Posted on: March 6, 2009 2:06 pm
Edited on: March 7, 2009 9:27 pm

Addition By Subtraction - T.O. vs Kurt Warner

So most of us have heard this term before.

The term "addition by subtraction", as used in sports, is often referred to cutting a player to make the team better. The most recent example is Terrell Owens. The idea is that by cutting T.O., you are ridding yourself of distractions in and out of the locker room. It's no secret that T.O. gets a lot of press coverage. Everybady wants to hear what he's going to say next. While I don't agree with most of the things that come out of T.O.'s mouth, I can comfortably say that some of his conversations have been misconstrued by the press and blown way out of proportion. Still, right or wrong, he's a distraction. So by cutting him, the Cowboys feel that they move on without the circus act distractions that go along with him. Many analysts feel that this was the wrong decision...that the Cowboys will now suffer without their star receiver. I disagree.

The Cowboys have a solid foundation in place. We've seen T.O. cause disaster to the 49ers. So much so that the team went 2-14 the following year. But this was a team with an assortment of issues (ranging from ownership on down). So the dropoff in performance cannot be directed at the loss of T.O. In contrast, we saw the same disaster happen with the Eagles when T.O. tried to hold out and eventually was shown the the door. The Eagles bounced back from a 6-10 record during a T.O. "distraction" year to 10-6 the following season. It should also be noted that the Eagles had the #2 offense the year after T.O. was released. So life goes on without T.O. The Eagles had a solid foundation in place. They had a franchise QB (McNabb), a playmaking RB (Westbrook) and a "not so stellar but respectable" defense. The 49ers didn't have any of this after T.O. left. But if you take a look at the Cowboys. They have a franchise QB (Romo...still learning, but can make some impressive throws), a solid RB duo (led by Barber), a stud TE (Witten) and a solid defense. The Cowboys will play better as a team for 2009...and that's with or without Roy Williams (receiver).

The reason why I started this article was to talk about Kurt Warner. You're asking yourself "How does this apply to T.O.? Warner is still with the Cardinals and he's not a distraction". Good question. I merely wanted to show the two faces of "addition by subtraction".

This past week, we saw a spectacle of a show which started with Kurt Warner not signing the Cardinals original offer, and then sending his agent to San francisco which led to a visit by Warner himself and ultimately the power of god telling Warner to get up 45 minutes into Coach Singletary's speech and fly back to Arizona. Well everything is happy-land back in Arizona but the whole episode caused a scene here in San Francisco. Local radio shows and newspapers criticize the 49ers for creating speculation on Warner and sending mixed messages to the current QB's and fans. There were several questions asked - Why bring Warner in and let him walk away without a deal? Where does Warner fit?

I'm with the rest of the general populace in believing that this was a leveraging tactic by Warner's agent. From start to finish, I never suspected Warner would sign with the 49ers. I aslo firmly believe the 49ers felt the same way. So why bring him in?

In my opinion, this was a calculated risk. What if you knew that you could potentially cripple your division rival by taking away their greatest asset. Would you do it? I would. That would be 2 easier wins during the season. And we all know that professional sports is all about winning nowadays. Let's be realistic here. The Cardinals aren't the same team without Warner. Leinart has already shown that he can't make the same decisions and throws that Warner can. So by signing Warner away from the Cardinals, you harm the team in a way that can't be resolved through this year's free agency or the draft.

But what if Warner did sign with the 49ers?

Simple. Shaun Hill has not been guaranteed the starting job. There will be competition. Let's say Warner came in and had a stellar camp and preseason. So he starts. Two things can happen afterwards. 1) Warner performs horribly the first 2 or 3 games and Hill is inserted and capable of managing the offense through the rest of the season. 2) Warner performs stellar and keeps the starting gig the rest of the way. It's really a win-win. We already know Hill can win games in the current system so Warner failing doesn't hurt uthe team. The 49ers are cap-healthy. So even if Warner rides the pine for 2 years, it wouldn't have a considerable negative impact on the team. But the Cardinals would be without Warner for 2 years. It was a calculated risk, and it didn't work. The 49ers are not worse off now than before the Warner speculation started.

But if it did work, the Cardinals wouldn't be the same team for 2009.

...addition by subtraction...the other way.





Posted on: November 17, 2008 6:01 pm
Edited on: November 18, 2008 7:22 pm

Coaches On The Hotseat?

Coaches on the hotseat. Life is short for the players in the NFL. It's even shorter for most NFL coaches. We've already witnessed 3 head coach firings this season, Scott Linehan (Rams), Lane Kiffin (Raiders), and Mike Nolan (49ers). The teams below are sinking fast and their needs to be a scapegoat. So let's take a look at the rest of the potential free agent coaches for 2009.

Norv Turner - San Diego Chargers, 4-6 - The Chargers need to go deep into the playoffs. That's why Norv was hired. How do the Chargers figure that firing Schottenheimer and hiring Turner would be an improvement? After all, Norv, as a head coach, has always struggled getting to the playoffs.

Wade Phillips - Dallas Cowboys, 5-4 - Like the Chargers, this is another team with high expectations. Phillips' head coaching career wasn't much better than Norv's before arriving to the Cowboys. Again, why do owners/GMs hire coaches with poor track records and expect them to go deep into the playoffs?

Romeo Crennel - Cleveland Browns, 3-6 - after a 10-6 finish last year and missing the playoffs, the Browns have already reached their loss total from last year. When you go 10-6 and miss the playoffs, you might get a pass. What if you follow that up with a sub-0.500 finish?

Marvin Lewis - Cincinnati Bengals, 1-8-1 - Things could be worse. The Bengals could've actually been 1-9 if McNabb would known about "ties". The lack of urgency on McNabb's part gave the Bengals a non-loss. However, it also gave them a non-win. I'm surprised Lewis has made it this far. After all, 3 other coaches have already been fired this season. The Bengals rebuilt when Lewis was hired. They have 1 playoff appearance to show for it and they are on the verge of rebuilding again. Lewis' time is up and Mike Brown needs to go to. Oh wait...you can't fire owners. There couldn't possibly be any team in a situation worse than the Bengals. But then again...

Rod Marinelli - Detroit Lions, winless - I couldn't even honor the Lions with a numbered record. It doesn't matter. They are bad from the top down. The offense isn't bad with Calvin Johnson and Kevin Smith with bright futures. But wasn't Marinelli brought in to fix the defense? The Lions gave up an average of 377 ypg in 2007. This year, they are giving up 401 ypg. And that's without Mike Martz's turnover prone offense to help them out. Matt Millen is gone. Now almost everything associated with Millen needs to go too. Even Rod Marinelli.

Sean Payton - New Orleans Saints, 5-5 - The Saints were a preseason favorite to win the NFC South. There were problems on the defense that were addressed by the drafting of Sedrick Ellis and the acquisition of Jonathon Vilma. But lately, the Saints are falling behind in games and forced to play catch up. Injuries have taken their toll on both side of the ball. I think Payton is the least likely to get fired out of the bunch. But their worst 2 losses came at the hands of their division rivals losing by 23 to the Panthers and by 14 to the rebuilt Falcons have you wondering how prepared this team is on Sundays.

Honorable Mention - Brad Childress - Minnesota Vikings, 5-5 - Childress is fortunate that the division lead is tied at 5-5. A win yesterday could've placed the Vikings on top of the NFC North. If the Vikings do not make the playoffs as a division winner or wildcard contender, then he will have to wonder why he didn't address the QB situation in the offseason.

Mike Holmgren (Seattle Seahawks) is about as lame duck as you can get and the Seahawks are paying for it with a 2-8 record.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com