Over the past few years, the Dallas Cowboys War Room has been the province of Tom Ciskowski, the Director of Scouting for the team; however, starting with the 2014 NFL Draft, the prime role has been given to former XFL and Arena League head coach Will McClay. While Ciskowski still played a critical role in the process, the Cowboys made some changes in responsibility as they attempted to get better. It will be some time before we can fully assess the impact that McClay will have, but now is a good time for an initial look at his efforts.
According to the owner of the Dallas Cowboys, the first edition of the McClay War Room is living up to what is expected. In fact, Jerry Jones seems to be well pleased with the changes that the Cowboys made.
In every phase of it, preparation, from organizing the initial days, from the Senior Bowl all the way to the combine, the organization of the board, coordination with the coaches--I’m going over all that because I’ll break it down--and I couldn’t give him anything but an A in every respect. We all know how smart he is, but he’s got a unique perspective. He’s been around this game long enough. It really came to bear in that room. He made a significant, really a significant contribution to this being a success." - Jerry Jones
While we are all familiar with Jerry-speak, for those who require a translation, Jones gave Will McClay an "A" for his efforts.
According to the Cowboy-In-Chief, the biggest asset that his new personnel man brought to the war room was his ability to serve as a diplomat. With his experience working in the front office, in scouting, and as a coach, McClay understands the game from the view of each of the three groups. As a result he was able to balance and integrate the concerns that each group had into something representing harmony. This was the reason that he was brought into the fold to begin with, and it seems to be paying off for the team. Jones, in one of his post-draft news conferences, was particularly complementary of the way McClay achieved balance in what can be a tense war room environment.
"He’s got great people skills. Everybody’s comfortable with him, but yet he’s real articulate. You understand clearly what he’s asking and what he’d like to get done. You put all that together and he did a great job."
All told, initial returns are that the team feels that it has made some great strides in the way they prepare for and run the draft. If all goes as intended, we will soon see the results on the playing surface. Only time will show for certain, but for now, I tend to agree with Jerry Jones. I was pleased with how the team performed this weekend. A large portion of the credit for that can be laid at the feet of Will McClay.