Jerry Jones decided to get rid of WR Terrell Owens because he had become a distraction to the Dallas Cowboys. Throughout Owens’ career he would throw sideline temper tantrums when the ball didn’t come to him. He would scream at the Todd Hale’s of the world if things didn’t go his way. All of these kid-like antics gave the Cowboys good reason to dump the talented receiver.
The 30-27 loss to the Saints on Thanksgiving brought back memories of Terrell Owens. Dez Bryant was seen cutting up on the sidelines like a toddler fresh into his terrible two stage. His rant on the sidelines in the 4th Quarter surely had an affect on the last three plays of the Cowboys’ final drive. Let’s revisit.
The Cowboys forced the ball to Bryant three times on the New Orleans’ 41 yard line with 35 seconds left on the clock. One pass on an out route fell incomplete. Another pass on a screen to Dez was snuffed out by the Saints and batted down. The third pass fell incomplete after Bryant and Kitna couldn’t get on the same page on a read route. Bryant hadn’t caught a ball all day which makes one wonder why three straight plays to him with the game on the line.
For Jason Garrett, it’s important not to allow Dez Bryant who is a rookie, dictate play-calling in such a crucial stage of the game. Players could see that as a sign of weakness which may damage player respect for Garret in the future. You cannot let a rookie force your hand in a big game against the defending Super Bowl Champions.
Jason Witten had 10 catches for 99 yards, which included some key first down catches in the second half. With 35 seconds left in the game, the Cowboys should have tried to hit Witten in the middle of the field to make the game-tying field goal much easier. How about trying to run a draw to pick up four or five yards? Sure there was enough time left in the game for another run play and spike of the ball. It doesn’t appear that those options were considered.
Cowboys’ head Coach Jason Garrett said the Saints had rolled coverage to Bryant’s side much of the first half (Post Game Press Conference). This prevented Jon Kitna from getting the ball to the rookie wide receiver. The Saints knew how dangerous Bryant could be and they decided to take him away for most of the game. When the Saints loosened up in the second half, Dez Bryant struggled to adjust. It was clear that frustration had trumped focus for Bryant when he appeared to run the wrong route on an incompletion in the fourth. So why throw him the ball three straight times with the game on the line?
Jerry got rid of Owens because of his negative influence on the team. Not to say that Bryant is becoming the distraction that T.O. was, but that might have been the case late in the Thanksgiving game. It might have influenced the play-calling which could have had an impact on the game. The organization was so ready to drop Owens for the exact same reasons but was so willing to draft a guy with a similar personality. It’s too early to tell if Dez turns out like T.O. or like Michael Irvin, but yesterday’s behavior recalled the days of the old number 81 not the old number 88.
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