When the Cowboys complete their bye week in Week 11, there will be six games remaining on the 2013 schedule. Coming off a dismal performance in New Orleans, the team has encountered the proverbial “fork in the road” for this year’s team and for the franchise heading forward. How these next six weeks shake out will determine a lot for the franchise going forward. There are really two ways the last six weeks can go. The team can do well and continue its .500 play, thereby finishing with another 8-8 season (or 7-9) and either slip into the playoffs with the division title or come up just short. The other way this could play out is the team just craters down the stretch, which then causes a domino effect within the organization.
If the team follows option 1 and either slides into the postseason, or comes up just short I’d expect the following to occur:
1) The teams drafts in the 18- 20th position of each round of the 2014 draft.
2) Jason Garrett and his staff get to stay on for at least another season (except for Kiffin, whose future looks cloudy at this point)
3) Jerry Jones keeps all the current veteran players he can on the roster, restructures more bad contracts and pushed more money into future seasons.
If the team follows option 2 and craters down the stretch, I’d expect the following to occur:
1) The team drafts in the 8th to 15th position in each round of the 2014 draft.
2) Jason Garrett and his staff are released, and new staff with a different voice and message are brought into the fold.
3) Jerry Jones decides to drop many of the aging, overpaid players and finally takes the big cap hit. The team is bad for a year, but gets the books cleaned up and a more sustainable roster is constructed heading forward.
4) Jones will come to the realization that his franchise has been a .500 franchise since 1997. This is when the majority of Jimmy Johnson’s players were no longer in Dallas anymore, and Jones brings in someone to handle the draft and player personnel or to have a stronger voice in this department.
This is how it will go. One of these two ways, which will shape the future of the Cowboys organization. I’m personally torn because I want to see the team win every game. However, even if they were to squeak into the playoffs, is there any confidence they could make any noise? Garrett’s offense has been installed for a long time now, and it looks to have no imagination to it. Maybe a new vision and voice are what’s needed, but the only way to get that is through option 2. Jerry Jones contemplated on hiring Sean Payton last season when he was deemed a free agent. Jones at the time decided Garrett was his guy moving forward. Could things have changed in such a short time for Jones to change his mind and bring in Jon Gruden? Regardless, the next two months will be very interesting to see how they play out.
Follow Craig Cortemeglia on Twitter at @ccortemegliaTLH