Tuesday, November 08, 2005

The Heart of a Lion and the Hide . . . of an Oliphant

What to say about TO and the end of the Philadelphia Eagles?

Let's go to Galley Friend and Cowboy Superfan L.B.:
When the Eagles picked up TO, they knew they were making a huge roll of the dice. On one hand, they knew a big-play WR was probably the last element they needed in order to make it to the Super Bowl--and win. On the other hand, they knew (they *had* to know, didn't they?) that eventually the dude's enormous ego and attitude would require running him out of town. So the gamble was that the former would happen before the latter.

And actually, the gamble almost paid off--theycame up just 3 points short in the Super Bowl last year.

Now (to continue the gambling metaphor here), they've done the smart thing: cut your losses. This season's probably beyond repair, but at least they can move on. (Better to have done that during this past offseason--surely they could've found somebody dumb/desperate enough to take TO in a trade . . . but better late than never.)

I agree with L.B. except that I'd go further--the Eagles were right to keep TO around and not trade him, because the poor value they would have gotten (a future second round pick, at best) would not have compensated them for having TO playing against them.

So, the Eagles to a chance which almost paid off and have now moved on. Where are they going from here? Nowhere, obviously. I'll be very surprised if they sneak into the playoffs. (If I ran the team, I would have sent McNabb in for the surgery after week two; when you play hurt, you tend to get hurt.) But they have had three goals in the Owens endgame and are close to accomplishing them:

(1) Get TO off the team. They did that yesterday.

(2) Don't pay him. At most, the team will have to pay Owens for four more games this season. Owens will lose his appeal--the Eagles front office has been creating the paper-trail for this showdown since the beginning of the summer.

(3) Destroy TO's career so that no championship-contending team will want him and that even bottom-feeding teams won't give him more than a one-year contract. The last thing the Eagles want is for Owens to show up in a Redskins (or Ravens) uniform next season. The way things have played out, that's much more unlikely today than it would have been if the Eagles had cut Owens during training camp. Owens is more radioactive today than he was three months ago--and football people have seen that he isn't the same receiver he was last year.

(Don't be fooled by TO's gaudy numbers--the Eagles have thrown the ball almost 80% of the time this season and on pass playes that weren't screens, TO was the first, second, and third option. Under that scenario, the team's #1 receiver couldn't help but have monster stats. Still, the tape doesn't lie: Owens is slower than last year and his body is starting to break down. Wide receivers don't get better after 30.)

So the Eagles have made the best of a bad situation. The only two questions left are: (1) Were they right to make the gamble in the first place? And (2) Will they regroup next year, the way the Pats did after winning their first Brady Super Bowl and missing the playoffs the following season?


Anonymous said...

Ridiculous press conference. Every apology he failed to make for the last several months. Boo freakin' hoo.

When I text messaged my brother Garrett, a Redskins season-ticket holder about T.O.'s season-ending discipline, he replied: "Mixed feelings. I loved how he was destroying that team."

That's almost Philly-level nasty. Jonathan will have to tip his hat.

Anonymous said...

Despite everything, though, can't you completely see Snyder signing this guy? I mean, it's the perfect marriage made in Hell.