Thursday, December 11, 2008

Love Triange: Romo-Owens-Witten

It's amazing how much this Tony Romo-Jason Witten-Terrell Owens love triangle is getting blown up. And after listening to pretty much all of it across several TV networks, radio stations, newspapers, blogs, etc, there seems to be way too much smoke for the size of this fire.

Simply put: this is getting blown out of proportion.

And before Eagles fans and 49ers fans out there begin with there "toldja so's" let's take a look at the source of this controversy.

"Owens believes that Romo and Witten, close friends and road roommates that came to Dallas in the same offseason, hold private meetings in which they create plays that the two of them will use in upcoming games without including Owens in the conversations. Owens would not give me a comment today, but he believes that this is the reason that Witten and not Owens leads the Cowboys in receiving." Ed Werder, ESPN

If Owens didn't talk to Werder, how would he have ANY clue what TO is really thinking or what he believes is going on? I'm not saying TO is a saint by any means, but this is just ESPN blowing things way out of proportion. It's absolutely ridiculous.

Another fact that's been buried at the end of a Dallas Morning News story is that the receivers spoke to receivers coach Ray Sherman seeking permission to talk to Garrett. I don't think any of those three receivers - TO, Roy Williams, Patrick Crayton - are trying to blow this thing up. Instead at the first sign of trouble in paradise, ESPN is all over it to let everyone know that the whole system is breaking down.

Isn't it possible these are just the same regular frustrations that any team would go through after a tough late-season loss?

Now I'm not saying that Owens is completely without fault in this situation. Despite his great ability on the field and his enormous role in the offense, it'd be foolish to ignore his history in San Francisco and Philadelphia.

While Owens did not speak to Werder, the DMN's Calvin Watkins spoke to the receiver about his thoughts on the Werder story.

"I'm not jealous of Witten. I'm not jealous of nobody. I can take the approach that I got paid so screw everything, but that's not me. I just want to win. I'm not trying to create a war of words with anybody. I thought we had a productive meeting and I just talked to Jason about Tony reading the whole play because other people are open besides Witten."

The end of that final sentence is the focal point of where this is all stemming from. Saying "other people are opens besides Witten" is not a big deal. Holy crap, you mean a quarterback made a bad read once ever? Or a quarterback threw at a covered Pro Bowl mega-reliable target? How many times in Owens' career has he been covered yet still be able to make a play? It happens. So while TO might be pointing out that other people were open in Pittsburgh, or while this might even show he was frustrated at the end of the crushing loss, it doesn't mean he's jealous or thinks there's a conspiracy.

Enough already.

Two days ago, it was Jerry Jones versus Marion Barber with the owner supposedly questioning the running back's toughness, a story that was all over the major networks. How was it these reports couldn't see this for what it really was: the owner simply misspeaking and putting his foot in his mouth. Jones is the biggest Cowboys fan and eternal optimist there is. He's not one to call out his players, but that was ignored for the sake of sensationalistic journalism.

Jason Witten has been quoted (and there's audio of him on a NY radio station) not seeming upset or frustrated or even steamed about this issue. Perhaps that is simply the levelheadedness of Witten, but my bet is that it's simply not as big an issue as it's being made.

Does TO really, truly believe that Romo and Witten are drawing up secret plays on road trips and staying up til 3am eating cookies, painting each others toenails, talking about their love live and diagramming plays for Sunday? Come on. No rational person could possibly think that?!

The obvious rebuttal: Terrell Owens is not a rational person. But while Owens is far from stoic, he also seems to be far from the player he was in San Francisco and Philadelphia. He has come a long way in three years in Dallas. He's become a leader for this organization over that time. This isn't the same receiver that desecrated the star in 2002.

This is a guy who knows that this Cowboys team is his last realistic chance to be a key contributor to a Super Bowl contender. He's 35 now and on the decline of a Hall of Fame career.

Oh, but what team would even want him as a member of their organization?

The Cowboys want things to work with this guy. Owens wants things to work with the Cowboys. Hearing from Witten, it seems he is okay with how things are right now, and he doesn't have a problem with Owens.

As for Romo, he's been silent through all this. What else is he to do? Last season, the QB was crucified for a weekend getaway with his girlfriend. This year he's now being thrust into the middle of a love triangle between himself, his tight end and his top receiver. Romo for now seems to be following the lead of his running back when it comes to the media. Perhaps the entire organization should follow Marion Barber's philosophy when it comes to the press.

Keep your mouth shut.

As for the reported turmoil from this love triangle? The most disturbing part of it all is the fact that other than Bradie James, who didn't say all that much to ESPN's Werder, no other Cowboys players were named in the story. They were all anonymous. If Owens was as bad as some of these sources are making him out to be, why wouldn't some of these guys go on record? Isn't that what's happening with the Dallas hockey team?

Sean Avery caused internal struggles within the Dallas Stars organization, and it could end up costing Brett Hull his job as co-GM. Many of the stars players, including team leaders Mike Modana and Marty Turco and even coach Dave Tippett have not been shy to go on record with their disappointment and frustration with Avery. Maybe those guys are speaking more freely because Avery is currently suspended, but they certainly aren't biting their tongues or hiding from the cameras.

Frankly, I'd be much more impressed with Werder's report if he put some faces to these anonymous sources. I know that's not always how journalism works, but this sort of sensationalism is simply ESPN adding a deluge of gasoline to a room they are already trying to spark.


Anonymous said...

You're dreaming if you think this will blow over. It's the beginning of the end. T.O. is like a little kid whrn he gets upset. He will not drop it. The Cowboys will implode.

Unnamed Source said...

I look at this 2 ways:

1) Whitten, for the most part, gets the job done. He’s supposed to be a clutch receiver but look at what happens deep– when Romo does get the ball to the receiver, it tends to be dropped or missed altogether. I’m talking balls on the numbers that wind up in the turf. Whitten loses a few here and there, but not like the others, especially T.O.

2) T.O. is a prima donna. He always has been. The stuff he’s airing out should be talked out man-to-man, not man-to-media. And while he doesn’t always do it directly, he manages to get Romo/Whitten trash talk into the news. He’s also instigating the complaints by other receivers, so their involvement has to be taken with a grain of salt.

Bottom line, I don’t blame Romo for locking on Jason Whitten. I watch the games and it looks like he has little choice most of the time. I even suspect that T.O. is passive-aggressively screwing up routes and completions just to make a point, and that Romo is picking up on that.

Anyway, it’s time for the highly-paid crybabies involved to grow up and just play, like they did against the Giants. And it’s past time for Jerry Jones and Wade Phillips to quit kissing T.O.’s butt and start taking team dischord seriously.

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