Dallas Cowboys Need To Be Thinking of Next Year—Already

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Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

By now you already know about the carnage that took place last Sunday evening in New Orleans. You likely remember the mess that transpired in Detroit late last month.

Simple fact is this: The Dallas Cowboys just aren’t a very good football team.

As opposed to recapping all of the historic defensive failures that have transpired over the last two seasons under as many different defensive coordinators and schemes, the time has come to look forward.

Owner and general manager Jerry Jones isn’t likely to tell anybody what exactly he’s thinking right about now. Forget his quotes and statements to the media that never really mean a whole lot. It’s more likely that they mean nothing at all—I can’t personally fault him for not disclosing his innermost thoughts about the future of his franchise, his business.

Nonetheless, it’s quite discouraging to hear his baseless and uncertain optimism following Dallas’ 49-17 loss to the Saints. When pressed on Monday about how his .500 team enters its bye week in the shape it’s in, Jones told Jon Machota of the Dallas Morning News the following:

Can we get in here and use this time off, get some of our guys back and get a little healthy and come up with some ideas of how to go against the rest of this schedule and see if we can have a happy year? This year, not next year. This year.

Did he really use the words “happy” and “this year” in the same breath or two?

Huh?

On Tuesday, Jones was quite defiant when asked about the status of his franchise, a clear sign that he knows that his plans have already failed and that he simply doesn’t want to be reminded of that fact anymore. He offered more to Machota of DMN:

We’re 5-5. We’re tied for the lead in our division. We’ve got players coming back. We’ve got one of the best quarterbacks in the National Football League. We’re off a rough loss. That doesn’t call for major changes out here at all.

Of course it doesn’t–never mind the fact that the NFC East is what is.

Jones doesn’t want to address the following: Dallas is a team that’s setting all of the wrong records for opponents this year—check those box scores of the Saints and Lions games, in case it’s slipped your mind.

Jones doesn’t seem to realize the central issue here.

It has never mattered who the head coach is, or was, since the departure of Barry Switzer following the 1997 season.

It has never mattered who the offensive linemen are.

Same goes for the quarterbacks, running backs and practically all other aspects of America’s Team for well over a decade.

Think about how much has changed for this team beginning with that telling ’97 campaign, which didn’t include a postseason appearance for the first time since 1990—even the stadium has changed, not that this has mattered one bit in the standings beyond 2009.

The Cowboys are not a relevant franchise in the NFL, period.

The time has come for Jones to be looking ahead, but I’m not talking about the next game at New York to face the Giants.

I’m talking about next season and beyond.

Now, this is not another tired plea for Jones to step down, finally, as GM of the Cowboys—I’m not that naïve.

I will say that Jones needs to be thinking about his next head coach and also the ways in which he will allow that true, qualified head coach to restore the Cowboys to relevance. This means that Jones will have to pull a similar move to the one he did following that final and third consecutive 5-11 campaign under former head coach Dave Campo in 2002. This primarily includes getting out of the way enough for a guy like Bill Parcells to function.

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