When you’re the one writing the checks, you have a great deal of latitude to do whatever you want. If you need proof of that, look no further than Jerry Jones. In addition to simply owning the Dallas Cowboys, Jones also serves as the club’s general manager; those titles give him virtual autonomy over all football decisions.
While being able to call all the shots for an NFL team might seem like a pretty sweet gig, it hasn’t always worked out for Jerry Jones. In fact, he may be dooming his beloved Cowboys to more mediocrity by repeating one of his recent mistakes.
The Dallas Cowboys have been hamstrung by an awful defense
There’s an old sports cliche that says “defense wins championships.” While that’s not always 100% true, the Dallas Cowboys are currently proving that it’s pretty tough to win every game on the back of your offense.
Through the first four games of the 2020 campaign, Dak Prescott has been dealing. He might not have a long-term contract, but the quarterback’s production hasn’t slowed down; he’s thrown for 1,690 passing yards and nine touchdowns while rushing for three additional scores. On the whole, the Cowboys offense also leads the league in both passing yards and total offensive yardage per game.
Despite averaging 31.5 points per contest, though, Dallas is only 1-3. That’s largely due to an awful defense. Heading into Week 5, the Cowboys are surrendering an average of 430.5 yards and 36.5 points per outing. Even if you have an elite offense, digging out of that large of a hole week after week is almost impossible.
Jerry Jones isn’t ready to change defensive coordinator just yet
For better or worse, Jerry Jones has never been shy about given an interview and saying exactly what’s on his mind. Given the Dallas Cowboys’ struggles, he’s presumably been thinking about defensive coordinator Mike Nolan.
Despite the unit’s putrid start to the season, Jones isn’t ready to make a change just yet. When asked about Nolan’s job status, the Cowboys owner explained that he had not considered a change and gave the coordinator his seal of approval.
“No,” Jones explained on 105.3 The Fan, according to RJ Ocho of Blogging the Boys. “If you think about it at this juncture that’s not something that you would go to. Don’t need to. We’re getting the benefit of a coach that has a lot of experience.”
“We got somebody here that can tell you where we’re ept and where we’re inept,” Jones continued, according to Troy Hughes, “[and] where we need changes as well as anybody else on this planet.”
Jerry Jones could be dooming the Dallas Cowboys by repeating the mistakes of his past
In a vacuum, there’s nothing wrong with Jerry Jones supporting Mike Nolan. 2020 has been an unconventional season and the Cowboys didn’t have the benefit of preseason games and a traditional training camp to adjust to their new system; last year, for example, the Kansas City Chiefs defense struggled until they came to grips with Steve Spagnuolo’s game plan. Given Jerry Jones’ track record, though, a problem could be brewing.
Obviously, there’s something to be said for patience and trusting the process; if you fire a coach or coordinator every time the team struggles, you aren’t going to get anywhere. At the same time, though, every organization will eventually need to admit they made a mistake, bite the bullet, and remedy it.
In the past, Jones has tried to be the big man on campus but refused to shoulder the same burden when things go south. When it came to firing Tom Landry or replacing Jimmy Johnson, the owner had no problem stepping up and trying to prove that he was the smartest guy in the room.
Last season, however, Jones seemed unwilling to fire Jason Garrett; he waited until the season was over and took the easy way out by declining to renew his contract. Whether he was blinded by his personal relationship with the coach, unsure of a potential replacement, or hoping that the Cowboys could back into the playoffs, that inaction torpedoed the 2019 campaign.
Again, firing a coordinator after four weeks on the job would be a drastic move. At the rate that the Dallas Cowboys season is going, however, Jerry Jones might have to make a tough decision sooner rather than later. Based on his recent track record, though, it’s not clear if he’ll step up or repeat his past mistakes and let a bad situation continue to fester.
Team stats courtesy of ESPN