Dallas Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones was interviewed by Josh Lewin on KRLD-FM 105.3 on Friday (8/26) to discuss the team. Here are some highlights:
Talk about the Orlando Scandrick signing.
“He has continued to improve. We view him on par with our other two corners. He’s a young player. When we drafted him, June Jones [now the coach at SMU], who played against him when June was coaching at Hawaii, said ‘ya’ll have really got you something special there. You’re really gonna be impressed with him. He was really impressive in his college career the time I played him.’
“Well, that’s born out that you’re going to be seeing a lot more of him. Then when you look at our future, I think he’s going to play a big role in terms of what we’re doing in our secondary, and what we’re doing in corner.
“The other thing is obviously having Rob Ryan come in, and that group of coaches come in, they’ve had a pretty arms-length opportunity to look at our defensive players. And without a doubt one of the most impressive players they’ve been around, comparing with players they’ve been around with all over the league, was Scandrick. So with all of that in mind, we decided to get him.
“If you can, you’ve got to get ahead of this thing. You can’t wait until someone is a free agent, or you will be paying complete retail. So he [Scandrick] decided it was better for him to get a sure thing right now and make a contract, and it was good for the Cowboys.”
Isn’t it true that you roll the dice with what you think you know, and sometimes it’s going to be a good deal, and sometimes it’s going to be not-so-good of a deal?
“If you wait until they are in the free market, and Doug Free is a classic example. We let Doug Free become free, and when you do, you pay retail then. If we had basically done something with Doug a year ago, he was penciled in as our starter at left tackle, and we had a lot of criticism, and a lot of people thought ‘well, boy you don’t know what he’s going to be.’
“But that’s why you’ve got to see them, in sports in general but in the NFL today, you’ve got to play these young guys. You’ve got to see what you’ve got, and then when you do, you’ve got to make an agreement with them before they become free to do the thing right in a balance between your resources, your dollars under the cap, and also managing your overall dollars for the entire team.”
What do you take away from the first two preseason games?
“I think we would’ve liked to have some of the players that have not been participating on the field, just to get them ready to play. Terence Newman is a case in point. But it’s given us a chance to really at some of the other corners. And in doing so, we’ve seen a couple of the other corners who are really going to help us out this year.
“We’re really pleased with the way [Alan] Ball has come on. He was our starting safety last year. We moved him from corner over to starting safety. He’s got speed, he can run, plus he’s got size. He’s got a lot of height. So I’d without having [Mike] Jenkins and Newman out there, we’ve been able to really feel good about Ball, feel good about [Josh] Thomas. A couple of the other corners, we’ll get to see a little more of them in these next two ballgames.
“But I like what we’re doing in the secondary. I like what [Barry] Church is doing at safety. Of course our starters, [Abram] Elam and [Gerald] Sensabaugh, has us feeling good at safety. Now that’s going to come around there and we’ll be better in the secondary.
“I really like what the young players are doing in the offensive line. And we’re going to see them a lot, play them a lot. Not just in preseason, but they’re going to be a big factor on this team this year.”
Tashard Choice had a quote saying ‘Now it’s time for me to actually get over the hump. People are tired of seeing little spurts.’ Do you agree with that?
“We’ve got to see him, and it’s unique when he has come in, he’s already played really well, sometimes extraordinarily well. Everybody’s always talking about consistency, and that’s what you want to see at any position with any player.
“You know where we are with Felix Jones. He’s having an outstanding camp. Certainly the guys behind are going to play — and play a lot.
“We drafted [DeMarco] Murray in part because of what an outstanding pass receiver he is. He actually played slot, like a receiver, at Oklahoma. He hit the ground running the other day, and you could see it — the smoothness, his speed, his hands. Many people thought he had the best hands that they’d seen. He’ll help us. He has the time to get in here and get adjusted. A big part of what we’re doing has to do with our backs’ ability to receive the ball. Tashard catches the ball well too and can doing something with it. We’re in good shape at running back.
“We’ve also had a couple of other younger players really excel in [Phillip] Tanner and [Lonyae] Miller. So we’re in good shape at running back, and Tashard just makes it that much better.”
Talk about your recent appearance with [Carolina Panthers owner] Jerry Richardson on the Charlie Rose show.
“I’d been on the show with Charlie Rose before, just individually and not with another person. Having said that, it was very comfortable. The questions were really softballs, and that kind of surprised me. I thought it was a good thing to be a part of that with Jerry Richardson. We’d been through the negotiations and spent many weeks together. It was funny, and I smiled every time he called me ‘coach.’ That is a standing way we address each other.
“He called me during this labor negotiation and my secretary said ‘well, Jerry’s in with coaches. He’ll have to call you back.’ And he said ‘well, tell him this is really important, is there any way he could step out?’ So I get on the phone and I said ‘would you have asked Bear Bryant to step out of his meeting?’ And he laughed. We have a good time.”
If there’s a guy available who’s just clean cut, yes sir, no sir, and another guy comes in all tattooed up and has all the bling and all that, does that make a difference in how you see a potential Cowboy?
“Individuals have different thoughts about how they want to address their appearance. I am interested in how that adapts to what we want to say to our fans, and what we want to say about the Dallas Cowboys. So that’s very much there. I don’t get into the body type, tattoos and things like that. I don’t get into that. Or the hair. Because I remember Bear Bryant, when he was asked what he was going to do about all the long hair, he said ‘well, if I have to grow it to win, I’ll just grow it.’ ”
Talk about how you don’t see 8-8 and mediocrity for this year’s team.
“I like the idea that you’ve got to think right now, because he is healthy, that we’ll have [Tony] Romo healthy, you’ve got to plan on that. And if we have Romo healthy, that lifts our team’s prospects. I like the fact that [Jon] Kitna got the backup experience that he got last year. So I think we can win, should we not have Romo. Hopefully not much, if any. I start with quarterback. Because your quarterback play is vital to your record and your success. And I’m being trite when I say that.
“I like what we’re going with the continuity that we got on offense. Jason Garrett has been running this offense for five years. There’s a lot of continuity over there. I like the fact that we’re mixing it up over on defense. In my mind, we’ve got good personel over on defense. We have players who can be outstanding on defense.
“Last year, we spent more money on our team than anybody in the NFL. I thought we had a team could contend. I think we’ve got a team [this year] that might do what we thought that one was going to do last year.”
To listen to the interview, click here.