he wanted to be ready. He also didn’t want to add to the distractions that week by discussing his bruised thumb or his girlfriend. Sounds like he’s going back for some more of that this week.

Just win, Tony. As Wade said, none of that other stuff matters when you win. If you lose, it still may not be the reason you lost, but some will try to pin it on that. So avoid all that static and just win.

By the way, Witten makes sense in his quote about the whole thing.

"Just for Tony, the biggest thing he's doing is going out there to get his mind off of it," Witten said. "He can't go anywhere here, so the best thing he can do is jump on an hour-and-a-half flight and get away and really relax, get with some buddies and watch those games and come back refreshed because he knows he's got to make a strong push.

"For us, we don't look at it any other way but to get away and enjoy it. It's no different than jumping on a flight and going home like a lot of guys did here."