Evaluating Jerry Jones' 2011 Cowboys: Who Should We Blame?

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If 2010 was the season of expectations for Jerry Jones’ Dallas Cowboys, then 2011 was the season of hope. Put another way, the fans of the Dallas Cowboys have been subjected to two consecutive disappointing seasons: a year of unfulfilled expectations and a season of dashed hopes. This season was particularly painful for the Cowboys’ faithful because they started out the season playing with such promise; the close and late losses to the Jets, Lions, and Patriots left most fans with the impression that the Cowboys could, and should, have won those games. As a result, most concluded that the Boys were capable of beating even the strongest teams in the NFL. The 4 game winning streak in the middle of the season allowed many Cowboy fans to view the one-sided loss to the Eagles as an anomaly. Going into December, the team was 7-4 with the Cowboy Nation believing that they really could have been 10-1. As everyone knows now, the wheels fell off in December, the Boys lost 4 of their last 5 games to finish with a humbling 8-8 record.

A quick perusal of the sports blogs and survey of the news agencies will reveal that the public wants to put the blame on very specific people and/or units. As per usual, the vast majority of those assigning blame do so in a way that provides an overly simplistic view of the real problems with this franchise. The real problems are deeper and much more complex than people want to believe (or are capable of seeing).

Click on the link to see who is getting blamed and whether it is justified.

The line was certainly younger this year.

As a general rule of logic and arguments, it is always much easier to prove that a hypothesis is invalid, than construct a new argument that is immune to being disproved. Hence, I do not propose to know exactly what the problem with the Dallas Cowboys is, but I believe that most of the arguments advanced are flawed. Let us examine the most common explanations individually.

 “It was the OL and secondary.”

Most people are alleging that the OL and secondary are the main culprits. I would agree that these two units are the weakest parts of the team, but I don’t believe that either unit, or even the two combined, are the sole reasons for the Cowboys mediocre performance this season or last. Remember, the OL looked pretty darn good when DeMarco Murray was racking up over 5 yards a carry and opposing defences had to honor the running game.  Similarly, the secondary looked a lot better when Rob Ryan’s pressure packages were working and the front seven was getting consistent pressure on opposing QB’s.

It was/is Jerry Jones.”

The next most common scapegoat is Jerry Jones; they argue that he is an inept GM, an egomaniac, a meddling owner, and generally incompetent. Some have gone as far as to suggest that JJ doesn’t care about winning, and that he only cares about making money. To be honest, this last notion has crept into my mind occasionally, but everyone who has ever worked with JJ says those accusations are ridiculous. They all say the same thing:”JJ desperately wants to win, and he is willing to spend the money to do it.” Does that make him a great GM? Of course not, it doesn’t even make him an average GM, but it should be sufficient evidence to jettison the allegations that he only cares about money. That being said, I do believe that Jerry Jones cares a lot about making money; you don’t become a billionaire unless you put a lot of effort into making money.

Click on the link to continue reading about Jerry Jones and the other “guilty parties”.

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