Once again, controversy and drama swirls around America's Team! With AT&T Stadium the center of the sporting world during the NCAA Men's Basketball Final Four, you would think that there would be plenty of things to distract everyone and Jerry Jones could just relax and enjoy his suite. But no!
After the first night of the event saw the owner of the Dallas Cowboys host Johnny Manziel, the Championship Game saw an even more star studded group, highlighted by two former Presidents, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. Also in the suite were Papa John's Pizza founder John Schnatter and Cowboys great Michael Irvin.
Oh, and there were some current Cowboys, as well.
Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett and his wife, Brill, were placed in the third row directly behind Bush and Clinton.
A team building exercise, perhaps? Or a sinister plot to tear the team apart?
Amazingly, the latter seems to be the most popular theory.
I'm thrilled for Marcus Spears to have a new job in journalism (he is also going to be doing work with the upcoming SEC Network as well), but this seems like he should be writing for ESPN.
As I have stated, it might not be an issue at all. But if there's an issue with how one or two teammates perceive Romo and Garrett's relationship, that can cause problems. I hope it doesn't. It never affected me to see Romo and Garrett hanging out. Football is the ultimate team sport, and if there is a rift on any level it can tear apart what the team is trying to build.
The old "It doesn't bother me, but I can see how others might have their delicate sensibilities upset" argument. I would hope Spears does not feel he has to be all negative all the time about his former team just because there are others who are.
And Spears' subsequent radio interview on the topic gets coverage in San Antonio.
Speaking of ESPN . . .
A little surprisingly, they partly defend the gathering in the owner's suite, particularly as it relates to the quarterback and the head coach.
A quarterback should have a close relationship with the head coach. There are many examples of that being a successful union with other NFL franchises. But we've also discovered close relationships can fall apart, which was the case with Robert Griffin III and Mike Shanahan in Washington.
Each relationship should be judged on its own merit. Garrett-Romo is a good one.
The reality of the relationship is this: Garrett, entering the final year of his contract, needs Romo to buy into the program more than ever. And Romo, who has more say than any Cowboys quarterback since Troy Aikman, is doing whatever he needs to build his relationship with the head coach.
This actually takes a very nice, realistic view of things.
It can be safely assumed Witten, Romo and Murray were invited by Jones to the suite. He's the boss. He's the guy who signs the checks. You have a chance to talk with Presidents Bush and Clinton and some other celebrity folks, would you say no to your boss because the guy in the next cubicle didn't get invited?
Of course you wouldn't.
After all, there have to be more important things to worry about than a few teammates getting to do some extra schmoozing with the owner.
I would like to wrap this up with a nice, concise word or two about how silly I think this coverage is. But I'll let someone else take care of that.
December? ESPN says 'not-on-same-page tension' tween Garrett & Romo. Today? ESPN wonders if #Cowboys coach & QB r 'too close.' Amazing.— mike fisher (@fishsports) April 8, 2014
Well, at least there wasn't anything else verging on tabloid coverage that had anything to do with the Cowboys. Right?
Apparently, Kanye brags in a recent recording about how he is, um, with Kim Kardashian, and these guys aren't.
I would wonder if Mr. West is familiar with a certain two word term. Second word is "seconds". Just saying.
OK. That's enough supermarket checkout line material. There was a little bit of real football news concerning the Cowboys.
This year looks to be an incredibly deep one for wide receivers. And with Miles Austin designated a June 1 cut, the Cowboys are down to four receivers on the roster. Cole Beasley cannot be expected to help on the outside if one of the others is hurt.
But here is a thought: This is considered one of the deeper drafts in memory for wide receivers. Could the Cowboys be looking for their No. 3 receiver, who could be the No. 2 receiver, in the early to middle rounds of the draft?
Williams, a third-rounder last year, caught 44 passes for 736 yards and 5 touchdowns and showed he could handle the No. 2 role when Austin missed games with a hamstring injury. Williams' development played a part in the release of Austin.
The problems with the defensive line were seen as the big issue for the Cowboys' defense, but the play in the secondary did not help. While Orlando Scandrick was excellent, the highly paid Brandon Carr was not.
Carr did have his moments, but they were early in the season and it appeared he played with less confidence as the season progressed.
That can't happen again in 2014 for a number of reasons.
For one thing, Carr is paid like a man expected to shut receivers down. It's an impossible task because offenses have the advantages over defenses and an inconsistent pass rush placed too much pressure on men like Carr to hold receivers.
However, the money he makes in comparison to his peers has the Cowboys looking for more out of him.
This is the flip side of Brandon Carr's issues - the team may be thinking about finding his eventual replacement - just in case the replacement has to happen sooner than planned.
But I wonder just how high the Cowboys would select a cornerback considering how much they have invested in Carr, Scandrick and Claiborne with picks and money. Would they go after the likes of Darqueze Dennard, Bradley Roby or Justin Gilbert?
Speaking of the patchwork defensive line from last year, at least one of the many players brought in to try and stop the bleeding, Jarius Wynn, has found another team after Dallas declined to re-sign him.
His best game with the Cowboys may have been his second time playing the Eagles, when he notched two tackles, a sack and a tackle for loss in the season finale.
He was one of the few linemen signed in the middle of the year to stick the rest of the way, playing a total of 10 games with the Cowboys.
This is at least a little interesting, because I think it is typical of the bipolar view so many hold of the Cowboys. There is always plenty of criticism for the things that Dallas does wrong. Then the same people who have talked about the mistakes build an argument for why they should continue doing things wrong, in this case stating that the Cowboys can't afford to take the best player available.
No. This team still has needs. A case can be made the Cowboys must improve their personnel at safety, linebacker, offensive guard, wide receiver, defensive tackle and defensive end.
After I have slogged through some of the bad writing about the Cowboys, I like to cleanse my mental palate with a nice, crisp serving of Sturm. Here, he delves into how he is building his own, Cowboys-centric draft board, and answers some specific questions, like why he included Jackson Jeffcoat on his original board and left Trent Murphy off.
There is no question that Trent Murphy is a better player and I think will have a better career. Trent Murphy is a dynamic playmaker who is sliding in this draft for what he can't do, but man, those things he can do seem really special. Jeffcoat is the ultimate tweener, as even at Texas, they could not decide how best to use him because of his size. They both can get after the QB, but truth told, Murphy can do more than that at a higher level than Jeffcoat.
So, why did I put Jeffcoat in the Top 40 and not Murphy? Purely scheme. I have never seen Murphy as a 4-3 player and therefore would not take him if I am Dallas.
Coaches and other team representatives at the meeting led the discussion and talked very openly with the players, according to sources involved in the meeting. Some of the focus was on the role of coaches in setting standards and helping all sides understand how to be accountable in living up to those standards.
The discussions will be ongoing between players, coaches and general managers, but they also will continue with the teams now, too. The issue is less one dominated by league executives and union executives than it is player-to-player and coach-to-player.
Whether you think it is a serious issue or an overblown media sensation, this is going to be around for a while.