Yesterday, the Cowboys opened training camp with their traditional Jerry Jones led press conference. However, when question time came around, Jason Garrett did most of the answering. Much is being made over the meaning of this. Headlines today include: “Jason Garrett, not Jerry, is in driver’s seat”, and, “All signs point to Garrett taking control of Cowboys.” Forgive me if I roll my eyes.
I’m sure Garrett has more control of this team than Wade Phillips did. That’s not saying much. Todd Palin has more control than Wade was given. Not to say that Jerry hasn’t given up some power to Garrett. He has a pattern of doing that when he’s tired of losing. But, even with Parcells, it always remained clear that Jerry was running the show. In fact, many would point to that as a reason for The Tuna retiring. Need I remind everyone of the TO situation?
If there is anything we’ve learned during Jerry’s twenty plus years as owner, it’s that he’s always in control. His domineering personality caused Jimmy to leave. It led to hires like Dave Campo, Barry Switzer, and Wade Phillips. When he grows tired of losing, he’ll occasionally re-evaluate and relinquish a little bit. He did that with Parcells and may have done it with Garrett. But, let’s be clear. Just because Garrett answered most of the questions at the team’s opening press conference, does not mean he’s calling all the shots. The Dallas Cowboy machine is still Jerry’s baby.
Obviously, Jerry takes a lot of heat for the way he runs the franchise, but there is no denying his strong desire to win. I’ll take that over a profit first owner all day. There are actually some parallels between Jerry and Mark Cuban. And, if we learned anything from Dallas’ other eccentric owner, it’s that a rich man who only wants a championship will eventually get one. Maybe Jerry will learn a thing or two from Cubes’ willingness to change his approach last year. However, even if he doesn’t, I still like his chances of eventually getting his fourth and the Cowboys’ six. Some day it will happen.
None of this is meant as a knock on Garrett. Coaching the Cowboys has to be an exceedingly difficult task. It’s probably the toughest gig in the NFL. However, Garrett might be perfect for the job. He’s smart and well acquainted with the way his boss does business. He seems to understand that he must walk the fine line of stroking Jerry’s ego without losing his accountability to his team. That’s something Wade never fully grasped.
The best way to deal with Jerry is to plant seeds in his mind and make him think that your ideas are his ideas. Basically, what I’m saying is that coaching the Cowboys is just like the movie Inception. It’s mind blowing chaos, and, since Jerry took over, no man has been able to last longer than a few years. The pressure is too much to take. Hopefully, Garrett will be the first one to truly make it work.