Coming off of a 4-12 season, the Dallas Cowboys didn't make AT&T Stadium, aka Jerry World, a very happy place to be. After breaking his collarbone twice, quarterback Tony Romo's absence hit the team hard as it struggled to find a suitable backup and ways to win games.
After such a down season, many might expect sweeping changes throughout the organization. But team owner and general manager Jerry Jones hasn't expressed that notion yet.
There are many options. There's free agency ... We have to (draft a QB) to do what? We have to win a Super Bowl next year? Do we have to compete for a Super Bowl in the future? Do you have to have it in place after this draft? There's no have-to here, in my mind, because we have the luxury of having Romo here for three, four, five more years.
Romo, who will turn 36 in April, isn't exactly a spring chicken, and with his recent injury history, that three-, four- or five-year number that Jones put out there could seem lofty to some.
Former Cowboys quarterback and Hall of Famer Troy Aikman told Sports Illustrated Now on Tuesday that "either Johnny Manziel or Robert Griffin III will be in Dallas as the backup."
Regardless of who Jones finds as Romo's backup and possible successor one day, it's imperative for him to be better than the combination of Matt Cassel, Brandon Weeden and Kellen Moore, who went a combined 1-11 last season as starters in place of Romo.
No matter what happens to his team and what the roster looks like heading into the 2016 season, Jones is still behind head coach Jason Garrett.
"I have all the confidence that you need to have in Jason,” Jones told Drew Davison of the Star-Telegram. "I’m confident that if we get some stability at certainly some key positions on offense that we can have the team that we want to have.”
Garrett and his staff are getting a firsthand look at some of the game's brightest young stars as they are coaching the North Team in the Senior Bowl.
He'll have the opportunity to make note of the players who impress him as he prepares for his sixth full season at the helm of the Cowboys. In that time, Jones has observed some things that make the coach invaluable to the franchise, as he told Davison.
"One thing he is, he has an inordinate work ethic and he really does focus and really is going to be that way no matter what our record was the prior season,” Jones said. “So I know that it’s frustrating to him to have the kind of year we had, but he was showing that and not in a way that hindered him coaching. But he was frustrated as I’m sure as he is right now at times during the season.”
Of course, if the Cowboys trudge through another subpar season and don't challenge in a weak NFC East division, it wouldn't be surprising if Jones forgot all of those nice things he said about his head coach and started searching for a new one.
It will be up to Jones, though, to try to find some depth at the quarterback position and, more importantly, piece together a contender in the near future.