JOHN GRANATO

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

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.


 

Most Popular

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome

Listen Live

ESPN Houston 97.5 FM
The Astros have their work cut out for them. Composite Getty Image.

Through 20 games, the Houston Astros have managed just six wins and are in last place in the AL West.

Their pitching staff trails only Colorado with a 5.24 ERA and big-money new closer Josh Hader has given up the same number of earned runs in 10 games as he did in 61 last year.

Despite this, these veteran Astros, who have reached the AL Championship Series seven consecutive times, have no doubt they’ll turn things around.

“If there’s a team that can do it, it’s this team,” shortstop Jeremy Peña said.

First-year manager Joe Espada, who was hired in January to replace the retired Dusty Baker, discussed his team’s early struggles.

“It’s not ideal,” he said. “It’s not what we expected, to come out of the shoot playing this type of baseball. But you know what, this is where we’re at and we’ve got to pick it up and play better. That’s just the bottom line.”

Many of Houston’s problems have stemmed from a poor performance by a rotation that has been decimated by injuries. Ace Justin Verlander and fellow starter José Urquidy haven’t pitched this season because of injuries and lefty Framber Valdez made just two starts before landing on the injured list with a sore elbow.

Ronel Blanco, who threw a no-hitter in his season debut April 1, has pitched well and is 2-0 with a 0.86 ERA in three starts this season. Cristian Javier is also off to a good start, going 2-0 with a 1.54 ERA in four starts, but the team has won just two games not started by those two pitchers.

However, Espada wouldn’t blame the rotation for Houston’s current position.

“It’s been a little bit of a roller coaster how we've played overall,” he said. “One day we get good starting pitching, some days we don’t. The middle relief has been better and sometimes it hasn’t been. So, we’ve just got to put it all together and then play more as a team. And once we start doing that, we’ll be in good shape.”

The good news for the Astros is that Verlander will make his season debut Friday night when they open a series at Washington and Valdez should return soon after him.

“Framber and Justin have been a great part of our success in the last few years,” second baseman Jose Altuve said. “So, it’s always good to have those two guys back helping the team. We trust them and I think it’s going to be good.”

Hader signed a five-year, $95 million contract this offseason to give the Astros a shutdown 7-8-9 combination at the back end of their bullpen with Bryan Abreu and Ryan Pressly. But the five-time All-Star is off to a bumpy start.

He allowed four runs in the ninth inning of a 6-1 loss to the Braves on Monday night and has yielded eight earned runs this season after giving up the same number in 56 1/3 innings for San Diego last year.

He was much better Wednesday when he struck out the side in the ninth before the Astros fell to Atlanta in 10 innings for their third straight loss.

Houston’s offense, led by Altuve, Yordan Alvarez and Kyle Tucker, ranks third in the majors with a .268 batting average and is tied for third with 24 homers this season. But the Astros have struggled with runners in scoring position and often failed to get a big hit in close games.

While many of Houston’s hitters have thrived this season, one notable exception is first baseman José Abreu. The 37-year-old, who is in the second year of a three-year, $58.5 million contract, is hitting 0.78 with just one extra-base hit in 16 games, raising questions about why he remains in the lineup every day.

To make matters worse, his error on a routine ground ball in the eighth inning Wednesday helped the Braves tie the game before they won in extra innings.

Espada brushed off criticism of Abreu and said he knows the 2020 AL MVP can break out of his early slump.

“Because (of) history,” Espada said. “The back of his baseball card. He can do it.”

Though things haven’t gone well for the Astros so far, everyone insists there’s no panic in this team which won its second World Series in 2022.

Altuve added that he doesn’t have to say anything to his teammates during this tough time.

“I think they’ve played enough baseball to know how to control themselves and how to come back to the plan we have, which is winning games,” he said.

The clubhouse was quiet and somber Wednesday after the Astros suffered their third series sweep of the season and second at home. While not panicking about the slow start, this team, which has won at least 90 games in each of the last three seasons, is certainly not happy with its record.

“We need to do everything better,” third baseman Alex Bregman said. “I feel like we’re in a lot of games, but we just haven’t found a way to win them. And good teams find a way to win games. So we need to find a way to win games.”

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome