The League

Dave Goldberg
Sports Reporter

Dave Goldberg

Covered the NFL for the AP for 25 years and now is a senior NFL writer for

Blame Jerry


There is only one way to fix the Cowboys: fire the general manager.

That, of course, won't happen, because the general manager is named Jerry Jones, the man who is ultimately responsible for the debacle that is this season in Dallas? Is the record 1-6 or 1-7? Even Jerry couldn't remember at one point.

OK, it's 1-7 and it got Wade Phillips fired as coach on Monday. That was inevitable anyway -- Phillips is a career defensive coordinator who's done pretty well as a head coach but was hired because he's compliant. He replaced Bill Parcells, who quit for the opposite reason -- he wasn't compliant enough and tired of listening to Jerry "suggest'' everything from draft picks to plays.

Most people who've met Jones like him. It's hard not to -- he's smart, charming and his ideas (business ideas, anyway) tend to be good ones.

But while he played on a national championship college football team at Arkansas (with Jimmy Johnson), he simply is not qualified to be the general manager of a modern NFL football team, especially when from time to time he tries to coach it too.

Look at what everyone calls "superb talent'' on the Cowboys and you'll discover that the best of it (Miles Austin, Tony Romo, Jay Ratliff, a few others) were no-names discovered by Parcells' scouts and inherited when the Tuna left Dallas after the 2006 season. And the biggest underachievers (Roy Williams, Leonard Davis, Felix Jones) are "names'' with local ties brought in or drafted by Jones after Parcells left.

See, Jerry is a showman. He wants to win but he wants to sell tickets and he thinks that in football that "names'' sell tickets.

Wrong. Winning sells tickets. People don't pay to see Leonard Davis, an overweight offensive lineman on the decline because Davis went to Texas. Or Roy Williams, an inconsistent receiver for whom Jerry gave up a first-rounder because HE went to Texas. Or Felix Jones, an oft-injured underused running back because HE went to Arkansas.

Take Dez Bryant, who might be offensive rookie of the year if Sam Bradford is not.

He's one of the few Cowboys who's playing hard and Jerry was delighted when he fell all the way to the Cowboys because of his off-field troubles. Did Jerry want him for his talent or because he comes from Texas and played at Oklahoma State? He already had talent there -- Austin, Patrick Crayton and (sometimes) Williams.

Check the box that says "local big name'' not "undrafted free agent from New Jersey or Wisconsin'' or "seventh-round pick from Auburn.''

A general manager -- Parcells and Jeff Ireland, now in Miami -- look for those guys as do successful folks like Bill Polian, Ozzie Newsome, Jerry Reese et. al.

Look to your own division, Jerry. You had 13 Pro Bowlers last season. How many did the Giants and Eagles have? A lot fewer.

But the Giants and Eagles are both likely to make the playoffs this season.

You're 1-7 and just fired your coach.

So now look to yourself.

By Dave Goldberg  |  November 9, 2010; 10:08 AM ET  | Category:  Coaching , Dallas Cowboys , Dave Goldberg , Jerry Jones , NFC , NFL Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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