As the NFL regular season draws near, one of the many stories to look forward to will unfold in Dallas as the Cowboys move on without Terrell Owens. So how does a team replace a guy that’s been good for 10 touchdowns a year over the course of his career? Can a guy like that be replaced? Well, unless Randy Moss is suddenly a free agent, and he’s interested in coming to Dallas, the answer is no. More importantly, do you have to replace a guy like that? Once again, the answer is no.
For starters, let’s look at the Super Bowl winners of the decade. How many future Hall of Fame wide receivers do you think the Ravens had? How about the Buccaneers? How about the Patriot teams that won Super Bowls? The Steelers? The Giants? I’m counting a grand total of 0 between them all. The only team to win a Super Bowl that had a future Hall of Fame wide receiver on their roster was the Indianapolis Colts with Marvin Harrison. Even so, Marvin Harrison didn’t exactly light the world on fire in the Colts run to the Super Bowl, averaging about 4 reception and 48 yards per game. Furthermore, “the player” participated in Super Bowl XXIX, and despite a valiant effort, his performance was not enough to help the Eagles win a Super Bowl.
So remove great receivers from the equation. Surely the champs of the decade have had excellent passing attacks in their championship seasons, right? For the most part, they have not. The exceptions are the 2003 Patriots and the Colts in 2006. So out of 9 championship teams, 2 had top 10 passing attacks in the seasons they won the Super Bowl. Despite how much emphasis by some fans, analysts, and reporters has been placed on the need for a formidable passing game, as well as having a great wide receiver, the facts show us that you don’t need either to win a championship.
Well, what will Dallas do? The Cowboys will lean on their running game more. They have 3 running backs, Marion Braber, Felix Jones, and Tashard Choice, all worthy of carrying the ball. That gives Dallas a luxury most teams do not have, even in an era of running by committee. They’ll also use more 2 tight end set, with the emergence of second year player Martellus Bennett who will compliment one of the leagues best tight ends, Jason Witten. With a Cowboys training camp under his belt, Roy Williams will be far more productive in his second season in Dallas, assuming T.O.’s role as the primary option at wide receiver. Finally, the Cowboys will sprinkle in Miles Austin and Felix Jones to place speed on the field when the Cowboys need it. With that said, look for a more patient, methodical Cowboys offense. An offense far less likely to look for a quick score on a deep ball, but far more likely to place together time-consuming drives that will wear down opposing defenses, score points, keep the Cowboys defense fresh, and reduce the amount of pressure placed on Tony Romo. As productive as Terrell Owens has been, his departure could be the best thing that has happened to the Cowboys offense since the emergence of Tony Romo.
Dallas won’t replace Terrell Owens. Roy Williams won’t be as productive as Terrell Owens. The Cowboys passing game arguably won’t be as good as it was with Terrell Owens, and ultimately, they may not have a top 10 passing attack in the league this season. Considering all the facts, that’s not necessarily a bad thing.