I have not yet talked about the fireside chat that Jerry Jones had aboard his luxury bus, mainly because I’ve been waiting for the actual quotes to emerge on what Jerrah said about not needing a great offensive line. I have those now, so we can continue forward, but first let’s take the other points one-by-one, as communicated by Dan Hanzus of NFL.com.
First paragraph on each bullet is Hanzus’, second paragraph is mine:
• Jason Garrett’s rope is getting shorter: “There’s a lot of resolve here, but not a lot of patience. Jason senses that.” Translation: Get to the postseason … or else.
I’m not sure why owners do this. Coaches know full well that if they don’t win, they’re going to get fired. Jeffrey Lurie did it prior to the Eagles’ season, and it became a year-long story. Of course, Lurie actually put a number of wins on it, and I’ll bet he wished he had that moment back the second those words came out of his mouth. Now Jones is going to be asked about his patience with Garrett after every loss this season. Why put yourself through that?
• Tony Romo is in line to be an unrestricted free agent after the 2013 season, but Jones expects Romo to play his entire career in Dallas. He said the team won’t “do something really adverse or distasteful” if they can’t get an extension done by the start of the new league year on March 12.
It would help the Cowboys’ cap situation if they could restructure Tony Romo’s deal, but Romo really doesn’t have much incentive to get that done right now. Also, for now anyway, there’s little reason not to want Romo to continue playing in Dallas if you’re a Cowboys fan.
• Jones reasons that the Cowboys can get by with lesser talent along the offensive line because of Romo’s expert mobility. When forced to choose, the team will invest more resources in wide receivers and tight ends.
Let’s come back to this one at the end.
• Speaking of the salary cap and wide receivers, Jones said Miles Austin and nose tackle Jay Ratliff won’t be cap casualties: “They’re not that. … Miles is very much in our plans.” (Ian Rapoport reported earlier Saturday that Austin wasn’t a cut candidate.)
No surprises here, in my opinion. I’ve already made my thoughts on Ratliff clear. The Cowboys need him. Meanwhile, it doesn’t make a ton of sense, in my opinion, to release Austin. That’s a lot of dead money if you cut him, and the guy is still a great player (when healthy, which I know… is rare). The ideal situation would be to get Austin to re-do his deal.
• Jones sounds resigned to losing outside linebacker/defensive end Anthony Spencer if he hits the open market: “The number I have in mind is much less than he’s going to take.”
No surprise here either. Interesting to hear Jerry say it publicly. I wonder if that’s supposed to be Jerry’s way of trying to make other teams think, “Well if they don’t want to pay him, then maybe we should think twice, too.” But I fully expect Spencer to get some nice offers on the open market.
• Jones said Garrett will decide who calls plays this season. Then again, he later added: “Bill Callahan will have most certainly a more significant role than he had last year.”
Garrett has been awful with clock management since he became head coach. If somebody else calling the plays can help him better manage the game, I think it’s a worthwhile trade-off. My only concern there would be that Callahan hasn’t called plays in the NFL in almost 10 years, although it’s not as if he’s been away from the game and hasn’t seen the trend changes.
OK, getting back to the OL stuff, which is beyond baffling. Well, it is and it isn’t. It’s baffling that the OL remains in the back burner in Jerry Jones’ mind, despite it being a major reason for the team’s mediocrity, but it’s not so baffling in that his continued ignoring of the situation doesn’t surprise me. Here are the actual quotes, via Rainer Sabin of DallasNews.com:
“If you’re going to have a guy…that can handle a porous offensive line, it’s Tony,” Jones said. “Tony has some of the best percentages operating behind pressure situation of anyone in the NFL. If there were a place theoretically that you had to have a weakness with Tony Romo at quarterback, that might be a place to have it. You just can’t’ have it all.”
“All I’m saying to you is Tony is outstanding at understanding why it is you can’t have it all,” Jerry Jones said. “He really understands that. Had he rather have a little less pressure and a little more receivers?”
That second quote is oddly worded, but ESPN’s Ed Werder was in the room, and here’s how he translated it:
Since when do QBs make the personnel decisions? If Tony Romo said that he wanted to return kicks this season, would Jerry Jones be sitting in his luxury bus saying that Romo was the new kick returner, because that what Tony wants?
I don’t know the nature of the conversation Tony Romo had with Jerry Jones about the OL, but the only reason Jerry Jones is saying that Romo prefers weapons in the passing game over OL help is because THAT’S WHAT HE WANTS TO HEAR. And frankly, that’s kind of cowardly. If the 2013 team fails again because of a terrible OL, Jones now has it set up that Tony Romo is the one that favored more flash over substance. And that’s nonsense.
The Cowboys have needed OL help for the last 5 years, and Jerry Jones hasn’t done nearly enough to fix the problem. The Cowboys’ OL, to Jerry Jones, is like the giant squid in Family Guy:
The 2013 draft is looooooaaaaded with OL talent, both at the top, and throughout the middle rounds. There’s no excuse not to heavily address it this year. None. Don’t give me this “Romo wants more receivers” garbage.