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Posts Tagged ‘Jason Garrett’

2013 NFL Draft: What Dallas Cowboys GM Jerry Jones and Weathermen Have in Common

In Sports on April 29, 2013 at 12:02 pm

Cowboys draft picks 2013

The 2013 NFL Draft is complete, and all of the priority rookie free agents have been signed.  Grades on the draft are pouring in from all over the country today.  While accurate grades on this year’s draft can’t truly be given for another three years (once these players have an NFL body of work to evaluate), the bottom line is that Dallas Cowboys GM, Jerry Jones, has once again left experts and fans scratching their heads for not addressing the most glaring needs on the team.  Fortunately for Jones, he has one of the two jobs in the world that has no penalty for constantly making mistakes.  The other being a weatherman.

Outside of the Cowboys organization, it is difficult to find people who thought that their first round trade (which dropped them down 13 picks), returned fair compensation.  But more importantly, it is impossible to find anyone who believes that Wisconsin Center, Travis Frederick, should have been chosen in the first round, including Fredrick himself, who expected to get picked no earlier than the second round.

Assuming that Frederick would have been available when the Cowboys picked in the second round (which is a very safe assumption), the trade should be evaluated over time by answering the following questions:

[1]     Is Gavin Escobar a productive NFL Tight End, and how does he compare to Tyler Eifert (the TE that the Cowboys could have drafted with the 18th pick in the first round)?

[2]     Is Terrence Williams a productive NFL Wide Receiver?

[3]     Is the combination of Escobar and Williams as good, or better than, Eifert or Shariff Floyd, the DT out of Florida that was considered by many to be a top five talent?

All first round picks will be under pressure to produce, but Frederick may have the most pressure on him because of his draft position, team needs and the fact that Jones did nothing to address the offensive line after the first round.

The offensive line was the biggest weakness of the Cowboys going into the draft, and yet only one pick was used to address the position.  To make matters worse, the Cowboys signed 15 rookie free agents after the draft, none of which are offensive lineman.  Even though undrafted linemen are unlikely to earn a starting role, their presence would at least push last year’s underachievers to play to their potential.

By all accounts, Frederick should provide an upgrade to the middle of the offensive line.  However, even if he is better than the Cowboys expected, and he justifies his draft position, what happens if he goes down with a season-ending injury?  Who is going to help protect the $100 million quarterback?  Escobar, the pass-catching TE with limited blocking skills?  Williams, the projected third WR?

In a featured article on DallasNews.com after the draft was completed, Cowboys Head Coach, Jason Garrett, stated “games are won up front on the offensive and defensive lines.”

The post-draft comments from many experts state that Garrett has now been given the tools to create a prolific offense, but based on his comments about the importance of offensive and defensive lines, it seems as though he has been set up to fail and lose his job after yet another disappointing season.

Many teams passed on Floyd (Florida DT), so the Cowboys can’t be totally faulted for doing so as well, but they can be heavily criticized for failing to draft a defensive lineman with any of their seven picks.  Adding insult to injury, none of their 15 rookie free agent signings were defensive lineman, despite the fact that it is an obvious area of need for the Cowboys.

However, according to Jones, defensive line is a position of strength for the Cowboys.  He better hope that aging DT’s Jay Ratliff and Jason Hatcher stay healthy and out of trouble if they plan on having a pass rush up the middle, a key component of Monte Kiffin’s “Tampa 2 Defense.”

Sadly, the most exciting Cowboys pick of this year’s draft was 5th round RB, Joseph Randle (Oklahoma State).  He is the one proven commodity that was looked at as a “value” pick while also filling a need.

The rest of the Cowboys draft consisted of players with tons of upside potential, which is great for teams with deep rosters like the San Franscisco Forty Niners and New England Patriots, but not for an underachieving team with salary cap issues and aging stars trying to make a run before their window of opportunity closes.  This strategy even makes sense for teams that have entered a period of rebuilding because they have time to see the potential realized.

Will J.J. Wilcox transition from a small school Safety with one year of experience into an NFL star?  Possibly, but the odds of him doing so this season are fairly remote.

Even if small school prospect, B.W. Webb, becomes the team’s 4th CB, the only way to justify picking him over a lineman is if he becomes a game-changer as a return man.

LB DeVonte Holloman fills a need, and has value in the 6th round, but you have to wonder what the thought process was in drafting someone who slid in the draft because of a DUI conviction, in light of what happened with Josh Brent, who will miss the entire 2013 season and may very well end up doing significant jail time for killing a fellow teammate while driving drunk.

Ever since Jimmy Johnson left the Cowboys, Jones has been trying to prove that he is capable of orchestrating a Super Bowl victory on his own.  Based on this year’s draft picks and crop of rookie free agents, it doesn’t seem like the Cowboys are any closer to making the playoffs this year, much less a Super Bowl.

Luckily for Jones, even if the Cowboys deliver another 8-8 season, he is at no risk of losing his GM position.  After all, his boss has tolerated mediocrity for the past 17 years.   Like weathermen, Jones’ inability to forecast carries no consequence, so Cowboy fans can look forward to another pedestrian year of football in the coming season.

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Dallas Cowboys Need Radical Changes to Compete in the NFC East

In Sports on December 31, 2012 at 7:53 pm

Romo Garrett

Another NFL season has ended with the Dallas Cowboys mired in mediocrity.  Unfortunately, the sad reality for Cowboy fans is that this cycle is not likely to end anytime soon with Jerry Jones at the helm of the most valuable franchise in football.

Once again, the Cowboys wilted in the spotlight of a must-win game.  All of the success that Tony Romo enjoyed over the last half of the season was washed away in one fell swoop with another subpar, big-game performance.  The seasoned veteran couldn’t compete with RGIII, the Washington Redskins’ extremely poised, rookie phenom who was playing quarterback at half-speed because of a knee injury.

Once again, Jones’ “chosen one” was out-coached when it mattered most, but Jason Garrett will return because he is just the type of non-threatening coach that allows Jones to be the face of the franchise.

They say that timing is everything, but it is rare that the stars align perfectly in professional sports.  It happened last season as the Indianapolis Colts were “luck-y” enough to draft Andrew Luck to seamlessly replace Peyton Manning at quarterback.  If this season is any indication of things to come for the Colts, it looks like they will be Super Bowl contenders for many years to come.  The Colts will enjoy continued success because they had the guts to make the tough decision to transition away from a surefire first-ballot hall of fame quarterback for the long-term good of the franchise.

The stars were starting to align for the Cowboys this season, but they did just enough to once again provide enough false hope to maintain the status quo.

At 3-5 at the halfway mark of the season, the Cowboys trailed the New York Giants by 3 games.  It looked as though the Giants would run away with the division, and the Cowboys would end up with a losing record.  But then it happened…

The Cowboys started winning, albeit in very unimpressive fashion.  They continued to win as the Giants continued to lose.  Most experts and football fans believed that the Giants would “flip the switch” when their backs were against the wall, but it never happened.  Somehow, someway the Cowboys ended up playing the Redskins for the division title in the final game of the season.

Romo’s poor play against the Redskins is not likely to dissuade Jones from giving him a multi-year, multi-million dollar contract extension that will tie him to the Cowboys for the foreseeable future.

Garrett’s ability to keep the Cowboys competitive will assuredly keep him around for at least another season, most likely one that will also end in disappointment for Cowboy fans.

We’ll probably never know what went on behind the scenes, but the timing of the Cowboys’ winning streak likely ended any possibility of bringing Sean Payton in as head coach to help put an end to the mediocrity that has become synonymous with the Cowboys.  And therein lies the problem…

The NFC East has two coaches (Mike Shanahan and Tom Coughlin) who are simply better than Garrett who is still “learning” on the job.  With Andy Reid’s firing, the Philadelphia Eagles are now searching for a new head coach.  The new head coach may or may not be better than Garrett, but that is somewhat immaterial at this point.  The bottom line is that the Redskins with RGIII and Shanahan, and the Giants with Eli Manning and Coughlin are in a better position to win the division for years to come barring an injury-marred season.

Unfortunately, the massive amount of injuries that the Cowboys sustained this season will give Jones a convenient excuse for their shortcomings.  While injuries may have contributed to the Cowboys missing the playoffs again, the Green Bay Packers won the Super Bowl a few years ago with more starters on injured reserve than the Cowboys had this season, so it really isn’t a viable excuse.

The Cowboys with Jerry Jones, Jason Garrett and Tony Romo leading the way will never be legitimate Super Bowl contenders.  But as long as fans keep filling “Jerry World” and spending money on Cowboys merchandise, Jerry the salesman will continue to peddle false hope and Super Bowl dreams while continuing to deliver a mediocre product on the field because he is determined to get the credit for winning a championship his way.

For the Cowboys to compete in the NFC East and become legitimate Super Bowl contenders, they must make radical changes, even if it means going through some growing pains.  There is nothing more frustrating for a sports fan than rooting for a team that is always in the middle of the pack.

Rebuilding in the NFL doesn’t have to take several years anymore.  The time has come for the Cowboys to bite the bullet and part ways with Garrett and bring in a head coach who has enough gravitas to change the culture of the organization.

The Cowboys should not extend Tony Romo’s contract.  Let him play out the final year of his contract and see what happens.  There is time to work out  a long-term deal after next season, and if not, there is always the franchise tag to use if necessary.  However, if Romo cannot lead the Cowboys deep into the playoffs next season, then the Cowboys should not lock themselves into a long-term deal with a quarterback who puts up a lot of stats, but comes up short in crunch time.

Of course, all of this is just wishful thinking.  It would be an absolute shock to see the Cowboys start the 2013 season with anyone other than Garrett coaching, Romo at quarterback with an extended contract and Jones as the GM trying to prove that he can once again lead the Cowboys to the Promised Land.

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