Dallas Cowboys front office needs to change course

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports /

Over the past week, no one inside The Star has been safe from the wrath of the Dallas Cowboys faithful. Some pointed to the quarterback, others to the offensive line, they blamed all of the coaches not named Dan Quinn, and even the kicker.

However, two people who have not garnered enough attention sit at the top of the franchise, Jerry and Stephen Jones (Will McClay widely gets a pass from almost everyone). This past Friday Jerry Jones was on 105.3 and it made me think about how this team got here.

I first decided to go back and listen to Jerry Jones when he hired Bill Parcells. The summary is Bill has won before, knows what it takes, and will get the Dallas Cowboys back to the top.

Basically, a lot of Jerry speak that we heard then as we heard with the hiring of Mike McCarthy. Jerry has been known to be stubborn, but also is willing to fight it out and will take the loss, remember the Johnny Manziel thing. But, listening closer, this is only the start of what I was hearing, again.

The Dallas Cowboys front office needs to change course and become a little less conservative.

I think for as long as I can remember listening to Jerry he has always made mention of “Cowboys football” or “The Cowboys Way”. Sometimes it was referred to as “our style of football” or “what we want to do.” This isn’t necessarily about a style of football or how the team drafts, it is about comfort.

Ever since Jimmy left, Jerry and Stephen have wanted to win THEIR WAY to prove everyone wrong. They won three, they can certainly win more, and they will try to do it exactly as they did it before. And so, time marched on as the front office learned from some of its mistakes, and adjusted a little.

For all of the movement forward, there is a lot of staying in the past. Just Friday, Jerry was talking about the 29 coaches on the roster, and how when they won the Super Bowl he had around 13. We have heard both he and Stephen say how Zeke is the “straw that stirs the drink”, it isn’t just that they believe the 90s style of running hasn’t evolved.

There is a lot of thought to a “money plays” attitude that forces the highest paid players into roles they don’t actually deserve. It’s ranking them by contract and not output.

The two kept Jason Garrett past his time, and most of the reason is, he was family, he was good enough for them, and he got along with the FO. The style of football was reminiscent of when Garrett played with the Dallas Cowboys. It was comfortable, known. It finally took enough time for the front office to move on.

This comfortability all falls into free agency. Stephen Jones, according to Jerry in a D Magazine feature, has the majority of the responsibility when it comes to free agency and contracts. Jerry is always the final authority, but Stephen has been slowly gaining more power as the years have gone by. However, Jerry admits to Stephen being more conservative than he is by saying:

"“The hardest steps going up the ladder are the bottom ones. Stephen sometimes has the idea that he has to make decisions and protect value, protect some assets. At the same time, he’s obviously learned from experience. He’s competed against real tough businesspeople and problems. He’s had his nose bloodied a lot, and we are better for that.”"

This quote was from only two years ago. Stephen goes on to admit it by saying, “I think that we may take fewer risks when he’s not here than when he is here.” Comfort, conservative, steady, all great words, but for football, not so much.

I’m not saying to change for change’s sake, but look at what you have done, and learn from it. Be willing to make smart trades in-season, you’ve done it once, do it again. Get used to a more pass-friendly, scheme-heavy, NFL. Gone are the days of running up the middle and just beating the guy across from you on 65% of the plays. Use free agency to fill spots, value those spots, signing a guy to a one-year deal to a position every year makes less sense than drafting a player.

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What Stephen and Jerry have built is impressive. The most valuable franchise in the world, one of the largest fanbases, a fairly competitive team year in and year out, and a huge moneymaker. The team has drafted fairly well over the past several years, and Will McClay has been a huge part of that. There is no doubt the Jones want to win a Super Bowl, but can they adapt, change course, step out of their comfort zone and push the team forward will be the question.