JOHN GRANATO

As long as Jerry Jones is around, Cowboys are a train wreck

Jerry Jones continues to be Jerry Jones. Rob Carr

Texans owner Bob McNair had a rough offseason. Seemed like every time he opened his mouth he got into hot water. The “inmates running the prison” was his crowning achievement. It cost him any chance of getting that statue of him erected.

After an 0-3 start there was plenty of talk about another lost season and where ultimately that blame should fall: into the lap of Bob McNair.

The team has turned its fortunes around but are they elite? No. Do we believe that this team can be special and win at the highest level? There really is no reason to think so.

But there is one thing we can thank Bob McNair for:

He’s not Jerry Jones.

While I wanted to see the Titans lose to the Cowboys Monday night so the Texans could extend their lead in the division, it was so much more fun watching Jerry squirm in his owner’s box while his sons kept their scowls for the cameras properly intact.

It was quite the night.

Another loss and another multi-turnover game for Dak Prescott.  But since then Jerry has given him the ultimate vote of confidence saying that Dak will get a contract extension.

Thank you Lord. Thank you for giving us Jerry Jones. He is the gift that keeps on giving.

What about Dak’s play gives you any indication that he deserves that kind of vote of confidence?

Through nine weeks Dak is the 24th rated QB in the league. He’s 26th in yards per attempt, 29th in yards per game. He’s tied for 22nd with 10 touchdown passes. He hasn’t thrown for 300 yards in a game this season. After a fantastic rookie season, he and the team have regressed in every meaningful way.

Also getting a reprieve after yet another loss was head coach Jason Garrett. He will not be fired during the season. And why should he? In his ninth year as the Cowboys head coach he has 69 wins and 58 losses. He’s been to the playoffs twice with one win in his eight full seasons to show for it. One. How could you possibly let him slip away?

On Tuesday Troy Aikman finally said what we have all been thinking for a long time. There needs to be a complete overhaul in the organization. It couldn’t have been easy for him to say that. He and Jerry Jones go back a long way. They won championships together. He stopped short of calling for Jerry to sell the team but he did use the word dysfunction and called for them to address how everything is done.

Good luck Troy. That is probably falling on deaf ears. Running the team is far more important to Jerry than winning. He proved that when he pushed Jimmy Johnson out the door. Jimmy took too much of the credit for those championships. Jerry’s ego couldn’t let that happen.

When asked by ESPN why he wouldn’t hire a real general manager Jerry said that he wouldn’t write the check for any player the G.M. chose unless he knew everything about him first. Why have a middle man?

Sound thinking there except for one small issue. What if you’re not any good at choosing and evaluating players?

There was a time when it looked like Jerry had turned a corner. It was the 2014 draft. With Johnny Manziel and all his star power in the state of Texas on the board and the Cowboys holding the 16th pick, Jerry’s son Stephen talked Jerry off the Johnny train and instead took guard Zack Martin out of Notre Dame. He was the third first-round offensive lineman the Cowboys had chosen in four years.

It shook me to think that Jerry had actually made a sensible and intelligent pick instead of that shiny new money making toy he could have paraded out at AT&T Stadium every week.

I don’t want to live in a world where Jerry Jones makes smart draft picks. I just don’t. But he did. Martin has gone on to become a perennial Pro Bowler while Johnny is toiling in anonymity in Canada.

But getting your first round pick right a few times does not make you a successful G.M. (see Rick Smith) and Jerry and Stephen Jones have been anything but successful G.M.’s. I say both because Stephen is the G.M. in name only. It’s been a collaboration, a collaboration of futility.

Next year they don’t have a first rounder because they gave that up for WR Amari Cooper. Then Golden Tate went for a third rounder and Demaryius Thomas for a fourth. Keep doing you Jerry. Keep doing you.

But nothing will change. It hasn’t for two decades. What other G.M. could possibly keep his job with just two playoff wins in 20 years? None.

After yet another dismal season Jason Garrett will probably be the scapegoat but maybe not. He’s been teflon, probably because he won’t challenge Jerry’s authority or celebrity. Can’t have a successful coach taking away some of the spotlight. That is unacceptable in Big D.

It may sound like I disapprove of all of this. I apologize if that’s what you’ve gleaned from this article. Be assured that I totally approve of the way Jerry is going about running the Cowboys.

My two favorite teams are the Texans and whoever is playing the Cowboys.

It’s not about the Cowboys per se. It’s more about their fans. Somehow someway they remain insufferable even through all this futility and incompetence. Twenty years ago when they were good it was unbearable.

Not to worry though Texan fan. The Cowboys won’t be good again for the foreseeable future. Not on Jerry’s watch.


 

Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images

Often times, sports can be a copycat forum. Whether it's trying to replicate an offense, defense, philosophy, or outright style biting, we rarely see anything original. Sports sometimes take their cues from Hollywood. How many remakes of old movies and ideas have we seen? Or, how many different iterations of a successful movie franchise will we continue to get shoved down our throats? (I'm looking at you Fast And Furious. But I'm going to see the new one anyway.)

Every so often, we'll get the pleasure of a trailblazer. Someone who stands out against the crowd and prefers to do something so out of the box, we may choose to fully embrace the different approach, or, we may choose to mock the out of the box ideas. The Texans have chosen to blaze their own trail and go with a general manager by committee for the upcoming season. They came to this conclusion (forced into it) after a failed attempt to woo Nick Caserio away from the Patriots amidst tampering charges. Bill O'Brien, Jack Easterby, Chris Olsen, and Jamey Rootes will all play a part in fulfilling the role of GM. I go back and forth as to whether they've made the right decision and whether or not it'll work. Let's take a look at a few reasons to support both sides of the argument:

Will Work: Three or four heads better than one

Texans Chairman and CEO D. Cal McNair

houstontexans.com

Think back to when you were in school. I know that may be difficult for some of us that are long removed from those days. What was one of your favorite type of assignments? Typically, group assignments were fun because you got to collaborate with others on a project. It worked best if you chose your own group because you knew everyone would pull their weight. This may be the case here, as long as there are clear cut lines in which each person will operate and how tough decisions will be made.

Won't Work: Too many sheriffs, not enough cops

Texans EVP of Team Development Jack Easterby

houstontexans.com

Those same group projects have also been known to cause division, friction, and make getting a good grade nearly impossible. All of the guys on this committee have primary responsibilities. Now they have to take on extra duties. This can lead to some lacking in areas of each of their jobs. We've all experienced a collaborative effort gone wrong. Whether someone didn't pull their weight, or someone was a control freak, there's always a chance of something going awry when multiple people have to come together for a common goal, especially when you're dealing with a bunch of alpha males used to being the in charge of their own lane but forced to cooperate and collaborate with others.

Will Work: Everyone's seats are hot

Texans President Jamey Rootes

houstontexans.com

I grew up respecting the knowledge older people could pass along. I may not have always listened to what they said, but I most definitely absorbed those lessons. One saying I remember and still hold onto is "pressure can make a diamond or crack a pipe." The former is why I think this setup will work. When former GM Brian Gaine was fired late into this offseason, it put everyone on notice that their jobs are also on the line. If this group can feel that heat and use it to fuel them positively, this GM by committee thing can work.

Won't Work: No blueprint or copycat source

Texans Senior VP of Football Operations Chris Olsen

houstontexans.com

Like I said previously, sports are a copycat forum. Usually, there's someone somewhere that's done it before that you can get a few pointers from. Hell, the Texans organization has been trying to replicate what the Patriots have done for almost their whole existence! However, there hasn't been an example that I can think of in which any sports franchise has had a committee of people fill the role of GM instead of a single person. When you have an example to follow, it's similar to having directions on assembling a toy you've bought for your kid. Next time you try putting something together, do it without the instructions and see how easy/difficult it could be.

While the draft and the bulk of free agency has come and gone, there's always work a GM is doing that will help his team. There are always players on other teams to watch in case they're cut. There's also college players to keep an eye on for the upcoming draft, as well as a multitude of other duties an NFL GM has on a daily basis. Information funneled through one person and sent out to others is much more concise than being funneled through several and sent out to many.

Signals can get crossed. Critical steps or info can get missed and/or overlooked. However, we don't know if this will or won't work because we have nothing to base it off of. We will have to wait and see how this plays out. Who knows? We may be on the verge of something new and innovative in sports. We could also be seeing a disaster the likes of which we've never seen. Let's wait and see what happens before we pass judgement.

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