Handling Of Most Recent Loss Shows That Jerry Jones Is Well, And Showing No Signs Of Getting Better Anytime Soon
While reading between the lines of doom and gloom that inevitably spilled into this week’s publications following the first Cowboys defeat of this young season, two vital points pertaining to the current status of this football organization became startlingly clear.
For starters, the big fellas up front seem to be long on hype and short on blocking ability. No offensive line in the NFL has been more disappointing than the one in Big D. Great Wall of Dallas II, my foot.
Of course, three games pales in comparison to what this group managed to do last season, paving the way for DeMarco Murray to rush for $42 million worth of yardage while helping the Cowboys reach the playoffs. Let’s give this unit some time to round into their old form. Odds are, they will sometime in the near future.
My second observation has to do with the health and wellbeing of Jerry Jones, who just days earlier had gone under the knife again for another – yes, another – hip replacement operation. Jerry, my friends, is feeling just fine. Quite normal, in fact. Operation complete, thorough, and successful.
(Now if we could only convince doctors to try a prefrontal lobotomy.)
These deductions are based upon the innumerable, endless actions of the Cowboys’ owner/GM in the wake of Sunday’s 39-28 beatdown at the hands of the Atlanta Falcons.
As if the on-the-field-activities weren’t bad enough, Jones gave reporters a perfect illustration of what aging incompetence looks and sounds like. Even after 26 years of sitting in on coaches meetings, Jones still knows less than a squirrel about the game of football.
In speaking of Brandon Weeden’s less than inspiring start at quarterback in place of the injured Tony Romo, Jones isolated himself among Cowboys personnel as the only one who found no fault with his new quarterback.
“I really like what I saw out there, how he handled himself,” Jones said to reporters directly after the game. “It wasn’t too big for him. He wasn’t throwing the ball but 15-to-20 yards, but I thought he made some really good decisions. We’ve got something to work with here.”
And concerning Weeden’s tendency to throw short passes even when the down and distance demanded something different, Jones had this to say. “He’s probably capable of getting downfield some if we asked him to.”
What sounded like an indictment on Sunday afternoon became certified as such on Tuesday when Jerry’s son Stephen opted to elaborate further on what he deemed to be a poor job of adjusting from the Cowboys coaching staff.
“We had coached [Weeden] to be very conservative, especially when we started off with a good first half,” said Stephen. “You didn’t want to go out and make mistakes that would hand the game to them. A lot of that was a little bit of how we coached him all week, to protect the ball and be conservative, and it worked well in the first half. Anyway, we’ll just have to adjust and go from there.”
By Wednesday, even Weeden sounded a tad frustrated with his role with the offense.
“Throwing the ball on the boundary and throwing the comebacks, that’s my strength,” Weeden told the team’s official website. “I’ve played a lot of football games. I’ve never been criticized of checking the ball down. That’s really not me. If you’ve watched me play in college or high school, I’m stretching it.”
As you would expect from a man in his position, Jason Garrett remained diplomatic in his analysis of Weeden’s outing, refusing to delve into his quarterback’s decision-making in the second half. Garrett knows better than most that public criticism of a backup quarterback often accomplishes nothing of a constructive nature. He is also aware of the fact that assistant coaches were imploring Weeden to come out of his shell and throw the ball downfield.
The only proper response is to stay neutral on the podium, breathe a healthy dose of fire-and-brimstone behind closed doors, and let Jerry & Son make all the headlines.
The only drawback to that formula in this situation is that Jerry seems bent on protecting Weeden at the expense of Garrett’s philosophy on production and competition. All of which can create waves amongst Valley Ranch personnel involved in player evaluation.
The film doesn’t lie. Weeden did what he had to in the first half when the Cowboys opened up a 28-17 lead, and did exactly the opposite in the second half. Instead of allowing offensive coordinator Scott Linehan and quarterbacks coach Wade Wilson to show Weeden where he went wrong in the game’s later stages, Jerry & Stephen have elevated the play of their quarterback nearly beyond the point of healthy criticism. They, in a not-so-subtle manner, have blamed the coaches.
Nobody takes a loss quite like Jerry. That, of course, is based upon the unarguable fact that nobody watches a game quite like Jerry. Not that anyone in the bleachers or watching at home care anymore. Impaired vision has been a trait associated with the Cowboys’ owner’s box for so long as to seem inconsequential among fans.
If only it were.
Jerry’s view of the game is always obstructed when there’s an unproven quarterback under center for the Cowboys, because he feels that such an occasion demands that he wear rose-colored glasses. Not only does he see red in these moments, but a glass perpetually filled to overflowing with promise, potential and every other gratifying noun that fits his ideal of the moment.
As fans learned in Phase II of the Quincy Carter Experiment back in 2002, such ideals can change from week-to-week, even day-to-day. First, Jones wanted the athletically-inclined Carter to operate Bruce Coslet’s West Coast offense from the pocket, like every other quarterback would. When Carter commenced to take an inordinate amount of sacks through the first three games, Jones then criticized his quarterback for not using his legs more like a certain guy in Philadelphia would.
A few days later, after Carter had orchestrated a game-winning drive in St. Louis against the Rams, the owner claimed he was on the verge of awarding Carter with a “Donovan McNabb-type” contract. Following a loss at home to the Giants in which Carter missed a wide-open receiver late in the game that would have given Dallas the lead, Jones threw Quincy under the bus again, citing a lack of consistency in his quarterback.
By the time Carter was benched, the Cowboys owned a 3-4 record, a staff that was divided, and a quarterback whose psyche had fallen into the gutter.
Jones can’t be accused of working quite the same magic in this current situation. But give him time. With his doctors visits now out of the way, Coach Jones will have a free hand to go through the media to encroach upon Garrett’s coaching turf.
Yes sir, Jerry Jones is well, and is showing no signs of getting better anytime soon.