The Cowboys‘ 1-6 start is the worst start through seven games since 1989, a season that famously ended 1-15. This has left Jerry Jones suitably embarrassed.
"I'm embarrassed. Of course I am. And to every fan, I should have and do take the ultimate, ultimate responsibility. I do. That's the way we're structured. That's the way I run it. There's no question that I have the plan and executing it to have the best players and the best coaching that we can have. I'm dumbfounded that we are 1-6. You couldn't get me to say it, but you know that I thought we had a team here that could be one of the top competitive teams in the NFL."
He’s right to be embarrassed and right to be dumbfounded. After all, this was a team that returned 20 of 22 starters from last season’s 11-5 campaign, and started training camp as a 6-1 favorite to win the Super Bowl. Those odds had jumped to 40-1 after the beatdown by the Giants, and after the Cowboys woke up from their little sleepwalking episode against the mighty, mighty Jaguars, the odds were an even 100-1.
Jones went on to say: "I'm very, very, very sorry to our fans. You should have better than this. You can tell by the way some of the things that we've done to certainly make the Cowboys everything you want them to be, you should be able to tell that I won't rest until we've figured some things out that get us in a different spot. What it is, I don't have that."
Okay, I get that. Jerry Jones is sorry, and I also believe him that he’s going to do all he can to turn this thing around, right?
"I don't think there is anybody in the world who would doubt that I'm willing to do something hard. I'm willing to do something that doesn't feel good to me."
But Jones draws the line at firing a coach during the season, as he doesn’t believe in quick, interim fixes.
"I am not in any way for making changes," Jones said. "I have always thought our best chance to win, when you've got three-day weeks and you've got to get ready to go to play a team, our best chance to win was to continue to be coached and continue to do some of the same things. There's not enough time [this season] to change."
"I think anybody would have the emotional and knee-jerk thought about just changing something to be changing. What has got to be taken into consideration is how effective those changes could be. […] The impact that can be made for preparing and coaching a team on a technical basis you’ve really got some serious technical limitations and challenges when you start talking about changing [with about 30-35 practices in full pads left for the team this season]."
But here’s the point: At 1-6 it’s obvious something is not working the way it should with this team and with this coaching staff. Whatever they’ve been doing so far has not worked. So the question Jerry Jones will have to ask his staff this morning is what are we going to change this week vs. what we’ve been doing the past seven weeks? And it’s not about a little bit here and a little bit there.
Here’s what Wade Phillips said yesterday:
"Everybody knows we have a lot of talent and that's not the problem. I have a talented players and I'm not getting them to play well enough. To me, that's the root of the problem."
My friends, these are the sounds a coach makes when he's trying to fire himself.
And if the answer Jerry Jones gets is even remotely similar to what Phillips said, then there is only one course of action left: Remove the root of the problem.
[Jerry Jones quotes taken from video of press interview on dallascowboys.com]