Can Jason Garrett's Offense Thrive without a Deep Threat?

RD Lockhart@@lockhartlineContributor IMay 24, 2009

IRVING, TX - MAY 01:  Offensive coordinator Jason Garrett of the Dallas Cowboys during rookie mini camp on May 1, 2009 in Irving, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

DALLAS - In just two seasons leading the Dallas Cowboys offense, Jason Garrett has proven that with a solid running game and at least one decent deep threat at wide receiver his offensive scheme can be one of the most productive in the league. 

The unceremonious dismissal of the Cowboys purest vertical offensive threat, Terrell "the terrible" Owens, earlier this year signified to this observer that change was coming. 

Whether it's a change for the better or a change for the worst is still up for debate.

The aching feeling fans have in their gut over how last season ended with the 44-6 drubbing at the hands of the hated Philadelphia Eagles will only intensify if the Cowboys do not produce immediately in 2009.

Getting back a healthy Felix Jones at running back will help bolster the backfield and rejuvenate the mid-range passing attack. But, who will step up and help stretch the field 20 yards and beyond?

T. O., as unabashed as he may be about getting the ball thrown his way, did produce, the Cowboys offense ranked fifth in the league in passing in 2006 and fourth in 2007 respectfully.  

The midseason acquisition of former University of Texas standout wide receiver Roy (double uno) Williams was supposed to launch the offense into the stratosphere.

Unfortunately, the Romo to Williams aerial assault never took flight due to injuries. In seven starts last season Williams had just two touchdowns and 19 receptions for less than 200 total receiving yards.  

After the explosive 2007 season, Garrett was heralded by many in the press, as a future head coach of the 'Boys. Without a health Romo, last season was an aberration but without T. O. that may be putting it lightly.

The Cowboys 2009 expected no. 1 receiver, Roy Williams, many times looked like a square peg desperately trying to fit in a round hole last season.  

And besides, Pro-bowl tight end Jason Witten (81 recs, 952 yards, 4 TDs) the other cast members of the "fearsome nobodies" that make up the Dallas passing attack, Austin, Hurd, Crayton haven't come close to making 100 receptions combined in the past two seasons.

Garrett, a innovative play-caller and youthful strategist, has been known to flirt with other organizations interviewing for head coaching positions around the league.  He has remained with Dallas either out of blind loyalty or ego.  However, this season will not only put his offense to the test but may put his head coaching future in the NFL in jeopardy as well.