If any Cowboys fans came away from the Redskins game debacle on Thanksgiving Day still believing in what the Cowboys are trying to do, then you are not an optimistic person, you are simply delusional. It’s time to face the reality that this team isn’t going to the playoffs any time soon and instead are headed down hill quickly.
GM Jerry Jones: Let’s start at the top and it’s actually where I want to spend the least time because this one isn’t going to change any time soon. I would prefer to focus on the controllable. Jerry is in charge and he isn’t going to fire himself.
First of all, Jerry is an excellent salesman (it’s how he made his fortune) and when it comes to getting a deal done, Jerry is as good at it, as you will see.
Now for the bad news. Jerry is terrible at evaluating NFL talent. He doesn’t know near as much about football as he thinks he does and that is a big problem when you are the GM of an NFL team. Jimmy Johnson has pointed that out before.
Like many mega rich successful guys, Jerry has an enormous ego and will not be content to just be behind the scenes playing a low profile role. That’s not exciting enough for Jerry. He didn’t buy the team to watch some other guy get the credit. This is his toy and it provides Jerry an adrenalin rush to be in the war room making deals and picks. He is hooked on it like a drug and he can’t just drop it and let someone more qualified make the calls.
Think of it like this. Jerry would prefer to drive the car and wreck than let someone else drive and get to the destination safely. That is a big problem.
Enough on that topic. Until Jerry decides (if ever) to let someone better qualified run the show, this will continue to undermine the teams chances of success. When will winning become more important than being in the spot light? Where is that point? I don’t know but it is probably not going to happen.
Coach Jason Garrett: Jason was a back up NFL QB and he is now a back up NFL head coach. That’s all he will be too. He took over in mid season after the firing of Wade Phillips and so far it hasn’t turned the corner for the good. Things are getting worse actually.
Numerous, never ending offsides penalties on the offensive line are unacceptable. Real head coaches would clean that crap up in the preseason but the Cowboys still have it past the midpoint of the season. A real NFL head coach would do what is necessary to fix it even if it meant cutting players. Usually a coach only has to cut one player and then the rest of them get the message loud and clear.
This week former Cowboy Michael Irvin stated that Jimmy Johnson would have cut tackle Doug Free on the spot for his poor play against the Browns. Hey I’m not arguing with old number 88. He is right. HERE
Communication between the QB (Romo) and his WRs continues to be an issue every game. It never seems to get corrected. That is on the offensive coordinator and head coach and Jason wears both hats.
Jason a nice fellow? Yes, without a doubt and probably better suited to coach QBs only, and not the entire team. Garrett is the kind of guy anyone would want to call friend I think, but can he effectively mold and lead a group of men into a team? So far it isn’t happening. Often I think Garrett is too nice and encouraging to players that could use a kick to the rear for their own good. His low key demeanor is not what is needed at times.
Players who played on the super bowl teams coached by Jimmy Johnson will tell you he was tough on them and pushed them very hard to be the best. They actually feared not doing their job right. That’s missing in Dallas these days where it is more like a country club environment which is how Johnson described it recently. His words not mine.
“All the players in this league think they’re self-motivated and that’s a bunch of bull because there are only a handful that are self-motivated,” Johnson said. “So you’ve got to motivate these players through some respect but the No. 1 motivator is fear. Fear of letting down your teammates, being embarrassed or fear of losing the job. Where is the fear in Dallas? There’s no fear in Dallas. It’s a country club where everybody is buddies.”
Jason uses a boy scout approach of where he wants players to “earn the star” on their helmet in preseason. Give me a break. This is NFL football. It’s a man’s game and there is a lot at stake so the sooner players learn they must produce to stay in the NFL, the better off they will be in the long run.
Rob Ryan: Like all the Ryans, Buddy and Rex too, they suffer from diarrhea of the mouth and constipation of the brain. Rob would be way better off getting involved in pro wrestling where he can talk up big matches and then not be held accountable for the results. But that’s just not the way it is in the NFL. In the end you either get it done or you don’t.
Last year we heard his excuses of how they didn’t have time to learn his complex defense. This season investments were made in the defense too. CB Carr cost them 50 million and they traded up to get another CB Morris Claibourne with the 6th pick in the draft. So far neither has had great seasons. Claibourne was awful in the Browns game where he just grabbed hold of the WRs. What was that about? Anyone can cover WRs in the NFL if allowed to grab them.
Ryan has a big heart for sure. He cares about winning and losing and I like that however he doesn’t seem to ever get it that the other team cares about it too. Too often his talk down plays his opponents’ ability and that only serves to motivate them while not motivating his own players. That’s pretty much the opposite of what a defensive coach should do.
Ryan has failed to pressure QBs without blitzing. Dallas must pressure QBs better for them to win and Ryan just hasn’t figured out how to do it.
ROMO at QB: A very polarizing topic but the fact is the gun slinger experiment is over. Romo can make some of the most exciting plays you will see in the NFL but his turnovers (leading the NFL in interceptions) just kill a team.
The Cowboys would be better served with a well disciplined less exciting QB that is well coached. Kind of like Alex Smith in San Francisco. Not making ESPN with a spectacular play all the time or making ESPN with a horrible play either. Alex just “drives the bus” as coach Parcells preached. Parcells (a super bowl winning coach) made Romo better but even he couldn’t win a title with him.
Time for a QB to just drive the bus.
O LINE: If there is one thing Dallas had back in the day, it was a physical offensive line that would crush opponents. They do not have it now at all. This line today was patched together as an after thought by the GM (Jerry) and consist of guys that other teams simply didn’t want. (I called Jerry out for this in a blog in April) It is the weakest part of the team but I would argue it is the most important area where a GM can spend money. The O-line is critical to success.
The inability to run the ball and protect the QB starts and ends right here. The foundation to building a winning team will be the offensive line.
Is there hope of a better Cowboys team in the future?
I’m convinced that the combination of Jerry Jones and Jimmy Johnson was successful because Jimmy made the personnel decisions while Jerry cut the deals behind the scenes. I’m convinced it stopped working because Jimmy started getting more credit for their success than Jerry the owner. I also believe both were better together than apart.
Change must come at the top for the Cowboys to improve. When Jerry’s desire to win super bowls becomes greater than his desire to be in the spot light and get the credit, that is when things will get better. That means putting his ego on the shelf and playing an important but lower profile role.
For now, this Cowboys fan is not holding his breath for that to happen any time soon….