The world has changed. In case you haven’t noticed, we now expect everything to happen immediately. It is a byproduct of social media and the internet, where breaking news is instantly at hand on your smartphone, tablet, or computer. You also have the option of tuning into one of the 24 hours news or sports outlet, or talk radio to hear the latest from talking heads and personalities that are more concerned with ratings than accurate information. Our perception of things has been altered. It is hard for many to imagine a time when you had to wait for a newspaper to come out or the evening news to find out anything, but trust me (and my grey hair, wrinkles, aching joints, and sadly expanded waistline), that was the way it used to be. And then you were limited to what the old-school media thought was worth reporting.
It isn’t just the immediacy of current coverage. In the sports world, there just aren’t the big commercial sites who are putting out information. The blogosphere has exploded, and for a team like the Dallas Cowboys, you have an extensive and still growing number of options for your fix of news, with constant competition to be up to date to attract your attention. (Disclaimer: That most certainly includes us here at Blogging The Boys - and thanks for reading!)
The problem is that doing things right away is not often a wise approach. And this year, after a disappointing 2017 campaign for Dallas, we are starving for answers as to how the team is going to fix things. (We also are often very disappointed when we get them, but that is not the topic today.)
The Cowboys, however, are doing things on their own schedule. It really was inevitable that it would take some time. The first task for the team was to rebuild much of the coaching staff after deciding that some assistants would not be retained, and others would seek different opportunities. At first, there were some disturbing reports that the staff would be quickly reconstituted by relying largely on promoting from within. It is probably fortunate that things were slowed down to interview some outside talent, and while we may not be wholly in favor of the three significant hires so far, there is a general consensus that the team scored a major coup in hiring Kris Richard of Legion of Boom fame when he was with the Seattle Seahawks. There have been some internal promotions, but it now looks more like there was a real attempt to balance the concepts of bringing in new faces and ideas with the practice of “growing your own”. All in all, slowing things down a bit seems to have paid off.
At the moment, while we suffer through the punishment of knowing that either the New England Patriots or the Philadelphia Eagles, with their insufferable fan bases, will celebrate the Lombardi Trophy, as Cowboys fans we are largely obsessing about what the team will do with the roster. Free agency and the draft are both already being hashed and rehashed ad nauseum. Both are still not even here, really, since teams cannot sign new NFL free agents until March 14th, and of course the draft isn’t until April 26th. The only thing the teams can really do something definitive about now are their own pending free agents. The offseason is always a long slog, especially after a down season.
The big topic of discussion lately concerning Dallas is the situation of David Irving. He is a restricted free agent with incredible talent but some problematical personal history. The management, especially Stephen Jones, has been signalling some reluctance to lock Irving up. Now there are fears the team is going to use a second-round tender and risk having someone offer him a deal that is too rich for the Cowboys’ taste.
Well, that is a long way off as well, as the deadline for those tenders to RFAs is also March 14th. The statements about Irving are quite likely a combination of thinking out loud (especially anything that comes from Jerry Jones) and negotiating through the media. The latter is a tactic that the Cowboys have used frequently in the past, despite some real questions about the wisdom of that approach.
Further complicating things is that the reworking of the coaching staff put the team behind on evaluating its players from last season. Not unreasonably, they wanted to get the staff settled before diving into that to get the relevant opinions. While there are clearly those who have doubts about Irving, he also has some big fans at the Star. The evaluations are most likely just now getting into full swing, and there is certainly going to a great deal of focus on what his real value and issues are.
It is hard to just sit and wonder as fans, especially when we see signals coming from the team. But we hardly know the full picture, and there may be some real swings to go through before the final decision on how to handle his case is made.
Irving is just one obvious example. There are plenty of others, like trying to work out a long-term deal or franchising DeMarcus Lawrence, as well as several other free agents who the team has to decide to try and re-sign or just let walk. All we can do is watch and see what is reported, and always try to pay attention to who is saying what. Not all sources are equally reliable.
Meanwhile, keep in mind the line from an old TV series: Patience, grasshopper.