The Dallas Cowboys will never stop finding ways to make something out of nothing.
This week has given rare insight into what makes the Cowboys the NFL’s most successful brand despite being one of its most mediocre teams in recent years. With all eyes firmly on Indianapolis, team owner Jerry Jones gave a two-hour interview in his private bus, inserting enough substance into his ramblings to merit attention.
Jones addressed the status of DeMarcus Ware, Jason Garrett’s new role for next season and the coach’s future with the team. He was surprisingly frank when addressing Ware’s contract.
Jones said the team was paying Ware like the team’s best defensive player, and that injuries had limited his ability to perform that way. Essentially, it looks like the team will ask Ware to restructure his contract, perhaps even take less money, but Jones spoke like a man still making up his mind.
Ware doesn’t necessarily need to go. As the salary cap continues to rise, the Cowboys could get under it by restructuring a few contracts, especially Tony Romo’s.
Jones also reaffirmed his intention to keep Garrett in Dallas for the long term, while also leaving room to get rid of him at season’s end. He said rather nonsensically that Garrett “has a high tolerance for ambiguity.”
Garrett can’t afford to dwell on his contractual ambiguity if he hopes to improve on the team’s dependable 8-8 record.
It seems he will have a significantly different role this year. Jones admitted that Garrett acted as the team’s offensive coordinator last season, especially for the last six games when he called the team’s plays outright. Now that there’s a new play-caller in town, Jones doesn’t anticipate the same hiccups that rendered Bill Callahan ineffective. Instead, he wants Garrett to focus on the team’s abysmal defense.
It’s not that Garrett can’t help the defense—it’s that he’s never really tried. Garrett’s is an unabashedly offensive mind, and understandably so, considering his quarterback past. Jones must really trust Scott Linehan to be removing Garrett from the offensive equation.
It’s hard to say what Garrett can offer to Rod Marinelli’s defense, but at this point anything is worth a try. A shift in emphasis could make for a stressful offseason for Garrett as he prepares to tackle the worst defense in team history.
As the next generation of NFL greats worked out on the turf, Jones’s interview somehow worked its way into the national conversation. Perhaps this is understandable. As interesting as the Combine can be, it’s not must-see TV for any team drafting outside the top ten or so.
The Combine is all about Manziel vs. Clowney, falling records and the first few picks. As an organization, the Cowboys are rapt, but as a fan base, any news not about Aaron Donald may prove lacking.
Hence, two-hour interviews with the NFL’s most outspoken GM, the master of doublespeak. In a league of shadows and backroom dealings, Jones’s forthrightness is a breath of fresh air—even if it exasperates Cowboys fans to no end.
We can only hope for more juicy-ish content in the slow months before the NFL draft.