Cowboys Can't Do Without . . .

problem to most teams in the NFL.

Then there is Jason Witten, and I was considering naming a Co-Mr. Indispensible since the argument for the four-time Pro Bowl tight end is so compelling. Come on, the guy caught 96 passes last year. Second among Cowboys tight ends, Anthony Fasano, finished with 82 fewer catches, and he's not even here anymore. Worse, the guy now being considered the second tight end, Tony Curtis, has all of three NFL catches, albeit each a touchdown, to his credit, and the likely guy behind him has none, second-round draft choice Martellus Bennett.

A strong, strong case can be made for Witten, yet my only hesitancy is this: While tight ends in the NFL are important these days, offenses generally can adapt to the lack of a Pro Bowl one. Just find a guy who can block decently enough, and an offense should be able to make do. Tight end, while valuable, should not become crippling without one of the league's best. Go ask the Giants.

So to me, and if you are following along at home on this, you probably sense where I'm going, and there will be a few of you accusing me of playing both ends against the middle. But hear me out: The 2008 Mr. Indispensible for the Dallas Cowboys is . . . .

Terrell Owens.

Not so shocking, is it?

Owens is the most important player at the most important position not named quarterback that must be considered the thinnest, with or without veteran Terry Glenn, and at this point, while financial logic says the season will include him, health willing, you just never know.

This you can't argue, and I don't point to his 81 catches this past season for a team-leading 1,335 yards and a franchise single-season record 15 touchdown grabs. We were unfortunately afforded visual evidence what life on the Cowboys is like without Owens when he suffered the high ankle sprain late in the second quarter of Game 15 against Carolina.

To that point, in 14½ games, the Cowboys were averaging 30.8 points a game. In the final 2½ games, including the playoff loss to the Giants Owens played at far less than even 90 percent, the Cowboys averaged 10.4 points a game, with 12 of those produced by mere field goals.

Yeah, keeping Owens healthy and on the field would seem vitally important to me.

Now I can just hear some of you fuming, accusing me of defending the Cowboys failure to draft a wide receiver, yet now saying this highly important position is quite thin, especially if Owens gets hurt. Now what I said was this: There was not a wide receiver available where the Cowboys where drafting who could come in this year to help them more than the guys they already had on the team; that there was not a receiver available where they were drafting in the second, third or fourth rounds capable of offsetting the loss of Owens. That is what I said.

And if you remember, when there were suggestions of trading for a veteran, proven lead receiver, I was all for it, as long as you were not giving up two first-round picks - forfeiting your ability to select a running back or cornerback, and possibly both, in the first round. Heck yeah for a first I'd have traded for Roy Williams or Chad Johnson or Anquan Boldin. But remember, just because I want to trade doesn't indicate someone else's desire to dance with me.

Also, while the Cowboys can be productive without Glenn, having proven that last year, not sure even the bonus of a healthy Glenn on the field thoroughly offsets the absence of Owens. They are far too different wide receivers, and to me, Glenn is more of a complementary receiver than a lead dog. And the same goes for the other guys like Patrick Crayton, possibly Sam Hurd and Miles Austin. Don't see a lead dog among them.

There also will be those deriding this choice because I've balked at the suggestion of picking up Chris Henry. Come on, how many suspended guys do you want on one roster? That move would be a sign of shear desperation.

To me, it would have been bad enough solely depending on the previously undependable Adam Jones to bail out the Cowboys at cornerback, which they didn't, by the way, but to think the chronically-troubled Henry would be the answer at wide receiver is even more preposterous. You can't depend on this

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.