The 2009 NFL season approaches and it’s time to provide you with a look at what to expect with an examination of all 32 teams. As always, say what you need to say.
1. Time for Tony to focus on football and football only:
When people talk about Tony Romo, one of the first two things brought up is his off the field exploits with the likes of Jessica Simpson, Carrie Underwood, and most recently (reportedly) with 43- year-old actress Michelle Johnson of Blame It On Rio. Also, if your star quarterback is mentioned in the same sentence as Jessica Simpson, John Mayer and text messaging, that’s not good either.
That would be similar to working as a CEO at a Fortune 500 company and be best known for doing car bombs in various local bars. It’s not the type of tone you want to set as a leader. Unfortunately for Romo, any time people are questioning your work ethic, focus or preparation that probably means a Super Bowl is not in the cards.
This season is on him. No Jessica Simpson to distract him. No T.O. It’s his team, period.
2. Roy Williams is the “number one receiver” in Dallas.
While Romo and certain members of the Cowboys may be celebrating the departure of Terrell Owens, as those in San Francisco and Philadelphia can attest to, replacing him isn’t so easy.
Since Owens left the 49ers prior to the 2004 season, no receiver has sniffed the Pro Bowl. Philadelphia endured a similar fate and tried to piece together that group with stop gap guys. Kevin Curtis broke the 1,000 yard barrier in 2007 but isn’t on T.O.’s level; while, DeSean Jackson at least gave the Eagles a viable deep threat in ‘08.
The Post T.O. burden falls on Roy Williams. Even though Jason Witten is the target du jour for Romo, Williams will be the “number one” receiver. Again though, we need to stop hearing things like, “needs better work ethic”, when talking about him. He looked lost last season at times and will need to get it together.
3. Wade Phillips = Your Average NFL coach:
Now that we are three seasons removed from the Parcells era, we’re going to see how good Phillips is. One would think he is on the hot this season for a few reasons.
- Anyone that works for Jerry Jones is on the hot seat.
- Dallas has yet to win a playoff game under him.
- The Eagles are still scoring on them at the Linc after Dallas’ Week 17 44-6 loss to the Birds, which kept the Cowboys out of the playoffs.
- No Owens or Adam “Pacman” Jones.
- Lastly, this is what Wade Phillips is as an NFL head coach. Players like him but he has a ceiling. He made it to the playoffs once in Denver and two years in a row in Buffalo. He won a grand total of zero playoff games.
- According to his career script, time is running out in Dallas.
4. DeMarcus Ware likes hide and go seek:
It was revealed during the offseason that star linebacker DeMarcus Ware would hide on the sidelines or run off during games to allow then teammate Greg Ellis to get some in-game reps. Can you imagine such nonsense during the Parcells era? Good thing Ware posted a league high 20 sacks last season and helped the Cowboys lead the league in pressuring the quarterback.
5. Terrell Owens can’t be blamed for the economy, War of 1812, high gas prices or global warming:
It appeared that Jerry Jones made Owens the fall guy for such an underwhelming ’08 season. Even though Owens’ numbers declined, he is still better than any Cowboy wideout and most importantly, can’t be blamed for the following events:
- Jason Garrett struggling to manage the Dallas running backs.
- Tony Romo throwing away a Cowboys victory in Pittsburgh.
- The collapse of the Dallas run defense in the final game at Texas Stadium.
- Getting slammed by 20 points on the road at St. Louis.
The Cowboys were not (maybe still aren’t) tough enough to be a quality playoff team. While perhaps a part of the problem, Owens wasn’t a main culprit.
Franchise rating: **** – Their ceiling is probably the NFC title game if everything breaks right. However, they don’t have #81 to kick around anymore as an excuse. It’s a pivotal year in Tony Romo’s career.