Fans of the Dallas Cowboys should be dancing in the streets today.
Priority 1 for Jerry Jones this offseason was to figure out why the team that many believed was the most talented in the NFL last year finished with a 9-7 record and failed to make the playoffs.
With the decision to release Terrell Owens, the talented individual Cowboy players can begin the process of recovering the locker room. Also, the Cowboys offensive coaches can now focus 100% of their energy on beating their opponent instead of splitting that time with trying to make sure T.O. is getting his touches. This was a move that had to be made, and credit Jerry for making the right one. T.O. was a tremendous on-field player, and a model citizen off the field. It was that area in between that has always been a problem for him: the locker room. I'm not saying he's a bad teammate, I'm saying he's a bad team player.
The second decision that has already been made in an attempt to try and fix what went wrong last year has received much less fanfare. It is the trade that the Cowboys swung with Detroit where they sent defensive back Anthony Henry to the Lions for QB Jon Kitna. Think back to those 3 games last year that Tony Romo was unable to play. Dallas was exposed at the back-up Quarterback position as Brad Johnson showed just how awful he has become. Jerry was highly criticized for ignoring their lack of depth at QB, while at the same time, the Patriots were excelling with their backup QB Matt Cassell. By trading for Kitna the Cowboys now have the #1 backup QB in the NFL. That's right, the #1 backup.
Now, don't freak out about losing a terriffic player like Henry from the defensive backfield. Unlike QB, corners and safeties are not nearly as singularly important to a team. Not even close. Yes, this move has created a severe lack of depth in that area of the roster. However, think about the fact that only 50% of all offensive plays are pass plays, so the chances of a secondary player being exposed are drastically minimized. However, the QB touches the ball on 100% of all offensive plays. My argument to you is that having the #1 backup QB in the NFL on your roster is so much more valuable than having an above-average, starting defensive back.
Bottom line: T.O.'s release is a great move, but the Henry for Kitna trade is an even better one.
The Cowboys are beginning to turn this ship in the right direction.
Mark Van Paasschen