Jerry Jones: Frustration Personified
In the wake of the carnage that is the Dallas Cowboys, definitive measures must be taken to sanitize the mess that is left. With regard to expectations versus reality, the 2010 season for the Dallas Cowboys is the absolute manifestation of failure in the historical sports context.
Over the course of the first half of the season, the performance of the Cowboys has drifted from disappointing to shocking to laughable to unwatchable. Beyond the point of salvaging any shred of respectability for this season, actions between now and the end of the year must be focused toward the restructuring of the attitudes and expectations of the entire organization.
This notion of culture change is anything but new and is much easier said than done. However, the following steps, regardless of probability of occurrence, may be the way forward to restore some sort of order to the Dallas Cowboys franchise.
Step 1: Bench Mike Jenkins
A substitute Pro Bowl selection may have unduly over-inflated the ego of this young, up-and-coming cornerback, therein stunting his development as a player. Jenkins' play in the past weeks is not worthy of a practice squad spot.
Nevertheless, the potential for becoming a solid corner is still there, so calls for release are too premature for the former first-round pick. Requisition of game time may just be the message needed to revive a downtrodden career path.
Step 2: Find Real Safeties
Alan Ball and Gerald Sensabaugh are fortunate to be on NFL rosters. Unfortunately for the Cowboys, Ball and Sensabaugh are on their roster, anchoring the paper-thin secondary.
To think that the safety corps would be adequate leading into this season was foolish on Jerry Jones' part. Both free safety and strong safety positions have been weaknesses for the Dallas Cowboys in recent years, yet Dallas has failed to place a high draft priority on either position.
Success on defense during the Wade Phillips era was predicated on pressuring the opposing quarterback. This season's ineffective pass rush only magnifies Dallas' deficient secondary. Long overdue, the Cowboys have no choice but to finally invest in high-caliber safeties.
Step 3: Start Stephen McGee
The worst that could happen has already happened. Winning 2-3 more games with Jon Kitna under center will do nothing to contribute to the future of this franchise. McGee was drafted to be the long-term QB prospect. With eight games left of full-speed regular season play against a murderer's row of opponents, the Cowboys will know whether McGee has it, or is just wasting a roster spot.
Step 4: Cut Marion Barber III
Jerry Jones, along with the rest of the Cowboys fanbase, became enamored with Barber's brutal rushing style in relief of Julius Jones a few seasons ago. As a result, Jerry rewarded Barber with a hefty contract that far exceeded on-field merits. Marion Barber's current form is an over-paid backup who no longer possesses the ability to make a defender miss.
Journeymen running backs can be found at bargain basement prices and often run with the drive of a player that still has the hunger for their first big payday. The idea of having an honorary starter at running back is a ridiculous concept for any NFL team, and yet, for whatever reason, Barber trots out for Dallas' first drive each week, runs for two yards at a time, and is replaced in favor of Felix Jones. Only dysfunctional teams entertain this type of arrangement.
Step 5: Begin Transition to a 4-3 Scheme
Wade Phillips and his 3-4 expertise are gone. Apparently, 3-4 gurus and personnel are difficult to find. The outside linebackers in the Cowboys scheme become liabilities in pass coverage. The pass rushers need to be utilized as pass rushers and run stoppers, not drifters in open space.
A deep, cohesive 4-3 defensive unit can be staffed with much less trouble than trying to find freakish 3-4 type linebacking talent. Dallas has spent the past few draft classes searching for 3-4 linebackers with regrettable results. Super Bowls can be won without a 3-4 scheme.
Step 6: Trade DeMarcus Ware
This might seem completely asinine with Ware again among the league leaders in sacks, but now is the "sell high" moment for Ware's stock. This is the best that Ware will be: a stat-producing, sack machine.
The sobering fact is that he is not the game-changing destructive force Dallas needs. Dallas needs a vocal, on-field leader on the defensive side that will lead/inspire his teammates and reprimand them when needed. DeMarcus Ware shaking his head in silence as his defense implodes provides all the justification for trading his sack numbers for at least a first-round pick.