2014 COWBOYS CAMP COVERAGE: Dez Bryant continues rise as player and team leader | “Walk around like a champion” | NFL Network interviews with Dez Bryant and Jerry Jones
Dez Bryant: “Walk around like a Champion” | 8:07 | Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant chats with Rich Eisen and Michael Irvin about his strong desire to win in the 2014-2015 season under the new offense. (Watch Video | No Audio)
Jerry on drafting Manziel “It was that close” | 8:00 | Jerry Jones sits down with Michael Irvin and Rich Eisen to discuss the upcoming 2014-2015 NFL season and how the Dallas Cowboys nearly drafted Johnny Manziel last May. (Watch Video | No Audio)
Dez Bryant: Contract will take care of itself | 4:39 | Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant meets with the media after a recent morning practice to talk about his expectations for the wide receiver group heading into camp. (Video | Audio)
RELATED: Dez Bryant continues to rise as a player and a young team leader
OXNARD, CA – By almost any measure, whether it’s his gaudy statistics, his rapidly-approaching payday or even his Madden rating, Dez Bryant is considered one of the league’s top receivers.
COORDINATING THE COORDINATORS: Jason Garrett’s focus shifting as Scott Linehan takes the offensive reins
Jones said (Watch Video | Play Audio) that was the design last year as well, but it didn’t end up working out as originally planned. The addition of Scott Linehan now means a new offense with new terminology and ideas, allowing Garrett to actually have more of a focus on defense than offense.
As Jones put it, Garrett “won’t have the last pencil down this year” the way he had last year when it comes to the offense.
“He’ll have a lot more time spent on defense than he will on offense,” Jones said. “We want his input on defense.”
Jones said he wants Garrett to work with the defensive staff and use his offensive mind to show how he’d attack a defensive plan.
“His focus on the defense I think is going to make a big difference,” Jones said. “You’ve got Linehan’s head coaching experience, you’ve got Bill (Callahan) with head coaching experience, you’ve got (Derek) Dooley with head coaching experience, you’ve got some great experience.
“And we have the need to see if there are aspects of what we can do offensively that are different than what we’ve been doing over the last six years. We have that need and we’re going to get it. We’re going to get that without throwing the baby out with the bath water.”
Jones reiterated that Linehan will come in with “completely real change” on offense, including different terminology with his scheme.
“He’s got a track record of really zeroing in and building the offense around the talent, the specific talent and qualities of the players,” Jones said. “(Tony) Romo has certain skills and talents and abilities and has very unique mental capabilities on the field. He’ll make it go.”
Jones said Garrett, who coached with Scott Linehan in Miami, has enough confidence in what the new play-caller can bring that he’s willing to step further back and essentially hand over the offensive duties.
But he wasn’t going to pass up on adding Linehan when that opportunity presented itself.
Jones said Tony Romo had “serious discussions” with Detroit quarterback Matt Stafford about Linehan and now has a great feel for Linehan’s imagination and what Linehan can do to maximize players’ skills while bringing flexibility in the scheme within the parameters of the offense.
He said Romo and Linehan will be locked at the hip and that the most excited person in the Cowboys’ organization about the addition of Linehan was Romo, who will still have a great deal of power within the offense.
“Romo was a tremendous supporter of Bill Callahan, but was absolutely ecstatic over us getting Linehan,” Jones said.
Jones believes Garrett’s learned a great deal and is more season and knowledgeable as a coach after years with the team, but doesn’t mind the idea of having a “lame duck coach.” He said he thinks people can sometimes work stronger without knowing their future and that Garrett has a “high tolerance for ambiguity.”
Even without an extension before the year, though, Jones said the plan is for Garrett to be the coach beyond this upcoming season.
Entering his last year of his deal, Garrett has to hope the changes made pay off quickly. Jones said he believes having the experience of multiple coaches on staff who were once head coaches should benefit Garrett. He said it’s a big deal for Garrett’s future that he gets the experience of working with the coaches around him.
“You know that every time he looks in his players’ eyes that most of those guys right there if they have a bad year or mess up or take an injury, that that’s there year, too,” Jones said. “We are dealing with those kinds of what ifs. But this is the one I’m comfortable with – the status we are in right now with our staff. I like our staff. Jason should know, and I know that he knows, that the plan here has been for him to be long-term, and long-term certainly being beyond this year, the coach of the Dallas Cowboys.”
Jerry Jones: Jason Garrett’s focus to shift
Jerry Jones spoke about why Jason Garret’s primary focus will be on the defensive side of the ball this season, and what makes him capable to take on that role.
COORDINATING THE COORDINATORS: Jerry Jones confirms that Jason Garrett, not Bill Callahan, was the Dallas Cowboys offensive coordinator in 2013
INDIANAPOLIS – Owner/general manager Jerry Jones shed some light today on head coach Jason Garrett’s role in the offense last year, which was greater than expected going into the season.
Jones said it’s a fact that Garrett was really the offensive coordinator last year, despite Bill Callahan having that title. The Dallas Cowboys entered the year with a plan to lighten Garrett’s offensive load, but that didn’t come to fruition the way they’d planned.
“That was one of the issues,” Jones said. “It was unfair to Bill, but it was the offense that we’d had since we got there and it was very difficult. That’s why we had such a hard time articulating it early. That’s why we made some of the switches we made during the middle of the season. All of it was just manifested by the fact that it was just very difficult for Jason to get out of that role.”
Jones said Garrett ended up having “the last pencil down all the way through.” The original plan and design for Callahan to call the plays and serve as the play-caller changed, and Jones said Callahan was frustrated and should have been.
Jones still called Callahan “a hell of a coach” and said he’ll be involved heavily in the offense this year, although the offense will focus around incoming offensive coordinator and play-caller Scott Linehan.
“There’s a difference when you’re sitting in the room as the head coach and you say, ‘Wait a minute, you put some salt and pepper in there,’” Jones said. “Then, after it’s already been cooked and you’re tasting it outside the room and you say it might need a little salt and pepper. There’s a big difference. One you’re involved in the cooking, and one you’re not. Jason was involved in the cooking last year. That’s just a fact, and everybody knows that, really, or should. That won’t be the case this year, and the addition of Linehan caused that. So it will be cooked.” (Translation: “Too many cooks in the kitchen” … “the main Chef was being burned”)
The explanation can get confusing, and the answers get a little more convoluted when it comes to the play-calling process between Callahan, Garrett, quarterbacks coach Wade Wilson, and Tony Romo. But the bottom line is Garrett had more say in the offense than originally planned (or publically disclosed), and Jones added that Romo had the final say play-calling say.
“More importantly than anything, the guy that’s ultimately calling the plays is on the football field, the quarterback, Romo,” Jones said. “He’s the one that’s got the check outs, he’s the one that’s got the ability to decide the run, pass, a lot of options and not just in the red zone and not just in hurry-up, two-minute. Not just there, although he was really predominant in the red zone and really dominant in no-back, that type thing.” (Translation: Tony Romo had veto power over Callahan that may be scaled back somewhat under Linehan)
Jones said last year Garrett felt he needed to have more of a presence on offense than originally planned. So, when did it become apparent that Callahan wasn’t going to be as involved in the play-calling as originally expected?
“That evolved as it went along,” Jones said. “Again, it evolved, but you get in situations during the season that have lesser time to sit back and say, ‘Wait, what are we doing here? How are we doing it?’ And make no mistake about it, it was something that was being discussed, which isn’t uncommon at all, vigorously in the staff rooms.”
Editors comments: Bill Callahan’s title of ‘Offensive Coordinator’ was always in “title only” used to fulfill the NFL rules in regard to hiring procedures. Callahan’s original responsibility (when he was hired) was to coach the offensive line and serve as the OL coordinator as it pertains to the passing and running phases. Last season, this was never Bill Callahan’s offense. As we’ve pointed out many times on The Boys Are Back website (last season), he was assigned the additional responsibility of ‘play-caller’ for Jason Garrett’s offensive game plans in an attempt to delegate a large portion of Garrett’s gameday focus. As the year progressed, changes were made in the way calls were delivered to Tony Romo. The chain of command was shortened (simplified) to a more fluid Box2Garrett2Romo delivery system.
All of this offseason talk about Callahan’s ‘demotion’ is ridiculous. His value to the Dallas Cowboys offense is (and has always been) his coaching of offensive linemen in the zone blocking scheme and also his input into their individual abilities as it pertains to the running and passing phases of Garrett’s system. Callahan is going back to what he does best … coach and consult. In simplified terms, looking ahead into this season, the Dallas Cowboys have a passing game coordinator, running game coordinator, and OL coordinator that help new actual offensive coordinator Scott Linehan formulate an offensive game plan. This will be Linehan’s offense. It will incorporate Jason Garrett’s offensive philosophy. You will see significant similarities (and production) to the Jason Garrett offense you’ve seen in the past. As the team moves ahead, look for a Linehan2Garrett2Romo or a direct Linehan2Romo delivery system to be utilized with this new structure.
IRVING, Texas — Maybe there is a different way to look at Jerry Jones’ decision to keep Jason Garrett as the Dallas Cowboys’ head coach for a fourth season.
Maybe the owner is aware the general manager has not delivered enough for the head coach to have more than an 8-8 record. Bill Parcells used to say the goal was to get his team to play to the level that he perceived it to be.
Jerry Jones must allow Jason Garrett more control of his own fate.
Could Jones be conceding he has not done enough for Garrett, despite his statements that the Dallas Cowboys had a chance to not only make the playoffs but make a run to the Super Bowl as well? It requires you to believe Jones separates the owner job description from the general manager job description, but it is not that far-fetched.
Late in the season, Jones mentioned the team lacked the personnel in some key spots because of injuries. Of the 12 regulars — including the nickel corner — on defense, seven were in their projected spots when training camp began in the season finale against the Philadelphia Eagles. Orlando Scandrick and Morris Claiborne essentially flipped roles. George Selvie, Nick Hayden, DeVonte Holloman, Kyle Wilber, and Jeff Heath were starters.
Perhaps Garrett maximized the 8-8 finish this year and last year because of injuries.
In his address to the media Monday, Garrett repeated the statement he made after the 2012 season ended in a Week 17 loss in an NFC East title game: it takes time to build a program. While he acknowledged wins and losses matter most, he failed to recognize the guy he lost to last week, Chip Kelly, was in his first year and took over a 4-12 team. Mike McCoy brought the San Diego Chargers to the playoffs in his first year. Andy Reid took the Kansas City Chiefs to the postseason after they had the No. 1 pick in the 2013 draft.
Jerry Jones has a lot invested in Garrett beyond money. He believes in how Garrett is building the team and how he prepares the team. Quibble about the execution, but players’ effort has not been an issue with Garrett as coach. Jones wants Garrett to be his long-term coach. If Garrett finishes out 2014, only Jimmy Johnson will have coached the Cowboys longer under Jones.
Jones is right to bring back Garrett in 2014.
What he needs to do now is allow Garrett more control of his own fate. If Garrett wants to call plays, then let Garrett call plays. If Garrett wants to change the defensive coordinator, then let him, and if he doesn’t want to replace Monte Kiffin, Garrett will only be hurting himself.
Jones made sure everybody was “uncomfortable” in 2013 and it produced the same 8-8 record. He wanted Bill Callahan to call plays. He wanted Kiffin. He wanted Tony Romo more involved in the offense. He wanted Garrett to become a walk-around head coach.
Much will be made of Garrett’s lame-duck status in 2014 but if he doesn’t win, then he shouldn’t get an extension.
The pressure will be good.
It’s time Jones is “uncomfortable.” At least a little bit anyway.
The Jerry Jones Show: Jason Garrett’s future; Stance on coordinators | 16:17
Dallas Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones speaks with 105.3 The Fan for his final weekly show and talks about the decision to stick with Jason Garrett, and what the status is on the coordinators (Bill Callahan and Monte Kiffin) for both sides of the ball. (Watch Video | Listen Audio)
RELATED: Jerry Jones reaffirms his faith in Jason Garrett; Focusing on players
IRVING, Texas – Dallas Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones left no doubts about the future of head coach Jason Garrett today.
Jones reaffirmed on 105.3 FM “The Fan” that he had made his decision to retain Garrett and that it wasn’t a decision he made recently. He said he decided that several weeks ago and that he likes what Garrett’s doing as a coach.
“One thing that’s a positive here is we’ve been in it,” Jones said. “We’ve been in it the last three years. Jason’s been on this staff going on seven years now. But we have been in it, during his time as head coach, we have been in it, right there playing for it, in the last game for the last three years.”
Jones said there’s a positive to competing and being in the mix in the division in the final week every year, but he also said he’s right there with fans wanting more than 8-8 and not having to play for a division title in the last game every year.
“That’s where we can have improvement,” he said.
With the news that Garrett would return, the attention now focuses on the future of the other coaches and coordinators. Jones said in this business, players and coaches can lose their jobs if they don’t get the job done with or without a contract, but he wouldn’t get into the specifics of many of the coaches’ contracts.
Jones said he was pleased he had defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin and offensive coordinator Bill Callahan this year. That’s despite the Cowboys finishing last in the league in total defense and questions popping up throughout the year regarding the offensive play-calling.
The owner didn’t specifically state that those coordinators will stay next year, but he said to assume the coaching staff’s contract statuses will remain intact until they decide differently. He said those coordinators mentioned previously are still under contract.
“When we got them, I’ve never had as many people talk about, ‘Well, boy, you have really upgraded or, not upgraded would be the word, but you have really added a plus to the coaching staff,’” Jones said. “Now we had a rough year, but we didn’t necessarily have a rough year because of coaching, in terms of our defense. All that will be considered as we look forward.”
He also said the Cowboys won’t have the changes in the coaching staff area that they had last year. As far as what decisions will be made, Jones said he will look at that with Garrett going forward, but they haven’t discussed that in depth yet.
“We’ve made some philosophical changes this year with (Tony) Romo and his influence that he has in the offense,” Jones said. “We’ve made some changes regarding the philosophy of the defense. We need to practice that, we need to improve that, to the extent we can add personnel, which we certainly can through the draft.”
Most of Jones’ focus now seems to be on personnel rather than coaching. He said he’s had recent years where he thought the talent on the field was greater than it was this year, specifically because of the injuries the team sustained, but he also thought the team should have had more success with Romo on the field for 15 of 16 games.
“But when I look at the challenges that we had, frankly, and the numbers of players we had to bring on the roster and get on the field in a relatively short amount of time that for the most time weren’t a part of rosters or maybe aren’t going to be a part of rosters this year, I think we did a pretty good job getting the team out there under the circumstances,” Jones said. “Having said that, one of the things you look at is your depth.”
In an interview with CBS This Morning, which you can view in the video below, Jerry Jones explained his love for the phone.
“It’s free of hip dialing,” Jones said. “You can have some pretty confidential conversations and not get overheard by the camera man by talking into this flip phone.”
Jones was asked what it said about him that he had a $1.2 billion stadium but only a flip phone.
“It’s how you have a stadium worth $1.2 (billion). If you watch your pennies and you have flip phones. You can’t have it all.”
Got that? Get a flip phone and you too can have a stadium worth $1.2 billion.
Also doesn’t necessarily mean that it takes a smartphone to make you smart.
PERPLEXED IN THE METROPLEX: Jerry Jones frustrated because teammates could have used a healthy Jay Ratliff
Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones was cordial when initially asked about defensive tackle Jay Ratliff signing with the Chicago Bears two weeks after being cut by the Cowboys because he was too injured to play this season.
“We wish him the best,” Jones said on his radio show on KRLD-FM. “Sounds like we could be playing him when we meet the Bears.”
The Dallas Cowboys face the Bears Dec. 9 in Chicago. It appears that Ratliff will be ready to go by then after telling the Bears he needs a couple of weeks to get ready.
That he will be ready at all is what’s perplexing to Jones and the Cowboy after Ratliff missed all of training camp and the preseason recovering from a sports hernia surgery that his representatives said was much more serious than reported.
Ratliff was placed on the physically unable to perform list for the first six weeks of the season. And when he still wasn’t ready to return and gave the Cowboys the understanding that he would not be ready to play at all this season, he was released.
Ratliff was cleared to play by his surgeon a week later and began soliciting offers from other teams, culminating with his signing with the Bears.
Jones chaffed when asked if he was fooled and misled by Ratliff.
“No one fooled anybody here,” Jones said. “We thought we had a good clear understanding of his injuries and what he thought about them. He was very articulate about that. It’s very unfortunate. We could use a healthy Jay Ratliff. His teammates could use a healthy Jay Ratliff. We were counting on him from the get go. It’s ironic we would end up playing him. That’s frustrating.”
Dallas Cowboys Postgame Show
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IRVING – Citing the difficulty of playing cornerback in the NFL, Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett, owner Jerry Jones and others in the organization continue to preach patience when it comes to struggling second-year pro Morris Claiborne.
San Diego’s Philip Rivers picked on the sixth overall pick of the 2012 draft repeatedly in Sunday’s 30-21 win over the Cowboys. Rivers finished with 401 yards and three touchdowns on 35-of-42 accuracy, including a 31-yard strike to rookie Keenan Allen on third-and-long early in the game that victimized Claiborne and set the tone for the day.
Allen finished with five catches for 80 yards, most of which came against Claiborne, who termed his day “frustrating.”
“They hit a couple of plays all over the field,” said Claiborne, who also gave up a 28-yard catch, “but obviously they found more over there on the right side.”
Orlando Scandrick has started the last three games after Claiborne dislocated a shoulder in the opener. Team vice president Stephen Jones suggested the injury has nothing to do with Claiborne’s poor play.
“It’s time for the injury thing to leave the scene, Jones told Dallas’ KRLD-FM on Monday. “He needs to step up and make plays. I think he will.”
On Tuesday, Jerry Jones was asked about Claiborne during his weekly radio show on KRLD-FM.
“He’s just got to get his confidence up,” the owner said. “We know what kind of player he is, what kind of athlete he is.”
Like the Joneses, Garrett believes a dip in confidence plagues Claiborne, who Pro Football Focus ranks 99th out of 101 corners who have played at least 25 percent of their team’s snaps.
But the coach pointed out that poor technique is also a factor in the former LSU standout’s decline.
“It’s a challenging position,” Garrett said. “You’re out there on an island and your best friend is your technique. Your best friend is the system, and oftentimes a young player like him is inconsistent in how he’s using his technique and his belief in the system.”
Garrett said young pro corners are often surprised to learn they can’t rely solely on the athleticism that served them so well in college.
“Guys at the college level don’t face the expertise or just the level of play, the level of skill that (NFL quarterbacks and receivers) have,” Garrett said.
“(In college), if you are a more talented player, you can get away with being a little late to the ball because you can (recover quickly). The ball’s not really where it’s supposed to be. But guys in this league throw the ball on time. They throw it where they want to throw it. The route running is good. So, technically, you just have to be really sound to give yourself a chance to succeed out there.”
Cornerback Brandon Carr said it’s clear on film teams are targeting Claiborne. But unlike others, Carr believes Claiborne remains confident. Still, Carr said he’s pulled Claiborne aside to offer him guidance and encouragement.
“He is going to take some bumps and bruises,” Carr said. “He hasn’t seen it all yet. I told him it took me four years to get it all out of my system and get my confidence level where it should be.
“The only thing you can tell him is keep battling, keep being positive.”
With that said, Carr supports the decision to start Scandrick.
“It’s not time for feelings or anything political,” Carr said of Claiborne’s demotion. “It’s all just business. We are trying to put the best 11 out there to win ball games.”
Dallas Cowboys defensive tackle Jay Ratliff finally broke his silence regarding the groin and hamstring injuries that have landed him on the Physically Unable to Perform list, sidelining him for at least the first six games of the season.
Ratliff, 32, said he’s extremely disappointed in the setbacks in his rehab and vowed that he would return to the field with season, while alluded to tensions with the Cowboys training staff as reasons why he worked away from the facility during the off season.
“Absolutely I’m disappointed,” Ratliff said of the team’s annual kickoff luncheon at AT&T Stadium on Wednesday. “But everyone knew what the issue was way before hand. Everyone knew what it was since last year. I’m not going into much more detail other than that…It’s for sure it’s not a hamstring tweak. Thank you.
Ratliff missed ten games last season, including the last six because surgery to repair a sports hernia. He didn’t use the Cowboys doctors for surgery and paid for his own rehab in the off season.
Ratliff returned the Cowboys for OTAs and minicamp and appeared to be gearing up for training camp when he suffered a hamstring injury during pre-camp conditioning drills.
Asked why he rehabbed away from the Cowboys’ Valley Ranch headquarters, Ratliff declined to go into details.
“I’d rather not say,” Ratliff said. “Let’s just keep the focus on these guys going out there and playing and winning games. I’m not going to be here and be a distraction to anybody. Just stay as professional as possible about the whole situation. But everyone that is involved knows what is going on.”
Ratliff said he “absolutely” believes he will return to the field this season.
Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones offered a similar answer regarded his expectations of Ratliff not only return in 2013 but playing at a high level.
But Jones acknowledged the loss of the former Pro Bowler for the first six games of the season is a huge setback for the Cowboys.
Ratliff was expected to be a key component in defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin’s 4-3 scheme. The Cowboys envisioned Ratliff being an inside pass rusher from the under tackle position in Kiffin’s defense similar to Hall of Famer Warren Sapp was during their time together in Tampa Bay.
“It is a setback. No, it is a setback,” Jones said. “We will have to adjust just as we would if it was a mid-season injury. What we’re doing there and his status is that hopefully will move the process along faster. We’re hopeful this will let us rehab-wise, strength-wise that we can do more than just address this where he is.”
Jones said he didn’t know of any tension between Ratliff and the athletic training staff.
“I don’t know about that,” Jones said. “What I’m saying I don’t know any of the details and I don’t have any comment on that.”
Jones also refused to second-guess the decision to allow Ratliff to participate in the pre-camp conditioning test, where he complicated his rehab from the sports hernia with the additional hamstring injury.
“Again, everybody that was involved in the decision thought he could run the conditioning test for sure,” Jones said. “So everybody involved in that decision thought he could run it. Everyone. 100 percent.”
Jones said there no thought from anyone on the Cowboys that Ratliff won’t play this season. He said if that was the case they would have done something different to address the position and not just him on PUP.
Despite the setback, Jones said his hopes and expectations for Ratliff haven’t changed. Once he get’s healthy and returns to the field, the Cowboys believe he will be an impact player in the defense and help extend the season beyond the 10 games that would be left and into the playoffs.
“I hope he’s an All-Pro player,” Jones said. “I hope he can be. He can have let’s see, he could have certainly 13, 14 to go if it went like you’d like for it to be. A player like this as we again we’re just getting tested on our depth right out of the shoot, right off the bat, but hopefully we’ve got the depth to hold it until we can get him out there.”
IRVING, Texas – The Dallas Cowboys’ offense loses some “juice” with scatback Lance Dunbar sidelined by a sprained foot.
That’s the term coach Jason Garrett and quarterback Tony Romo use to describe Dunbar’s dynamic quickness and explosiveness. It’s what makes Dunbar, a second-year player who was undrafted out of North Texas, unique among the four running backs likely to make the Cowboys’ roster.
Never mind the unimpressive numbers from Dunbar’s rookie season, when he gained 75 yards on 21 carries and caught six passes for 33 yards. He had carved out a significant role as a change-of-pace and third-down back behind DeMarco Murray.
The Cowboys envision Dunbar as their version of Darren Sproles, the New Orleans Saints’ undersized spark plug. They are especially enamored by his receiving skills and ability to make plays in space, a couple of attributes Dunbar displayed on his 43-yard catch-and-run that unfortunately ended with a fumble inside the Arizona 5 in Saturday’s preseason loss.
“Totally forgive him,” Jerry Jones said after the game. “I’m so glad our fans got to see him. He’s quick, fast and makes plays.”
That will be the last fans see of Dunbar making plays for at least three or four weeks. The season opener against the New York Giants is scheduled for three weeks and a day after Dunbar suffered the injury.
Murray missed six games with a sprained foot last season. If Dunbar takes that long to recover, he’s in jeopardy of missing the first three or four games of the season.
A sprained foot is especially a concern for a player whose best trait is his quickness. The Cowboys can only hope that Dunbar recovers quickly and brings the juice when he comes back.
As a fourth-round draft pick, B.W. Webb’s spot on the roster is all but guaranteed. The Cowboys have carried David Arkin, a fourth-round pick in 2011, for two years. But if Webb wasn’t a high pick, he might be in danger of not making the roster.
The William & Mary product has struggled mightily thus far.
He had three tackles in 76 plays in the Hall of Fame Game against the Dolphins, giving up four passes for 29 yards while being targeted six times. He had three tackles against the Raiders and was a favorite target of Raiders’ quarterbacks. He also fumbled a punt.
As if it couldn’t get worse for Webb, he was called out by his coach — who rarely does that publically — afterward.
“You are not allowed to have one of those nights,” Garrett said. “One of things you are looking for in any kind of players, a young guy or a veteran is you want to make sure they respond to the successes and adversities of the game. He had a couple of missed tackles early on for him. I thought he came back and tackled better. Then, he had the dropped punt. You’re not allowed to have bad nights. You never excuse it away to that. You have to keep battling, fighting, whatever opportunity you get, you’ve got to make sure you are taking advantage of it.”
It is safe to say Webb will not be used on punts. His fourth-quarter muff was recovered by the Raiders at the Dallas 9, and they scored the go-ahead field goal.
“Certainly, he’s got enough skill and has done enough good things out there,” Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said. “We’ve seen him on punts and seen him have to get used to it. He’s not ready, as far as training camp is concerned, to drop back there and get under those punts. We saw that some in training camp. We’ve seen it. It was disappointing he couldn’t get his feet back under him and get back and at least recover the ball. First of all, it really gave us an uphill battle in the ball game. That will be something I’m sure he keeps in his mind.”
DALLAS (105.3 THE FAN) – The first round of the NFL Draft was an emotional night or many Dallas Cowboys fans who didn’t see the logic in the decisions that were made by the team’s management.
On 105.3 The Fan the Dallas Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones not only explained his decision to trade down (from the 18th pick to the 31st) to get Wisconsin Center Travis Frederick, but he told Elf & Slater (with guest host Mike Bacsik) the Cowboys had Frederick rated higher than LSU Safety Eric Reid, who was taken at #18 by the San Francisco 49ers.
Jerry also gave his insight to his approach for the upcoming 47th, 74th and 80th selections.
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IRVING, Texas – The Dallas Cowboys still haven’t come to a final decision with right tackle Doug Free.
Executive vice president Stephen Jones said the two parties need to get something resolved, but they haven’t heard an answer back yet about whether or not Free will accept a pay cut.
“We want him,” Jones said. “We’d love to have him here. I think he’d love to be here. Now the question is, it’s got to work for him and it’s got to work for us.”
Free agent veteran tackles Tyson Clabo and Eric Winston are still available for the taking if the Cowboys choose to make a move after a down year for Doug Free, who ended up splitting time with Jermey Parnell.
“He wants to play better than he played,” Jones said. “I think he’d be the first to tell you that. I think he played better toward the end.”
The Cowboys have thrown around the idea about moving him to guard, but as of this point that doesn’t appear likely.
Editors comment: I’d like to see Doug Free’s agent and the Dallas Cowboys work out a new contract that has incentives that allows Free to keep his money with productivity incentives while allow the Cowboys to reduce his salary cap numbers with lower productivity. The current contract can have a lowered cap number, while providing substantial incentive dollars if Doug Free returns to form.
Tony Romo offers pre-draft opinions
Apparently, Romo visited with both Jerry and Stephen Jones for about an hour during the tight end meeting room late Friday afternoon.
But Jones was quick to point out that Romo hasn’t been hard to find this offseason.
“Make no mistake about it, Romo has been all over this place,” Jones said. “He hasn’t been in here every day in this draft room, but he has been all over this place back here with the coaches. He’s in the building; it’s not much effort to bring him in.”
Editors comment: I believe we’re going to see a major transformation within Tony Romo and the organization beginning this offseason. Expect him to be much more involved in “all things” offensive. He’s reached a point in maturity and experience were his input can really help with aspects seen on the field and those decision made behind closed doors.
The Wilcox factor – The More You Can Do …
For three seasons at Georgia Southern, J.J. Wilcox played running back and receiver. Not until late August did he get the chance to move over to defense.
Less than a year later, he’s a third-round pick of the Cowboys (80th overall) with a shot to compete for a starting job.
Wilcox said he believes switching positions didn’t hurt his chances of becoming a higher pick, but probably enhanced them. And more importantly, will allow him to compete for a spot.
“It doesn’t make you limited. You come in and the team can use you anywhere,” Wilcox said. “ I think it helps out a lot with ball skills, foot work, hips and dictation that you need to be a good safety such as good route running and understanding how the receivers run their routes and how they come out and what their stems are, and stuff like that. Playing offense for three years helped me out back at safety this year and hopefully this will transfer over to the NFL and I’ll become one of the best safeties in the NFL.”
Despite not playing the position until his senior season, Wilcox said he always eyed the safety spot.
“I always wanted to be a safety. I had love for the game from day one,” Wilcox said. “Some of my favorite players are from the safety position and I grew up watching the Cowboys. It’s just a blessing to just put a star on the side of my helmet.”
Editors comment: The local media has had their eyes on J.J. Wilcox for quite some time now. He is very highly regarded in local football circles. I think we can expect big things from Wilcox on the field and locker room. He is a smart diversified player with great leadership qualities.
MOBILE, Ala. – It seems the Cowboys are one step closer to naming a new play-caller next season.
Owner Jerry Jones said he’s always insisted on keeping Jason Garrett as the play-caller throughout Garrett’s tenure as head coach, but he could see the positives of a switch and hinted that change could be coming soon. Jones didn’t specifically state Bill Callahan would be the new play-caller, but all indications seem like that will be the case if a switch is made.
“Theoretically, when (Garrett) doesn’t do as much of the offense as he’s been doing, that means he’s going to do more with the overall team,” Jones said. “He has never felt that that wouldn’t work (well) and possibly better. The insistence that he called the plays as well as be head coach was me.”
Allowing Garrett to hand over the play-calling duties elsewhere would give him the opportunity to work in other areas of the team more extensively. Jones said Garrett’s ability to focus more on every aspect of the team could be helpful.
“The advantages of a walk-around head coach, one that doesn’t specifically spend every day making game plans, is he can spend more time looking at the overall picture, not only on game day, but for us as we look throughout the week on a game week or we look throughout the season when we’re in the offseason right now,” Jones said. “Jason’s very involved, will be just as involved in who we draft, who we bring in in free agency.”
Jones said Garrett’s always been on board with making whatever change necessary at play-caller. Garrett also told reporters he would be comfortable and would welcome that switch, as well as the addition of Callahan in that role, though he didn’t specifically say if or when that would happen.
Jones emphasized he’s always wanted Garrett to be a head coach and play-caller, but he’s also realized there’s another way to do it. There are also various degrees of changes that could be made regarding the preparation of the game plan, implementation of the game plan and the specific duty of calling the plays.
“It’s very likely that we’ll have, with the way we’re going to be structured, some additions to the philosophy in what we’re doing offensively,” Jones said. “Even though Bill Callahan, let’s say, has been here one year, we’ll have some new things. That’s not out of plan there. That’s not out of the possibility that we would have been doing it with him remaining, technically, where he’s been in the past. We’re talking degrees more than anything the way we look at it. Rest assured, this would not be being done if our head coach Jason Garrett wasn’t absolutely all in.”
Jones said Callahan could incorporate some elements of the old Raiders’ offense he coordinated, if he becomes the play-caller. That could mean more of a West Coast style.
“If Bill Callahan has more influence, if he does, then you will see more of some of the things that have worked for him in his coaching career,” Jones said. “You expect that, and that will be a plus for us.”
Jones stressed that the direction of the team shouldn’t be misinterpreted. He said the changes are a coordinated effort and are being built upon, and Garrett’s a focal part of those decisions. He said the changes shouldn’t be seen as a step back for Garrett, but a step forward.
He also said differences of opinion can ultimately lead to a step in a better direction. Jones thought the Cowboys would be in a different position right now after a couple seasons with Garrett at the helm, but the owner said Garrett’s put things in place that the team can build off of. He said the team is keeping the good parts and moving on to improve the other parts, one of which appears to be at play-calling.
“If we make a change there, it will be more of a concession on my part to go forward with a different procedure as to how we put the offense out there,” Jones said. “After two and a half seasons with Jason as head coach, we need to do some things differently. We are not, and I know our fans are not, but I’m not, Jason’s not, we’re not at all satisfied.”
SOURCE: Jerry Jones press conference at 2012-2013 Senior Bowl
Jerry Jones speaks about play calling duty, Bill Callahan, and Jason Garrett.
YACHTING WITH THE ENEMY: Jerry Jones says his friendship with Dan Snyder enhances Cowboys – Redskins rivalry (Rival Newspaper)
Jerry Jones and Dan Snyder are friends. They do things like ride on yachts together, and film pizza commercials together. Some D.C. fans have reacted negatively to this friendship, worrying that a Redskins owner can’t dream of squashing the Cowboys while simultaneously being close friends with their owner.
Turns out Jones was actually asked this week if the Redskins can still be a bitter rival, despite his friendship with Snyder.
“They are, yes, they are” he said on his weekly radio appearance with New School on 105.3 The Fan. “My friendship with him has NOTHING to do with that. As a matter of fact, have we not all had brothers, sisters, friends where the rivalry or who gets it is more intense than if you were NOT friends? That becomes the case here.
“First of all, this rivalry [began] long before him and long before me. Secondly, it’s bigger than both of us put together. So having said all of that, I just want to figure out a way for the Cowboys to beat the Redskins. Of course if it were the Giants or the Eagles, those are big too, but this Redskins thing is something that’s got more stories, and so storied.”
Jones also talked at length about the threat posed by Robert Griffin III, and the improvement Washington’s offense has enjoyed this season.
“My goodness, with their quarterback and what they’re doing offensively…we’re gonna have to work to come out of here with a win,” Jones said. “I see a guy that is very aware and has the ability to put such pressure on the defense, because he prefers to make time, buy time to throw the ball. They’ve not only coached him to do that, but he prefers it. He’s not a preferred runner, like Michael Vick. He’s a guy that’s using all that skill, all that quickness, all that speed to basically get an opportunity to throw the ball, and that’s what you want.
“He’s really MORE than I think anybody would have thought he would be coming out. The Redskins have a really top quarterback. We know about him here in Texas, we all do. He’s a good one right now, and will make a HUGE difference in our game Thursday….To contain him with his quickness and speed and yet at the same time try to keep his receivers covered is a huge challenge. He really has an accurate arm and a good arm. It’ll be a big challenge.”
Courtesy: Dan Steinberg | Washington Post
Photo: Magic Johnson, Jerry Jones, and Daniel Snyder
While Cowboys fans might want Jerry Jones to hire Sean Payton as head coach, that doesn’t mean the Cowboys owner and general manager is thinking about that at the moment.
Sunday morning, the NFL voided the multiyear contract extension the New Orleans Saints announced for Payton in September 2011. That decision means that the suspended head coach will become a free agent after this season.
Although it’s likely that Payton will return to the Saints next season, his previous coaching ties to the Cowboys make it easy to speculate that Jones would have interest.
“I have no idea about that,” Jones said after Sunday’s 19-13 Cowboys loss in Atlanta. “I have no understanding about anything to do with his or the Saints’ business or the contracts. That was news to me.”
Jones seems to think he is employing the right guy.
“I have a lot of faith in Jason,” Jones said Sunday night. “I think Jason’s future is ahead of him. I know how hard he works. I like his philosophy so I have a lot of faith, a lot of confidence, one of the brighter spots that I see, about our head coaching and our coaching in the future.”
IRVING – Walking through the halls of the Cowboys’ Valley Ranch practice facility there’s always a realistic chance that you’ll run into Jerry Jones. And the Cowboys owner and general manager is usually open to stopping and chatting for a few minutes, as he did on Wednesday.
While the news of the day was the season-ending injury suffered by inside linebacker Sean Lee, Jones also spoke at length about his popular franchise and its starting quarterback.
The following summary followed after a reporter asked Jones about the high expectations placed on Tony Romo and the criticism he receives. The 70-year-old owner said his expectations for Romo are probably higher than anyone else’s.
But why do Cowboys players, like Romo, seem to be more scrutinized than others around the league?
“We push a lot out on the table with the Cowboys,” Jones said. “Picture going to Las Vegas and putting an inordinate amount on the table with every hand or with every throw. We do that and I am a part of that. When you do that and you don’t have the right hand or win, then you subject yourself to a lot more criticism.”
Does Jones ever feel like he needs to pull some of those chips back?
“No,” he responded. “That’s our style. I have won with that style. I feel we are not in the business … we are not managing a widow-woman’s retirement accounts here. In other words, to compete, I think we need to be aggressive. You play the game, you manage the game that way, you take some risks when they don’t pay off (and) they look bad. That has happened. I think that’s one of the luxuries of my position as owner as well as the ultimate decision-maker, general manager and president, I can do that and take the losses and come back for more.”
The Cowboys haven’t come close to duplicating the success the franchise had during Jones’ early years as owner, reaching the playoffs only once in the last four years. So what’s the problem? Does he need better cards on the table? Does Romo need more help around him?
Jones didn’t say if he did, but his response solidified his support for the 32-year-old quarterback.
“I felt for the last two years, certainly last year was a very disappointing year because he had a great season and we should have as a team been there and knocking on the door more than we were,” Jones said. “To some degree we were, but the Giants were better. I hope that we get the same opportunity this year, he’s very capable of doing it and I hope that he can maintain this level of play and use his experience.
“I hope that he can maintain it for several years in the future. I hope that. No one knows that but I think, relatively speaking in his career he hasn’t played as much football as his years in the NFL represent. I think that because of his intellect, because of his understanding of the game and, frankly, his skills that he’s going to be playing for a long time. I think we’ve got a quarterback in Tony Romo here for many years to come.”
Earlier this month, Cowboys offensive coordinator/offensive line coach Bill Callahan said the Cowboys were going to work on “simplifying” the play calls so there would be less confusion on offense. However, since Callahan made those comments on October 11, Romo appears to be doing even more at the line of scrimmage before each play.
“We’ve basically created a little less pre-snap action, pre-snap communication with the rest of the team,” Jones said. “That’s not taking the load off him, that’s the communication before the ball is snapped has been tightened up and probably crisper.”
After the ball is snapped, Jones simply wants Romo to be himself.
“We don’t want to take the Romo out of Romo because it’s going to get us where we’re going to get,” Jones said. “We’ve got to keep the Romo in Romo. He’s going to have to be the one that gets out there and decides whether or not he wants to try to make the play or not.
“From my perspective, I’ve always told him, ‘Go out there and make those fabulous plays, keep the drives moving, but don’t turn the ball over.’”
Jones then laughed.
“Please understand, I’m almost tongue-in-cheek when I say that,” he responded. “We all know that’s talking out of both sides of your mouth.”
Just another day at Valley Ranch.
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Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones the death this week of NFL Films boss Steve Sabol from brain cancer at age 69:
“He was one the greatest storytellers of our time – not just in sports but in any part of the American society. I have often said that they only throw ticker tape parades for war heroes, astronauts and people that win games or championships – sports figures – because they are larger than life. Someone has to take these accomplishments, these people and make them larger than life. Someone had to take a moment and turn it into a [legendary moment] and that is what Steve Sabol did for the NFL better then everyone …
“On a personal basis, he inspired me to put the biggest digital board right down the middle of the field because we wanted to, in a way, share the theater of stage with our fans. We wanted [fans] to come inside the huddle, instead of a face that is a foot high, we can put it right in the middle of the field as it is going on and put it 70 feet high. That style was Steve’s style and influence. He will be missed but he will always be remembered because of his great contributions to what we do every day and that is show the great nuances of our game.”
Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones talks about the performance of his team and also speaks of the Seattle Seahawks.
JERRY JONES: Seahawks imposed their will, showed how to use home field
Jerry Jones wanted to give credit to the Seahawks, and he wanted to make sure he was understood.
“In everything about playing football, they were better than we were,” he said after Sunday’s 27-7 loss. “Every aspect of it. So we can call it whatever you want to call it, but they were better than we were, all the way.”
It was plain, simple talk from the Cowboys owner, who usually convolutes his sentences around themselves to get to a basic point.
Sunday, there were no roundabouts.
“They were prepared. They played ready. They played with emotion,” he said of the Seahawks. “We knew they were a good team when we came up here. And they are a good team, especially at home. So we do congratulate them. This is a disappointment for us, an example for us how about how to play with home field.”
Jones said the outcome didn’t surprise him, not after the way the teams played.
“But that doesn’t make it any easier,” he said. “We thought we had an opportunity to win two on the road, which would be a great way to start. But they had other ideas. They imposed their will on us today. And we’ve just got to look at that and learn form that, and that’s what the NFL is.”
Jones said the Cowboys have to be good enough to overcome an early deficit, no matter how it happened. He said not getting to 2-0 is a frustration.
“We’ve got to be good enough to come in situations like this and win to get where we’re going, and we weren’t today,” he said. “We’ve got to be good enough to play a team like this at home and gain on it, to create a win that we can build on. That’s what we are. We didn’t get it done today. And I know everybody in this room’s disappointed. We’ve got to be good enough to win a game like this, and we weren’t today. But they had everything to say about it.”
RELATED: Felix Jones says kickoff fumble caused by helmet hit
Felix Jones said the ball got hit by a helmet when he fumbled on the opening kickoff.
“Man, he made a great play,” Jones said after Sunday’s 27-7 loss. Michael Robinson was credited with causing the fumble, which led to a field goal for the Seahawks and a 3-0 lead.
“The ball, he hit right on the ball, his head, helmet,” Jones said. “Ball flew out. He made a great tackle. That’s something I’ve got to work on and make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
Jones continued to return kickoffs. He took only one touchback. Twice he returned kicks from 8 yards deep.
“You want to be a playmaker,” he said. “You want to go out there and do things for your team and help your team out and put them in a good position. That’s what we’re doing on special teams. We’ve got to continue to do that and get better.”
Jerry Jones hasn’t lost confidence in Felix.
“I don’t think that I’m worried about him fumbling the ball. At all,” the Cowboys owner said. “We need to get him some holes. We need to get some blocking for him up there as well.”
Felix, who averaged 21.8 yards on five returns Sunday and 20.3 yards on three returns against the Giants, said he felt bad after the play.
“You feel bad when you put the team in a bad position,” he said. “I did that. So just got to make up for it and make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
He said his own confidence is up, also.
“Feel good. Just got to make sure I stay on top of my game and keep getting better every week,” he said.
IRVING, Texas – After the Dallas Cowboys traded their first- and second-round picks in April to move into position to draft Morris Claiborne, owner Jerry Jones claimed he would walk to New York to get back his No. 2 selection.
The Cowboys ended up sitting out of the second round entirely, significantly frustrating for Jones because of the depth of the talent pool available when the team’s original pick, No. 45 overall, rolled around. After the round ended, Jones confessed the team would’ve taken Utah State’s Bobby Wagner in that spot. The inside linebacker was chosen by Seattle two picks later, at No. 47 overall, and is now starting for the Seahawks.
While the Cowboys will get a vision of what could’ve been when they face Seattle’s defense on Sunday, it’s doubtful there is any regret on Jones’ part right now.
Bruce Carter, the 2011 second-round linebacker, has done just as the club had hoped another year off the torn ACL that dropped him out of first-round contention, winning the starting job and playing effectively.
Carter beat out free agent addition Dan Connor in training camp for the opportunity to play next to Sean Lee, another first-round talent, according to the Cowboys’ evaluation. After starting his rookie season on the Physically Unable to Perform list, he became a special teams contributor down the stretch in 2011.
“Carter, that’s like having another first-round draft pick,” Jones told The Fan (105.3-FM) in Dallas on Friday. “I know that when we trade, we trade a two on draft day for somebody’s one, that’s the equivalent of somebody’s one. That’s just in draft pick evaluation. So, he comes in here, he’s certainly at the level that you’d be looking at, at a No. 1 pick, and he had a camp and (is) playing like it.”