Feed The Monster…Lay off T.O.

Feed The Monster
Eatman: So T.O. Wants the Ball; Keep Giving It

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Nick Eatman – Email
DallasCowboys.com Staff Writer
September 30, 2008 3:52 PM

IRVING, Texas – Man, this is getting old.

Wonder when it will get old to ESPN and the rest of the national media and for all the fans and critics that are apparently holding onto their “I-told-you-so” cards and just keep looking for the right moment to bring it out.

Give it up.

This is Terrell Owens. This is who he is. He wants the football. He wants it all the time. He never can have it enough.

And when the Cowboys don’t win a football game, then trust me, Terrell Owens certainly thinks he should’ve got the ball more. Just like any other wide receiver worth his salt.

If they’re a competitor, they should want the ball on every play. Regardless if they’ve had the 17 or 18 passes thrown his way, coupled with a couple of running plays, too.

He could’ve had 35 passes thrown his way. That doesn’t mean he won’t be wondering why the 36th one didn’t come his way as well.

That’s Owens. Always has been.

But why are we surprised? Why is this still a story?

It’s like there are some people out there just hoping and praying that Owens will indeed divide up this locker room like he supposedly did in San Francisco and Philadelphia.

Those are probably the same people who said Jerry Jones and Bill Parcells couldn’t work together and tried to light that fire as much as possible.

It just doesn’t make sense.

Owens wants the football. He wants to score. He wants to celebrate and he wants to headline the highlight shows every week.

So when that doesn’t happen, he’s going to be upset. And that doesn’t just mean at his teammates and coaches. He knows he got the ball thrown quite a bit on Sunday, catching seven passes for 71 yards, including a touchdown.

He probably also knows that Redskins cornerback Shawn Springs pretty much shut him down, at least in the first half.

Frustration. It happens. It doesn’t always signal the sign of trouble.

So in his post-game press conference on Sunday, T.O. is asked by a reporter if he thinks he got the ball enough.

Right there, that’s the problem. Why don’t we place some blame on the question that was asked? If you didn’t like his answer, an obvious answer at that, then maybe it’s a dumb question. Or maybe it’s a question with the sole intention of stirring the pot. Either way, it was unnecessary because we should know better than that.

“I would say no. I’m a competitor, and I want the ball.”

So again, what’s the problem? That’s what Owens actually said.

What did we want instead? “Yeah, I’m good. I got plenty of passes today. It wasn’t my day. We lost, but I got enough throws. Thanks.”

Sure he could’ve said something different. He could’ve gone to the Romo Highway and said pretty much nothing at all.

But that’s not T.O. Take it for what it is, that’s not him. He says what he feels. He always has. He’s upset and frustrated and he wanted to win this game.

“There were some opportunities there, and there were some opportunities there where they were holding and the refs just didn’t call it. You can’t blame the refs, we just didn’t make the plays.”

Sounds like a “we” to me. A little bit of whining about the refs, but I would admit there were a couple of plays when it looked like pass interference might be called. Although, it appeared the refs were letting both teams play.

“Everybody recognized that I wasn’t really getting the ball in the first half,” Owens said. “I’m pretty sure everybody watching the game recognized it, people in the stands recognized it. I think my team recognized it. I didn’t quit. I kept fighting and trying to run my routes and trying to get open.”

And that’s what we’re all up in arms about? That’s why the entire halftime and post-game segments for “Monday Night Football” were dominated by T.O. talk? When are we going to learn that Owens isn’t going to change? At least not that part of his game.

He might be more of a team-guy than he has shown in the past. He may send out T-shirts to the players. But when it comes to getting his hands on the ball and making plays, that hasn’t changed.

T.O. wants it every single play. And when it doesn’t happen – win or lose – he’s not too happy.

In fact, it’s something I’ve been noticing going back to last year. Obviously, with a 13-3 record and one of the most prolific offenses in the league, there wasn’t much to complain about.

But I did see Owens’ stoic look on his face as he walked off the field last December in Detroit. The Cowboys had just completed an improbable comeback and won the NFC East division in the process. Yet, Owens couldn’t even break a smile. Wonder why? It’s hard to speculate, but the fact he caught just three balls for 21 yards might’ve had something do with it.

Fast forward to this season. The Cowboys just smashed the Packers in front of the world, using a combination of a few big plays to Miles Austin, and a smash-mouth running game. Owens’ presence on the field undoubtedly opened up running lanes and certainly provided the opportunity for Austin to run wild in the Packers’ secondary.

But Owens clearly wasn’t happy about two catches for 17 yards against the Packers. After the game, not only did Owens not go to the podium as usual in the post-game press conference, but he didn’t speak to reporters at all after the game.

Is that a trend? It’s hard to tell.

But his teammates don’t seem to have a problem with it. In fact, wide receiver Patrick Crayton apparently shares the feeling.

“Any competitor in this league, a receiver, running back, quarterback – whatever the situation is – if you don’t want the ball, what are you playing for?”

T.O. says the same thing. Yet, he’s the one who gets blasted. Sure, he’s done it to himself over the years. He’s an easy target and always has been.

“Hell, we all want more,” Crayton said. “I don’t think you can have enough candy.”

Well, when it comes to T.O., it’s a simple solution. Jolly Ranchers, Now & Laters, Ring pops, footballs, whatever. Keep feeding him.

And, guess what? Owens’ teeth may rot out and it will never be enough.

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