Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has most certainly been the architect of the Dallas Cowboys over the last few years. He's wanted to be just that since he bought the franchise in 1989, but that pesky Jimmy Johnson kept getting in the way with all those newfangled and brilliant personnel decisions that made the Cowboys quite possibly the best team of the 1990s. Once Jimmy left following the 1993 season, having made most (if not all) of the player moves that put two Lombardi Trophies at Valley Ranch, and allowed Barry Switzer to put his name on a third for no good reason at the end of the 1995 campaign, Jones has been the man in charge.
And since that last Super Bowl win, the Cowboys have not only missed out on any more opportunities to make the NFL's biggest game, they've won just two playoff games since -- one in 1996, and one in 2009. Outside of that, there have been as many subpar seasons with guys like Dave Campo and Wade Phillips as there have been reasons for hope with Bill Parcells, who was the only man since Johnson to have the pedigree to weigh in on personnel matters.
In 2013, coming off two straight 8-8 seasons and with major questions about the abilities of current head coach Jason Garrett to handle things at the highest level, Jerrah is convinced that his team is on the right track. Moreover, he wants the lion's share of the credit when his team makes it back to the big dance.
“I pretty much go with what I did the night I bought the team,” Jones said last week from the scouting combine in Indianapolis, looking very comfy in his $2 million team bus. “I said I was going to be the GM. … It would be a facade if someone else was sitting in my shoes and someone thought they were spending the money. It would be deception. … I would grant you the decisions that have been made over the years have not produced a Super Bowl, two Super Bowls or three Super Bowls that I would like to have been a part of. And the only thing I am going to do there is keep trying and then make sure I get the credit when we do get that one. Y’all are going to give it to me, aren’t you?”
Well, sure. There's no question that if the Cowboys were to win a Super Bowl under Jones' current leadership, he'd be the main man responsible. Of course, the fact that he's the main man is one of the primary reasons the Cowboys will not do exactly that, but that's another matter.
Here, for example, is Jerrah on his perpetually flawed offensive line -- the same line that has seen quarterback Tony Romo get sacked 36 times in each of the last two seasons -- tied for Romo's career high.
“If you’re going to have a guy operate behind an offensive line that can handle a porous offensive line, it’s Tony. Tony has some of the best percentages operating behind pressure situations of anyone in the NFL. If there were a place theoretically that you had to have a weakness with Tony Romo at quarterback, that might be a place to have it. You just can’t have it all.”
I'm sorry, but no actual football guy says that. No actual football guy thinks that he can tank his quarterback's protection because his quarterback is mobile.
Jones also talked about the fact that Garrett, who is supposed to be an offensive mastermind, may not be in charge of the playcalling anymore, leaving things more open to assistant Bill Callahan.
“I think we have changed,” he said. “I’m positive and I feel good we have changed. I feel good where this thing sits right now. I’m not in a good mood. I’m not in a bad mood, but I’m sure not up here celebrating. This thing has been a big disappointment the last couple of years. I’m not satisfied. We’ve got to start knocking on the door. So there is a lot of resolve and not a lot of patience, and Jason knows that.”
The Dallas Cowboys need a real football guy in charge if they're ever to go back to the Super Bowl. That's the way it works. Does Jerry Jones know that? It would appear that despite years to learn the lesson, he most certainly does not.
Either way, he'll get the credit -- or, the blame. That appears to be the most important thing.