October 18 2002
By Bryan Hersh of 49ers Paradise
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Since the start of the season Iíve been keeping tabs on how many passes Terrell Owens drops. Itís not that Iím anti-Owens, but I do see his inability to hold onto catch-able balls as a problem. While it can be argued what balls are catch-able and what balls arenít, the ones Iím counting are those that hit Owens, or pass through his hands/arms. Conversely, I donít count defensive players batting the ball out of his hands, or passes that arenít on target. On a similar note, I also donít count plays where Owens simply stops running his pattern - which isnít happening now, as much as it was at the beginning of the season.
To date, Owens has recorded nine drops, which is 1.8 a game. This past Monday night, Owens dropped two balls that fit into the category described above. These drops were insignificant compared to some of the ones earlier this season in that none were potential touchdowns, but certainly when the ball is in Owens hands you really never know.
Owens is a dangerous weapon. He can be the teams biggest play maker but is also often responsible with losing his concentration, or trying to hard to make the play instead of catching the ball. The resulting dropped passes can be extremely damaging to the offense considering Owens is the teamís Ďgo to guyí and will see more balls thrown his way than any other player- even if the other players tend to hold onto the ball more.
Owens needs to start holding on to the ball every time it comes his way. The occasional drop is understandable, but the 1.8 average per game is too high for a play making receiver. He must learn that catching the ball is more important than the big play, and thus he must lean to catch the ball first and then try and make plays, this idea alone should be able to limit Owensí dropped balls.