Jerry Jones promised uncomfortable change after another 8-8 season with no playoffs. What no one realized is that he meant it would be uncomfortable for his fan base too. What has he done so far? Instead of firing Jason Garrett as many thought might happen, Jerry has instead decimated his coaching staff below Garrett. He has eliminated any sense of control that Jason Garrett thought he had. Most head coaches want to hire their own staff. But, these are Jerry Jones’ Cowboys. Garrett is a figure head now. it would have been kinder to just fire the guy.
After the season-ending loss to the Redskins, Garrett stated that he would continue in his role as Offensive Coordinator and call plays. The very next day after meeting with Jerry Jones he was suddenly “open to the idea” of bringing in an OC and relinquishing his play-caller role. Hmmm…I wonder what drove that change of heart?
Next, Jerry unceremoniously fired the DC, Rob Ryan stating that he wanted to go in a different direction. That caught a lot of people by surprise because while the defense was bad at times, they were decimated by injuries to key players and had held up better than expected until the final game. The “different direction” was hiring 72-year old Monte Kiffin to install his 4-3, Tampa 2 defense on a team built to run a 3-4. Really? The hiring of Rod Marinelli as the Defensive Line coach helped temper the outrage as he was largely given credit for the Bears aggressive, turnover producing defense this past season. But it is far from given though that he or Kiffin can reproduce their previous successes in Dallas. The Cowboys are still looking for a special teams coach, a running backs coach, a tight end coach, and a weight coach. I don’t know about you, but I lost count of how many times I watched the Cowboys embarrass themselves and us on a Sunday Night Football game and screamed at the TV, “We need a better weight coach!” I don’t think that was the problem.
Now, comes the final insult. Jerry decides to announce to the world at the Senior Bowl this week that Bill Callahan will call the offensive plays next season. No comment from Garrett. What would be the point? Maybe Callahan will be better, but he’s not the dynamic, imaginative play caller we hoped would be brought in to make use of all the offensive talent on this roster. Feels like it could be more of the same, just a different flavor. I know he didn’t have much to work with in the way of talent, but was anyone impressed with the line play that Callahan oversaw. I certainly wasn’t and he’s not been a huge success anywhere he’s coached. Very troubling to say the least.
Jerry Jones is flailing about. He doesn’t have a grand design. This is change for the sake of change and it rarely produces a good result. In fact, it reminds me of another owner in the NFL. Jerry Jones is the new Al Davis of the NFL. Want proof?
Davis enjoyed some early success as an owner winning 3 Super Bowls but since losing to Tampa Bay in 2003, the team has been mired in mediocrity and has at times been an embarrassment. It’s been longer than that for the Cowboys but both teams have a large, rabid fan base. The Raiders have changed coaches almost as often as they change their underwear. Davis, more famous for his motto, “Just Win Baby”, his sweat suits and slicked back hair than for building a winning franchise, never hired a GM for his beloved team. He was owner, GM, scout, and coach. He was the most meddlesome owner in the league by far. Any of this sound familiar?
Davis was totally in control of the draft and made some terrible decisions. He drafted Jamarcus Russell – what some call the biggest flop in the history of the NFL – and drafted countless speedy receivers who couldn’t get open or catch passes consistently in the NFL. He benched his best player over a contract dispute (Marcus Allen). His coaches – at least since John Madden – have had no real authority. He even traded his coach (Gruden) one year for draft picks and cash and ended up losing to him in the Super Bowl the next year in poetic irony. Davis was soundly criticized for many of his moves. But, he was tone deaf to criticism. It was his team and he was going to do it his way. That has to sound familiar!
When Al Davis finally passed away, his son Mark took over the team in 2011 – and to his credit promptly hired a GM. For Cowboys fans, the future may not be as bright. Jerry Jones will own this team until he dies and the Cowboys will likely continue to struggle over that entire time. However when he finally does go to the big stadium in the sky, his son Stephen will no doubt take over. Daddy lets him play Executive Vice President now so it’s assured that he will continue the family legacy as Owner/GM/Coach/Scout after daddy is gone. Our struggles may span two generations.
Somewhere, Al Davis is smiling. Soon, he will no longer be the worst owner that ever lived. Jerry just needs to start wearing sweat suits and threaten to move the team to San Antonio since the Cowboys’ home record is abysmal in his billion dollar palace (aka, Giants Stadium West since we have yet to beat the Giants in that building). Or, maybe he changes the team logo to a black and silver star instead (think of the new merchandise sales!). Come on Jerry! We deserve better. Go Raid…er, Go Cowboys!