Monday, August 14, 2006

The Me-O Effect

don't look now, but it's starting...

- you have owners starting to snipe at his lack of practice time (we talkin' 'bout practice, man). found on

- you have wierd things going on at the QB position.

- you have this opinion from mike florio of
Per Mac Engel, Cowboys owner/G.M. Jerry Jones says that he has sent a message to receiver Terrell Owens that the star receiver needs to get used to practicing at "75 percent."

It's not clear whether Owens actually got the message, since Jones communicated it to "some of Owens' trainers," an apparent reference to T.O.'s personal rehab crew that has been brought to camp to help him recover from a hamstring problem so severe that an MRI showed, well, no damage at all.

"Terrell only knows one way: that's at 100 percent," Jones said. "As he goes on into his career, if he can consistently practice at that 75 to 80 percent [level], that will help. It's not a criticism."

If it's not a criticism, what is it? It's not like Owens is a rookie who's trying to find his way in the mystical world of the NFL. He has shown in the past that, whatever happens in the preseason, he's ready to roll come September.

So why wouldn't Jones have the discussion directly with Owens? Does Jerry fear that, given T.O.'s reputation, there's no way to speak to him about the situation on a face-to-face basis without Owens presuming that he's being attacked or challenged?

And would Owens be wrong to view the "message" in such terms? The root of the situation is that Owens genuinely believes that he can't practice, and the team genuinely disagrees. Thus, the team essentially is challenging the player's assessment of his own health and condition.

Regardless, we think that the message here didn't originate with Jones, but with coach Bill Parcells. As we've recently explained, Parcells is privately telling folks "I told you so" about the decision to sign Owens, and that Parcells hates guys who won't practice or play in pain. Given, however, the intense media scrutiny of the Owens situation, and the consequences of a premature eruption of Mount Receiver-ass, the Tuna realizes that he can't handle the situation in the way that he has handled similar circumstances in the past.

In that regard, Owens already has won, by forcing Parcells to alter his nature. We assumed that Parcells would be knee-deep into T.O.'s rear end come training camp, in an effort to force him to snap, if at all, before the regular season starts.

Instead, Parcells is tiptoeing around Prince Terrell, likely because the veteran coach knows in his heart that, if he unloads on Owens, the Cowboys will be right in the middle of the same problem that the Eagles experienced a year ago.

Regardless of whether the ultimate motivation is to enhance the environment for winning or to avoid giving the media and/or the Eagles the satisfaction of seeing the situation in Dallas explode, our guess in light of Jones' remarks is that Parcells is getting closer to the end of his rope, and that he's giving the guy who writes the checks one chance to get Owens onto the practice field before the Tuna takes matters into his own hands.

Thus, with the first real game only four weeks away, we stand by our belief that there's a distinct chance that, come September 10, either Owens or Parcells will not be with the team.

In this regard, keep in mind that the Cowboys will avoid any responsibility for Owens' $5 million salary if he is not on the roster when the season opens. Because the move would be happening after June 1, the net hit would actually be a gain of $5 million in 2006 space, if Parcells ultimately insists that Owens be released -- and if Jones agrees. The remaining $3.33 million would then hit the cap in 2007.

We're not suggesting that such an outcome is likely or even probable at this point. But it's definitely possible, and it's significantly more possible than it was when camp in Dallas opened.
- howard eskin (who is an idiot, but everyone will agree is very well connected) is reporting that there is a decent chance that me-o will not last with the cowboys until their first game with the birds. that parcells is already fed up with the me-o circus and his constant craving for attention.



Anonymous Phil said...

This all makes me very happy. The one thing to keep in mind though is that there's probably a 50/50 chance that Parcells just ups and retires vs. TO getting booted.

11:06 AM EDT  
Anonymous Phil said...

Easily the funniest columnist out there right now:

1:19 PM EDT  
Blogger MrPhillySucks said...

Won't happen. Owens wil play for the Cowboys at some point. It would be sweet to see him get cut though. I doubt the NFLPA would be happy to have to listen him gripe again.

1:53 PM EDT  

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