There's still something left
CLICK TO REACT
I wrote the player comment for T.O. in the 2010 Football Outsiders Almanac, which gave my feelings about what he has left in the tank. An excerpt:
Yes, he dropped many catchable balls with the Bills last season, but he's always done that. No, he didn't run great routes, but he never has before. Did he occasionally gripe about not enough targets? Sure. Was he an average player in Dallas in 2008? Undeniably, but the end of his time there was as much about trying to validate the ridiculous Roy Williams trade as anything else. The black hole that was Buffalo's passing game affected every receiver on the team's roster last season -- Lee Evans' DYAR went from 213 in 2008 to -15 last season because the guys throwing the ball to him belonged in the middle of UFL depth charts. Josh Reed's [DYAR] went from 123 to 43; watch that number shoot through the roof now that he's catching passes from Philip Rivers.
Of course, the most ironic thing about Owens' 2009 season was that, after all those years of throwing great and undeserving quarterbacks under the bus, he was in the middle of the worst quarterback soup in the NFL, and he barely made a peep about it. Unless you watched the Bills last year (and judging by the team's current financial situation, you probably didn't), it's difficult to understand just how bad the troika of Ryan Fitzpatrick, Trent Edwards, and Brian Brohm really was, or how much it affected the prospects of legitimate players like Owens, Evans, and Fred Jackson. Having among the worst offensive lines in football didn't help, either.
Owens is what he is, and certainly at this point in his career, he's not going to change. You have to take the good -- the ability to get open, the slashing durability after the catch, and the surprising top-end speed -- with the bad. Yes, he still runs boxy routes, drops easy balls, and will, at some point, let his freak flag fly. But in a general sense, he's a great one-year rental who's in his very best behavior (and yes, we have to grade on a curve there) until familiarity breeds contempt. There are enough teams with little to speak of at the receiver position to make Owens' continued employment a bit of a mystery.
The comments to this entry are closed.