Just in case you thought it would be status quo at Valley Ranch after another final-game flop, owner/general manager Jerry Jones vowed Wednesday that changes were on the way. He voiced support for both head coach Jason Garrett and quarterback Tony Romo, but he promised to create a different kind of atmosphere this offseason.
“I can assure our fans this, that it’s going to be very uncomfortable from my standpoint, it’s going to be very uncomfortable for the next few weeks and months at Valley Ranch,” Jones said on his 105.3 “The Fan” weekly radio show.
That’s right, Cowboys employees. Better keep those heads on a swivel and try not to make eye contact with Jones as he marches around the building. Meanwhile, the rest of us will wait to hear what type of change Jerry is talking about. He seemed to leave the door open on Garrett turning the play-calling duties over to someone else. Garrett has called the plays since arriving on the scene in 2007 and hasn’t been willing to relinquish that task, even when his mentor Jimmy Johnson has encouraged him to do so. Now, it appears that Jones might make that decision for him.
But I’m not convinced that stripping Garrett of play-calling will have any positive impact on this organization. The so-called “walk-around” head coaches tend to have dynamic personalities and they like to have a hand in everything. Garrett is a cerebral guy who’s most comfortable when tinkering with the offense. The thought is that taking away those duties would allow him to become a better game-manager, something that he’s struggled with the past two seasons. Maybe that will be the case, but I think it will only serve to weaken Garrett’s standing in this organization. It’s basically a demotion without being fired. He’ll try to convince Jones that he deserves to hang onto the play-calling role, but it’s unlikely he’ll be successful. Jerry needs to offer an angry fan base something to work with, and this will have to do for now.
But in this spirit of this blessed holiday season, I thought it might be helpful to offer Jerry a list of things he can do to make folks uncomfortable at Valley Ranch in the coming weeks and months:
1. Deny players and coaches access to the Valley Ranch parking lot and make them park on the street, where members of the media normally leave their cars in position to be side-swiped by folks texting while they drive.
2. Take a note out of the Bill Bidwill playbook and start charging players to use the vending machines in the Valley Ranch lunch room.
3. Every player on the team has to share a locker with someone in the coming months. The only exception is Dan Bailey, who deserves at least two lockers.
4. Jerry Jones will select all the music for the weight room, which means a heavy focus on Hank Snow and Chet Atkins.
5. Players must show up to all meetings in suit and ties. Jerry will require that players use the exact same uniform his grandkids wear at Episcopal School of Dallas.
6. Players will take weekly field trips to Cowboys Stadium to study the artwork that Jerry and Gene Jones carefully selected. There will be pop quizzes.
7. Players and assistant coaches will be asked to salute Jerry each time they see him in the hallway. If they fail to do so, he reserves the right to ask them to drop down and give him 50 pushups.
8. Players such as Jay Ratliff are no longer allowed to threaten to kick the owner’s ass in front of other teammates.
9. At any moment, Jerry will ask assistant coaches for the notes they’re taking on draft-eligible players.
10. Players and assistant coaches must carry a lint-free cloth with them at all times in case Jerry needs his eyeglasses cleaned.
If Jerry will only adopt one or all of these ideas, it will make for a much more uncomfortable offseason. Hope you guys had a joyous holiday season.