Jerry Jones has been humiliating his employees for years, so his treatment of Jason Garrett this offseason shouldn’t have caught anyone by surprise. But there’s been a brazenness to Jones’ statements and actions that has upped the ante in some respects.
It’s certainly his prerogative to keep this organization in the ditch any way he sees fit, but to watch him strip a family member of his dignity has raised some eyebrows. Even Garrett’s close friend and former teammate, Troy Aikman, thinks the head coach has little say in his own future. It was remarkable to hear a positive guy like Aikman have such a bleak outlook for the Cowboys’ 2013 season.
Never fear, though, because the word of Garrett’s demise has finally pierced the walls of Valley Ranch. Jones suddenly took to the team’s website last week in a ham-handed attempt to save face for his head coach. He’s insisting that Garrett was leading the way in making changes on both sides of the ball. I happen to know otherwise because I’m quite familiar with the voices who were telling Jerry to hire former Buccaneers defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin. Still, it’s humorous to hear Jones provide some new spin.
“He basically sat down and said ‘Here’s the kind of coach I want,’ ” Jones said of Garrett. “He did the evaluation. He basically said, ‘Jerry, here’s who I want to get.’ “
Well, that clears up everything. I can just hear Jason saying something to the effect of, “Jerry, let”s start out by getting rid of my brother John. And I think we need more age on the defensive staff.”
Jerry could’ve easily solved this problem by at least suggesting from the start that Garrett was calling the shots when it came to coaching changes. Instead, Jones undercut his head coach immediately and strongly hinted there would be a new offensive playcaller. I still think Jerry was almost trying to shame Garrett into quitting, but Princeton men have been trained not to leave $8 million on the table. Now, Jones appears to be doing charity work regarding his head coach.
“I saw things about our head coach that really give me a lot of promise for not only 2013, but for years to come. I’m excited about Jason Garrett,” Jones told the website. “I think we can take those kinds of positives, and Jason Garrett is certainly one of them from my evaluation, we can take the things that we have done very well and we can take the things we felt like we can do better, and that’s what this offseason is about.”
Step right up and purchase those season tickets, folks. This is now an organization that has a ceremonial head coach and a bulletproof quarterback. Unlike other organizations, the Cowboys haven’t taken a serious stab at drafting Romo’s replacement over the past seven years, which gives him a remarkable amount of leverage when it comes to a long-term contract extension.
Jerry has tied himself so much to Romo that the quarterback’s lack of playoff wins (one) is of little consequence at the negotiating table. We should all be so lucky to be judged more on potential than actual production. Sadly, all employers aren’t like Jerry. There are teams such as the Ravens that decide to let a quarterback earn his extension. Baltimore will now pay dearly to retain the services of Joe Flacco, but having that Super Bowl ring will make it a lot easier to digest.
The Cowboys are in a familiar spot because they have no appreciable plan. Jerry has watched teams such as the Packers, Giants and Ravens get hot in the playoffs in recent years, so he subscribes to the “lightning in a bottle” theory.
He and Garrett talked boldly of “rebuilding” the Cowboys offensive line, but that’s been an agonizing experience. They may have gotten it right with Tyron Smith at left tackle, but the rest of the unit is beyond shaky.
That’s what happens when you routinely miss on draft picks and end up putting things in the hands of the immortal Phil Costa at center. The Cowboys had to trade a seventh-round pick for center Ryan Smith to even have a shot at staying afloat.
But Jerry’s so intoxicated by the thought of this new “Tampa 2” scheme that he can’t be bothered by negative thoughts. And that’s why normally optimistic folks such as Aikman are so dismissive of this team’s chances moving forward.
Jerry had the chance to do something bold when Sean Payton unexpectedly hit free agency. But the Cowboys owner is much more comfortable with status quo than he’d like us to believe. Jerry would rather miss the playoffs on an annual basis than risk someone else becoming the face of the franchise. And that’s why relegating Garrett to full-time puppet status is so appealing to him.
Jerry wants to make everyone in the organization uncomfortable … except himself.