Jimmy & Jerry: When It Comes To Picking A QB, Both Have Swung, But Only One Has Missed
Jimmy Johnson was an impatient man when it came to the quarterback position. He was even more impatient in the area of quarterback evaluation. Offensive coordinator Norv Turner learned this lesson the hard way.
During his first draft as the Dallas Cowboys’ offensive coordinator in 1991, Turner pleaded with Johnson to select Oregon quarterback Bill Musgrave. Since the Cowboys were in desperate need of a backup quarterback at the time, Johnson acquiesced, selecting Musgrave in the fourth-round, 106th overall.
By the time training camp was set to begin the following July, Johnson knew that Musgrave was not the answer behind Troy Aikman on the depth chart. So Johnson went out and found a quarterback of his own liking, sending a conditional fourth-round pick to the Raiders in exchange for backup Steve Beuerlein.
Beuerlein went 6-1 as a starter in 1991, including a Wild Card victory at Soldier Field over the Chicago Bears. Musgrave, on the other hand, was released after the preseason.
While Turner soon became known as one of the league’s top offensive minds, his voice grew very small in the Cowboys’ war room, as the head coach purposely sought input from other sources. In Johnson’s world, one mistake was one too many.
Were current team owner Jerry Jones held to the same standard, he wouldn’t have a voice at all. During his 26 year reign, Jones has missed on more quarterbacks than Elizabeth Taylor has marriages. Quincy Carter. Ryan Leaf. Chad Hutchinson. Drew Henson. The list goes on and on.
In recent years, with Tony Romo firmly entrenched as the starter, Jones has occupied himself with trying to locate a capable backup. That hasn’t worked out too well, either. Each of Brad Johnson, Brooks Bollinger, and Stephen McGee have had their chances. Each unequivocally failed.
On Friday, Jones addressed the demise of his latest failure at the position (Brandon Weeden) and why Matt Cassel, the hand-picked replacement of head coach Jason Garrett, has a better chance of succeeding.
“I think [Cassel’s] also got experience in basically just stepping up in the pocket, and making some plays,” Jones told 105.3-FM The Fan in Dallas. “Now, he will, with that experience though, do something that Weeden was not doing.
“Weeden was so conservative, he was coached to be conservative to a degree, but he was not taking chances with that ball. Now, we know you can’t make plays if you don’t take some chances.”
What we also know is that a man in Jones’ position never runs out of chances, no matter how hard the swing, or how bad the miss.