Cowboys problems start with Jerry Jones

Cowboys problems start with Jerry Jones

Published Oct. 15, 2010 1:00 a.m. ET

Jerry Jones talks openly about his Cowboys playing in his beautiful new stadium in the Super Bowl this year. He should be talking about the great underachievement of his last-place outfit.

What’s the deal with the Cowboys?

They’ve been the ultimate “boom or bust” team over the last few years, so we dedicate an entire boom or bust piece to the Cowboys, Schein 9 style.

1. Blame Jerry Jones

This, without question, is a boom. Jerry Jones is a shrewd business man. He knows how to turn a profit. He deserves credit for a sensational new stadium. Jerry Jones is an excellent owner. But Jones has absolutely no business picking players or making personnel decisions. Until he relinquishes that power, until he hires a legit and true general manager, the Dallas Cowboys won’t win a championship.

Jones is way too out in front. Is Bob Kraft being quoted about penalties? Does Jim Irsay talk about match-ups? Will you see Jeffrey Lurie answering questions about his team during the week? Until he realizes his place, Dallas is in trouble.

And one of the reasons why Wade Phillips is the Dallas coach is that Jones’ meddlesome ways cost him two excellent coaches in Jimmy Johnson and Bill Parcells. Phillips was hired knowing that it wasn’t his football team and he didn’t have autonomy. That’s just how Jerry wants it. Frankly, and we’ve seen this in Oakland, that neuters the head coach. It’s why you end up with Dave Campo, Chan Gailey and Phillips.

2. Blame Wade Phillips


Now with that all said, and I most certainly blame the culture, this is a boom. Wade Phillips is an overmatched head coach. His game strategy is poor (see the Washington game in Week 1). The Cowboys have no discipline (see last week). And the team has talent. The Cowboys have oodles of All-Pro and Pro Bowl players. The Dallas Cowboys under Wade Phillips have been constant underachievers, squandering years where you believed they had Super Bowl players on the roster. And that’s the worst thing you can say about a coach. And look at the sheer talent on defense with DeMarcus Ware, Jay Ratliff, Keith Brooking, Terrence Newman, Mike Jenkins and company. The defense isn’t playing up to its abilities and Phillips is supposed to be a defensive guru and runs the defense! It falls squarely on him.

3. Blame Jason Garrett

I get the tweets. I receive your emails. I take the phone calls from angry Cowboys fans. But this is one that I don’t get. I don’t fault Jason Garrett. This is a bust. What’s the beef with Garrett? Dallas is putting up points. He gets all of his playmakers involved. He gets credit for developing Tony Romo and Miles Austin. I don’t understand when people complain that scat back Felix Jones doesn’t run the ball 25 times a game. I think Garrett balances the carries between Jones and Marion Barber well.

4. Blame Tony Romo

BUST! Here’s another one I don’t quite understand. Tony Romo is a top 6 to 12 quarterback in the NFL. He shed the “can’t win the big game” label last December and January when he beat the then-undefeated Saints in New Orleans, won in Washington to clinch a playoff spot, beat the Eagles to win a division, and then notched his first playoff win as a Cowboy by besting the Eagles again.

Do I wish Romo would turn the hat around and wish he would understand the blurred line between perception and reality when fans think he doesn’t care? I do. But I think this cat loves to win and wants nothing more than to deliver a title to the Cowboys.

Now, Romo hasn’t had an even season this year, with five picks and some poor decisions. But for that I think the issue is ...

5. The offensive line is holding this team back

BOOM! Alex Barron? Really? There have been injuries and total underachievement. Tennessee inexplicably manhandled Dallas up front, forcing Romo into bad decisions and sacking him and hitting him way too often. And this has been a consistent theme all year long. This also goes back to Jones, who seemed tickled with his toys on the 53-man roster but ignored a blatant weakness on the team. And if you don’t have an offensive line, you can’t win.

6. The Cowboys are the most talented team in the NFC East

The Cowboys have three strong running backs. The receivers and tight ends are diverse and dynamic. Romo, Donovan McNabb and Eli Manning are all in that 6-12 range and all rotate as the best in the division. The defense should be lockdown and has more talent than the Giants, Skins or Eagles. I’d take the 53 on Dallas over the 53 elsewhere, even with the issues on the offensive line and at safety. This helps make the Cowboys faithful sick to their stomachs. This is a boom.

7. The Cowboys win Sunday

Um, boom? I think. Minnesota and Dallas are mirror images in underachievement and mismanagement on game day. I think Dallas has more talent and a superior quarterback. Watch Cosmic Schein. This was a tough one to pick.

8. Wade Phillips comes back next year

I am surprised he made it past the bye week in Week 4. This is a bust. Jerry Jones thinks the Cowboys are playing in the Super Bowl in Dallas this year. That’s the expectation. In theory, he would fire Phillips and talk to guys like Mike Zimmer, Butch Davis, Bill Cowher, Bob Stoops and Jim Harbaugh if the team lost in the NFC title game. So I think the situation is crystal clear when the Cowboys finish in last place. Which leads us to ...

9. The Cowboys make the playoffs

The Redskins are coached by a future Hall of Famer. The Eagles are coached by a top-five coach in the NFL. The Giants are coached by a Super Bowl champion. And the Cowboys are coached by Wade Phillips. I said 8-8 preseason. Dallas is 1-3 now. The Cowboys still have five games left in the division. This is going to get ugly. We call this a bust.