Jerry Jones is foolish if he won’t give young players a late-season chance
There are times when Jerry Jones says something that just leaves you shaking your head.
Listen to what he said about using the last three games to evaluate young players who have earned playing time with their performance in practice.
“We want to go win those games,” Jones said after the Eagles game. “We want to give us, any way we can, the best chance to win. It’s important that we feel good about what we’re doing.
“It’s important to me that our fans can see that there is something potentially to feel good about. That’s very important to me. With what we’ve got ahead of us next year, in the off-season, we’ll try to make every score and every down we can. So, it’s all out for me.”
That’s among the silliest things I’ve heard this season.
Repeat after me: There’s not a single, solitary thing that’s going to make fans feel good about this forgettable season.
Not when this season began with Super Bowl aspirations and the Cowboys find themselves 4-9 and led by an interim coach with three games left.
Jerry should not spend one minute thinking about what the fans want. Or what the media want.
It’s about what’s best for the Dallas Cowboys.
If he already knows Gerald Sensabaugh or Alan Ball isn’t coming back next season, then there’s no good reason not to give Barry Church extended playing time in the final three games to see what he can do.
That goes for anyone on the roster who has showed an ability to contribute. Looking at those players has a chance to help the Cowboys win games next season.
That’s the only thing fans care about. They plunk down their hard-earned money to see a winner.
That’s what matters. Everything else is poppycock.
Q: With the poor performance by the defense this season, what are your thoughts on trying to get Dave Wannstedt back as defensive coordinator?
Scott Akers, Findlay, Ohio
TAYLOR: I wouldn’t want him. He’s been a head coach for essentially more than a decade. Guys like that sometimes have a hard time taking a lesser role. He’s also a 4-3 guy – not a 3-4 guy – and he’s a won a Super Bowl and made a lot of cash. I don’t know that his fire burns as brightly at age 58. Reaching into the past is not always a good idea.
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Q: Keith Brookings summed up our poor defensive play by saying that it was players “trying to do too much” on every snap. Do you agree with that assessment?
Rocky Valdes, Midland, Texas
TAYLOR: There’s some truth to that. What it means is that some guys are trying so hard to do their job that they’re not really doing their job. Football is all about doing your job, especially on defense. If Jay Ratliff’s job is to make sure no one goes through the gap between the center and the left guard, then that’s what he needs to do – even if he thinks that he can make the tackle by going through the gap between the center and the right guard. You have to do what the defense calls for you to do. You have to be disciplined.
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Q: Do you think the Cowboys will be the powerhouse team next year with Tony Romo that they seem to be right now without him? They are really playing well. The secondary is weak, and if they add some key components to that area do you think they will be unstoppable next year? Thanks.
TAYLOR: How could we possibly know that? Look at how many division winners change from year-to-year. This team has talent – not as much as we thought – but we have no idea how some guys are perform. We thought Anthony Spencer and Mike Jenkins were going to be terrific this season, and they weren’t. There’s no crystal ball, and Nostradamus has passed on. We’re just going to have to wait and see.
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Q: What’s that song about being in the wrong place at the wrong time? Enter Roy Williams. He is showing up in games this year and playing well at time, but at critical times, when great players come through, he makes critical errors. Two critical lapses this year equal two losses. Do you think JJ and staff take these “lapses” into account?
TAYLOR: I think Roy has played well enough to come back for another season, but at the money a third receiver should make – not the No.1 receiver money he’s scheduled to earn. I’d be shocked if the Cowboys don’t ask him to take a pay cut. If he refuses, he wouldn’t be on my team next year.
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Q: Wouldn’t you agree that Felix Jones is much more dangerous in space than between the tackles? It doesn’t make much sense to me not to have more game planning to get him in space and let Tashard Choice do the work in the trenches. A two-back set with Jones and Choice should keep the opposing front seven wondering.
Rod Steiger, Port Aransas
TAYLOR: You can’t run him on the perimeter every single time, or defenses would stop those types of plays every time he was in the game. You have to mix things up to succeed. Plus, Jones has been a good runner between the tackles.
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Q: As Jason Garrett spoke to Andy Reid during their postgame handshake, Garrett was seen on national TV smiling and laughing it up with Reid. The Eagles are a much-hated divisional rival. Maybe we should make as much of that as we have Tashard Choice asking for an autograph. I guarantee if you reviewed film of every Tom Landry, Jimmy Johnson or Bill Parcells loss to an NFC East rival there was no smiling. Football starts at the top. Owners to coaches to assistants to players. Period.
TAYLOR: This is what I think every time someone says something like that: This is not the ’70, ’80 or ’90s anymore. This is a new generation. This is a different time. These guys change teams every four-five years. These guys pray together after games. These guys have known each other since they played in high school All-American games or went to the Nike summer camp together. They communicate via Twitter or Facebook, and they work each other’s camps during the summer when they’re not partying together. A lot of them share the same agents.
This is a different era. You simply have to accept it. All you should concern yourself is how hard do you believe a guy prepared to play or coach. If you believe he gave it his all, then you shouldn’t care what he does after the game. I competed on the Cowboys’ beat for a decade with one of my best friends, and I tried to kick his behind every single day and twice on Sunday as mama would say.
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Q: What is wrong with the Cowboys’ defense this year? Why can’t they hold leads late in the game?
TAYLOR: When you can’t rush the passer and you can’t cover receivers, it’s hard to win. DeMarcus Ware has been good – not great – and Anthony Spencer has been average at best. Mike Jenkins has been bad this season, and Terence Newman has been average at best. Among your best pass-rushers and cornerbacks, only Ware is having better than an average season. It’s hard to win that way.
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Q: Do you see progress under Garrett in team discipline?
TAYLOR: Absolutely. He has brought direction and organization and discipline to the franchise. He communicates well and has done a good job of making sure everyone knows he’s in control of the team.
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Q. Start Orlando Scandrick . At least he will tackle.
TAYLOR: Scandrick struggled the first eight weeks of the season, when the dye was cast and Wade Phillips lost his job. He’s played much better over the last few weeks because the Cowboys are playing more zone, and they’re giving him more opportunities to make plays from the slot.
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Q: The headline should have read: “Jackson exposes Cowboys’ secondary coaches!” You cannot play man-to-man if the skill is not there. You must play zone or a combo zone. At a minimum you play Cover 2. Look around the league. Other teams have held DeSean Jackson in check.
Tommy Caughran, Dallas
TAYLOR: That, my friend, is revisionist history. Other teams have not held him in check. He was averaging 20 yards per catch before going off Sunday. Besides, the Cowboys spent much of the game playing zone, which is among the reasons he was so wide-open. He was just finding soft spots in the zone and waiting for the ball. You can’t always stop a good player.