T.O.'s Absence Creates a Dynamic Dallas Cowboy Offense

Daniel NationsContributor IMay 27, 2009

PHILADELPHIA - DECEMBER 28:  Tony Romo #9 of the Dallas Cowboys throws a pass against the Philadelphia Eagles on December 28, 2008 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

With no big-name free agent signings and no first-day draft picks, the biggest change to the Dallas Cowboys offense will be a minus-81 from last year, and that might just calculate to a better overall offense.

While there's no doubting Terrell Owens' numbers—he accounted for 3,587 yards and 38 touchdowns over the last three years—his production won't vanish into a black hole.

It's easy to become enamored with T.O.'s stats, but the Cowboys aren't lacking playmakers on offense. Among the skill positions, they have four players who have been to at least one Pro Bowl, including wide receiver Roy Williams. That gives the Cowboys a Pro Bowl-caliber player at quarterback, tight end, wide receiver and half back.

No, the Cowboys aren't in need of talent.

What they are in need of is the ability to get the ball into the hands of their playmakers, and that is one area where the subtraction of T.O. might actually help.

It's no secret the Cowboys forced the ball into T.O.'s hands last year, even to the point of lining him up in the backfield and handing him the ball. His absence will create freedom for offensive coordinator Jason Garrett to utilize other playmakers.

And there are plenty of playmakers on the Cowboys' roster.

In addition to Tony Romo, Jason Witten, Marion Barber, and Williams, the Cowboys have Felix Jones and Martellus Bennett, who both flashed playmaking ability in their rookie campaigns. And Tashard Choice has forced the discussion toward a three-headed monster in the backfield with his play in limited action last year.

Also, let's not forget about Patrick Crayton and Miles Austin. Crayton has proved to be a very reliable receiver, and Austin looks to be busting at the seams to have a breakout season.

This will create a much more dynamic offense than the one we saw last season. The Cowboys have the versatility to line up in a two-tight-end set with both tight ends capable of making big plays down the field.

We will also see a Wildcat formation with fourth-round quarterback Stephen McGee providing both a running and passing threat. And not only will they create mismatches with their tight ends, but expect to see Jones split out as a wide receiver, thus forcing the defense into even more touch decisions.

All of this will prove to be a major headache for opposing defensive coordinators who will need to account for a bevy of playmakers rather than just one.