Let me start off by first saying in no way possible am I supporting the passing of Jerry Jones. Jerry just enjoyed his 69th birthday last week on October 13th. But when your owner is in that age group, you need to ponder the possibility of his passing. The NFL lost one it's original icons in Al Davis at the age of 82. While Jerry is relatively young at 69, he is getting up there in age. In no way would I ever wish Jerry Jones to die or anything like that. Jerry Jones has his faults, his is pride. Jerry eats, sleeps and breathes the Dallas Cowboys. Not many owners are dedicated to their teams like Jerry Jones is, the man absolutely loves this team.
Jerry Jones, much like Tony Romo, is the gift and the curse of this proud franchise. For every DeMarcus Ware, Miles Austin, Dez Bryant, Tony Romo, Jason Witten, Jay Ratliff and Sean Lee, there is a Shante Carver, Troy Hambrick, Julius Jones, Keyshawn Johnson, Joey Galloway, Roy E. Williams and David Buehler. Jerry over the years has brought this franchise many key acquisitions and draft picks, but at the same time has had as many failures.
Over the years I have come to love what Jerry Jones has done for this franchise. While growing up in the 90's, my dad wasn't quite a fan of Jerry and that rubbed off on me. I will never forget the day me and my dad were watching television and saw the news that Jimmy Johnson was leaving the Cowboys. My dad was not a happy man that day and I think a part of him died as a fan of the franchise that day. Everything I learned about the game of football was taught to me by hero, my father. I learned to love the Cowboys and everything Jimmy Johnson. The Miami Hurricanes became my lone college football team when I was a kid, my dad was a big Jimmy Johnson fan and it that grew on me.
Since the day that Jimmy left, my dad has even been more critical of the the moves Jerry has made. Maybe I am such a hard critic on Jerry because of the success he has had, but the failures are always epic.
Fast forward to the present day. Jerry has done a good job holding himself back in free agency. That is an area up for debate in itself. Jerry hasn't signed a big time free agent in years and in part I believe that is holding the franchise back. At some point he is going to have to step up and make a splash to improve this football team. Year in and year out, you cannot rely on undrafted free agents and low key free agent signings to secure your football team. Moneyball doesn't exist in the NFL, and it may never exist.
Jerry's drafts can be broken down and beaten up too. 2008 looked like an amazing haul at one point in time, but that draft has lost it's bright outlook. Felix Jones looks to be an epic bust of enormous failure. Mike Jenkins is just starting to show his 2009 form again but remains a mystery to us all. Martellus Bennett was taken over other players who can be contributing more than a blocking tight end. That pick is Jerry Jones science, a pick with tremendous athletic ability but hasn't produced. Running back Tashard Choice once looked like the next Emmitt Smith, but now looks more like the next Sherman Williams.
2009's draft class was possibly the worst draft class in NFL history. When you hold 12 picks in a draft and the best you come out with is a backup tight end and a rotational pass rusher, you have whiffed big time. The problem is, 2009 wasn't the first time a "backup/special team" draft had taken place. Jerry did the same thing during the 90's and early 2000's.
Jerry also had a fondness for trading for underachieving wide receivers, surrendering first round picks that could have been used on big time players. The trade for Roy E Williams will go down as one of the worst trades in NFL history, there is no way around looking at it like that.
Then there is the handing out of contracts too early in a players time with the team. Ken Hamlin, Marion Barber, Terence Newman and Roy E Williams all enjoyed huge pay days and never really performed to those contracts after signing them. Jason Witten and Jay Ratliff were just rewarded huge deals, both deep into their careers. The book hasn't been closed on that area yet, but it is concerning to say the least.
Wade Phillips was an epic failure of an attempt to bring in a head coach to lead this talented team to the Super Bowl. Wade was the type of coach Jerry looked for after the Parcells era in order to take control of the team again. If Wade was never hired, who knows where this franchise would be. Instead of hiring a good young coach like Mike Tomlin, we hired a man with no leadership capability and basically ran this team into the ground before being fired last year.
For all the bad, there is good. The Terrell Owens signing was laughed at, but turned out to be a good investment regardless of how it ended. The 2010 draft turned out to be one of the steals in the history of the draft. Dez Bryant was acquired for peanuts and looks to be one of the brightest young receivers in the game today. Sean Lee was a pick that was criticized and laughed it, but Lee is developing into one of the best linebackers in the game.
Last April Jerry broke the 25 plus year dry spell of drafting an offensive lineman in the first round and selected BTB favorite Tyron Smith. Jerry brought in the best defensive coordinator on the market, Rob Ryan. All Rob Ryan has done is transform one of the leagues ugliest defenses and turned them into a Super Bowl contender in just one short offseason.
Miles Austin can be partly contributed to Bill Parcells, but Jerry managed to give him an opportunity on the roster and in time rewarded his play with a long time deal. Tony Romo can also be attributed to Parcells, but Jerry again rewarded his play to a big contract, locking up our first franchise quarterback since Troy Aikman.
Jason Garrett was paid a league high 3 million dollars per season so he would stay here in Dallas as the offensive coordinator. Jerry made Garrett the highest paid offensive coordinator for a reason, this was the man he wanted to run his team when the timing was right. One could argue that Garrett should have been hired earlier, I believed he should have been hired back in 2007, but what do I know? Like yourselves, I am just a fan with a voice and opinion.
Even relatively small moves have paid off in a big way for Jerry. Supplemental draft pick Josh Brent is playing like a 3rd round pick. Key free agent signings Gerald Sensabaugh and Abram Elam have solidified the safety position for the first time in years. Laurent Robinson appears to be the answer as the #3 WR and was a great signing.
Jerry Jones is managing to find a good balance lately between the good and the bad. But the reason I am so optimistic about the future is because of Jerry's son, Stephen.
Stephen Jones is exactly what I look for in front office personnel. Stephen has been a part of this team for a long time following in his fathers footsteps and learning the business side of the game. He is currently the Executive Vice President, Chief Operating Office and Director of Player Personnel.
Here is what his biography page says on the mothership.
On a day-to-day basis, he oversees the operations of the Dallas Cowboys and the team's current and future stadium venues. His work involves managing the organization's 300 employees, including the coordination of the Cowboys entire Player Personnel Department, overseeing the salary cap and all major player contract concerns.
Check out the rest the bio at http://www.dallascowboys.com/team/team_biosCoachExec.cfm?newName=Stephen_Jones
19 years of experience and growing, that is what Stephen Jones will bring to the table the day he takes over as the new owner of the Dallas Cowboys. He has been there for every draft and key decision for the better part of the last 20 years and understands the business.
I place a lot of faith in Stephen for a few reasons.
- Great man
- Understands the business
- Will learn from his fathers mistakes
- Is willing to take chances
- Is willing to let go of players
- Excellent knowledge of the game and players
- Listens to others within the organization
- Listens to head of scouting Tom Ciskowski
- Has been a part of key contract negotiations
Stephen Jones is of course carrying the same blood and DNA of Jerry Jones, but is different from his father in many ways. Stephen was a key part of signing Terrell Owens, but at the same time was a key member in his release. Jerry gets too caught up and emotionally attached to players. Owens was an example of Jerry's loyalty for his "guys". If Stephen had his way, Owens may not have been part of the 2008 roster.
When it came down to crunch time this offseason, Roy Williams had to be released to clear cap room to sign draft picks and free agents. Do we really think this was Jerry's idea? I believe Stephen was another key element in releasing Roy E Williams. Stephen manages to keep his emotions sidetracked from personnel decisions and that is something you have to do in the front office.
Perhaps the biggest reason of all why I believe in Stephen Jones is that he is willing to bring in outside help. A few years ago it was rumored that Stephen Jones wanted to bring in Dom Capers to be a defensive assistant. Wade Phillips got butt hurt because of his defensive coordinator Brian Stewart. Jerry gave in to Wade's demands, amazing when you look back at it years later because Jerry never really gave in to anyone during that time. If Dom Capers came to this organization, our defense may have never collapsed the way it did.
It was also rumored that Stephen Jones was interested in bringing Mike Shannahan and Dan Reeves. If Stephen had his wish, Wade never would have been made head coach. If Stephen had his way, we would have a general manager or football adviser. That is very encouraging because a general manager would be the savior this franchise needs in making football decisions.
This week on the Randy White show, Stephen promoted Phillp Tanner. For
months weeks I have been saying Tanner needs to get the rock and Stephen agrees with me!
Randy White Show - Stephen Jones in Studio - Oct 20 (via dcfanaticcom)
Jerry will never hire a general manager or football adviser, that's just the way it is and I have come to accept that. I love Jerry Jones and will always thank him for his hard work over the years, but it's time to start making better football decisions. Jerry is a long way from leaving this earth, he must drink blood or something because I don't think Jerry is ever going to die, or do I want him to die. Jerry is a great man who makes bad decisions sometimes, it happens. The key is to balance the good with the bad, something Jerry has done pretty well recently.
It's just reassuring and comforting knowing that the next owner of this franchise has experience in the business and will be making good decisions. That is the main point of this article. Stephen Jones is sometimes overlooked by the fans and I just wanted to point out that he is more than a prop in the background.