NFC East: Rod Hood
Working off Domowitch's list, I'll offer my top remaining unrestricted free agent at each position:
Jake Delhomme, Panthers
LaDainian Tomlinson, Chargers
Terrell Owens, Bills
Note: The 29-year-old Josh Reed would be a lot less of a headache.
Randy McMichael, Rams
Note: McMichael is 30 but he's capable of scoring five or six touchdowns in the right offense.
Mike Gandy, Cardinals
Ryan Lilja, Colts
Kevin Mawae, Titans
Charles Grant, Saints
Jimmy Kennedy, Vikings
Larry Foote, Lions
Keith Bulluck, Titans
Note: Even at age 32, a highly productive player
Rod Hood, Titans
Note: What a weak, weak group. I used to like Dre Bly, but he's a declining player
Darren Sharper, Saints
Note: The Giants treat Antrel Rolle like some sort of All Pro while Sharper is on the street. I know Sharper is getting long in the tooth, but he can still play. The Broncos went after an aging Brian Dawkins. Some team should do the same with Sharper. Cowboys, anyone?
It's hard to say exactly when Terrell Owens became the biggest lightning rod in the NFL, but he firmly established his diva-hood when he went on the record questioning former 49ers quarterback Jeff Garcia's sexual preference. He has already banged out three books on himself as well as the children's classic, "Little T Learns to Share."
|AP Photo/Matt Slocum|
|The Cowboys have a decision to make regarding Terrell Owens' future with the team.|
Those books, which can be found in the self-indulgent section, describe a man who's always claimed to be misunderstood. He has been a wildly successful player, but he has worn out his welcome with two franchises -- and that number could soon grow to three.
Sensing a mild interest in T.O.'s current status with the Dallas Cowboys, I decided to come up with five reasons why the club should release the controversial wide receiver. We searched for someone to take the other side, but even noted contrarian Seth Wickersham of The Mag wasn't up to the task. "Fortunately" for me, almost 900 of my readers answered the call.
I read through most of your comments in an attempt to find the best counter-argument. Some of you angrily accused me of milking this topic in an attempt to increase "blog ratings," which is both hurtful and absolutely true.
But before any of us say something we might regret, here are my (highly anticipated) five reasons why the Cowboys should dump T.O.:
He's become way too powerful: With no one on the coaching staff capable of holding him in check and an adoring owner serving as an enabler, T.O. has become the most powerful voice in the franchise. He painted perennial Pro Bowl tight end Jason Witten as the snitch in Werdergate -- and pretty much everyone in the locker room believed him. He's the most charismatic player on the team, causing young players to flock to him.
It was amazing to watch how almost every defensive player aligned with him when he was seeking private meetings with offensive coordinator Jason Garrett to complain that Tony Romo obsessed over Witten too much in the offense. T.O. was joined by fellow receivers Patrick Crayton and Roy Williams, who had just 19 catches in 10 games with Dallas.
With a weak head coach in Wade Phillips, there's no one to police T.O. When he called out Garrett for not getting him involved, Jones and Phillips both sided with the player. As a wise man named Todd Haley once told Jones during an interview: "You'll never win anything with [T.O.] on your team."
- According to The Dallas Morning News, the Cowboys have had discussions with former NFL coach Dan Reeves about joining the organization as a consultant. But will Jerry Jones listen?
- Martellus Bennett may be in line for a fine from the team for a rap video he put out earlier this week.
New York Giants
- Justin Tuck takes a now-and-then look at this year's Super Bowl as a spectator vs. last year as a participant.
- In Tampa for Super Bowl festivities, Antonio Pierce says the 2008 season was a "missed opportunity" for the Giants.
- A week after losing Pat Shurmur to the St. Louis Rams, the Eagles now must replace Mark Whipple who was named the offensive coordinator at the University of Miami.
- Cardinals cornerback Rod Hood, preparing for Super Bowl XLIII in Tampa, talked about the controversial fourth-down play in the NFC Championship Game where he got tangled with Philadelphia receiver Kevin Curtis.
Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley
Eagles coach Andy Reid has been driving home a very specific message to his players this week. He wants them to remember what they did well in a 48-20 win over the Cardinals on Thanksgiving, but he wants them to forget about the margin of victory. It's a smart message because it would be easy for the Eagles to feel pretty good about themselves right about now.
In his news conference Wednesday, Reid was a little more specific about the changes the Cardinals have made on defense since that game.
"They are blitzing their safety, and their linebackers are doing a phenomenal job," said Reid. "I think it starts with their front getting off of the football the way they do. 92 [DE Bertrand Berry], 90 [DT Darnell Dockett], 94 [DE Antonio Smith] -- they all can rush the passer. Collectively that group is doing a great job. I think they have more confidence in their corners. [CB] Rod Hood did not play against us the last time, and he's playing. [CB Dominique] Rodgers-Cromartie has improved as the season went along and he's playing at a very high level right now. The better those guys play, the more I'm sure their coaches feel they can do schematically."
Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley
Earlier this afternoon, Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb talked to reporters about his benching Sunday and his relationship with head coach Andy Reid. McNabb said he's "fine" with Reid, but he still disagrees with Reid's decision to pull him at halftime of Sunday's loss in Baltimore. I'm providing you with the transcript from today. Go ahead and digest what McNabb said and then we can meet back here later and discuss:
On how he found out that he was named the starter for the game vs. Arizona:
Donovan McNabb: [Jokingly], I was told by the janitor. Me and him have a pretty good relationship around here. It was a pretty good conversation that we had.
On whether he's confident that he can play at a high level:
DM: I know I will. I think the rest of the guys know that as well. You look at the things that have happened, and it's kind of uncharacteristic of me and I know that. It's something that you have to battle through, playing the position. Not everyone goes through a perfect season. Some guys go through a little drama at the beginning, some go through it at the end. It's unfortunate that I'm going through it right now, but it's easy to bounce back from it. That's the way that I'm going to continue to approach this and I look forward to making changes this week.
On whether sitting out the second half at Baltimore helped him clear his head:
DM: I don't think so. A lot of it is, you're a competitor. It's no different, really, than basketball or baseball. If you're a little off, you keep shooting. That's the way I feel like you get out of a little drought, if you continue to keep firing, things are going to turn out for the better. That's going to be my approach, but we all need to go in there with a little different mindset, of obviously, taking care of the ball. It's nothing to the fact that I'm going to be gun-shy or anything. I'm going to stay aggressive, just keep playing ball and having fun in the process.
On the confidence level of the other players on the team in him:
DM: I think, at this particular point, you have to still have confidence in yourself first before you look around to someone else. You have to ask yourself, 'Are you doing your job to the fullest?' That's something that I continue to do and I've been doing throughout my career. Also, to have the understanding that, if I elevate my game to another level, then everyone else will begin to follow. You have to put pressure on yourself individually to go out and be that guy to turn things around; to make that big play to put us all in position to win the game. If all 53 guys do that, then we don't have any problems. We're in a situation right now where it's must-win and we have to turn this thing around, on the offensive side, and take pressure off of our defense and special teams and get back to the way we were playing."
Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley
It's looking like Redskins cornerback Shawn Springs (calf) will play against the Cowboys on Sunday night. Springs injured his calf in the third quarter of the Redskins' win at Texas Stadium earlier this season.
But in the first half of that game, Springs provided defensive coordinators across the league with a blueprint for defending Terrell Owens. Springs jammed T.O. at the line of scrimmage and refused to let him get into his normal routes. Over the next couple of weeks, Bengals cornerback Leon Hall and Cardinals cornerback Rod Hood took similar approaches.
Springs and T.O. have met 10 times during their careers, and both players have had their moments. Springs is the type of big, physical corner that can give T.O. fits. The Cowboys will try to put T.O. in motion a lot more Sunday in an attempt to make it tougher on Springs and Carlos Rogers.
Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley
Just spent a few minutes on the phone with ESPN's Chris Mortensen, who shared an interesting Felix Jones nugget. Mortensen is very familiar with all things Felix because his son plays quarterback for the University of Arkansas.
Mort said that the Cardinals almost took Jones with the No. 16 pick overall before deciding to take Tennessee State cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. The two players will square off Sunday in Glendale, Ariz.
Rodgers-Cromartie is currently the nickel corner for the Cardinals. It looks like former Eagles cornerback Rod Hood will be matched up with Terrell Owens for most of the game. And I'm sure he'll take a page out the Redskins game plan and jam T.O. at the line of scrimmage. I'm anxious to see how that works out.