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2011 Dallas Cowboys Coaching Search: Can Jerry Jones Get It Right This Time?

Freddy Blair@supermansdadCorrespondent IJanuary 2, 2011

The Cowboys of the 90's were built by Jimmy Johnson's vision for success,and he refused to settle for less than he demanded.
The Cowboys of the 90's were built by Jimmy Johnson's vision for success,and he refused to settle for less than he demanded.George Rose/Getty Images

There are many fans, analysts, media outlets and others that routinely criticize the job that Jerry Jones has done with the Dallas Cowboys.

I personally think he's one of the finest owners in sports. I think his passion for the Dallas Cowboys is unrivaled, and I'm glad that he is the owner of the Dallas Cowboys. He has time and time again proved that he will spare no expense in finding the best talent that he can find to make the Dallas Cowboys a great team.   

The truth is, as many teams have found out repeatedly, that a great head coach is hard to find. Jerry has tried to bring in coaches like Bill Parcells and Wade Phillips, but neither could put together the total package of what it takes to return the Cowboys to greatness.   

This time around, it was the immaturity and inexperience of his offensive coordinator that failed this team. In 2010, the offense was a no-show from the beginning. And to make matters worse, they repeatedly gave the ball to opposing teams in the Cowboys' own territory in games that the Cowboys were losing by seven points or less.

However, the points scored off of those turnovers and repeated three and outs by the offense began to add up. It completely hid the fact that the Cowboys defense was actually ranked as the No. 1 defense after the first five games of 2010, only to find themselves on the short end of a 1-4 record. Tony Romo got hurt, frustration set in and the finger-pointing began.

When Wade Phillips got fired, Jason Garrett was the newly appointed interim head coach. And he almost pulled it off, too.

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But soon, the trademark turnovers and pass-happy offense returned in the games that the Cowboys once again were losing by three points or less.

Against Arizona, the Cowboys offense under Jason Garrett came full circle, throwing two pick-sixes in the first quarter and giving the Cardinals 14 points in a game that the Cowboys lost by one point.  

And, once again, somehow the media is crucifying the defense rather than Garrett and his offensive coordination. But he's not the man for this job.

I'm not saying that Jason Garrett can't be a decent coach some day. I am saying that he doesn't get it yet. Garrett has not shown the instincts and discipline within himself to maintain control of the most prolific offensive group in the history of the Dallas Cowboys, and his pass-happy ways were the fatal flaw that kept this team from returning to glory.

Roy Williams, the Cowboys receiver, recently made a statement that I think sums up the Cowboys offense under Jason Garrett. He said, "Coordinators can make who they want to make a star." It was a sad, but telling example of what philosophies were likely being followed under Garrett.

A coordinator's job is not to call plays based on whether it makes him look clever, or whether it makes one player or another into a star. A coordinator should be calling plays that sequentially put his offense in position to take over the line of scrimmage from an opponent, and bring victory to his team. Anything different is a telling example of why the Cowboys are 5-10 at this point in the 2010 season.

For each of the past four years, it was the offense that was a no-show in a series of embarrassing performances by the offense in games that ended their season, and cost them games during those seasons that should have been won. The season-ending debacles in each of the previous three years in which the offense never showed up should have been fair warning that something was wrong.

So now, the Cowboys find themselves contemplating their draft pick in next year's draft, the lone consolation of a dismal and disappointing season. But until the coaching vacancy is filled by someone that can manage and develop this team according to his vision for success, the draft pick is meaningless.

Jimmy Johnson is the man who many Cowboys fans still long for to return as the Cowboys head coach. He was never one to plead with his players to be "great." He demanded it, and would not tolerate anything less than performance at the level he required. Those that did not follow his demands were let go, and he would find someone who would.

If Jerry is to blame for letting Johnson walk, that may be another story. But, I don't think it is as cut and dry as fond memories would lead us to believe. You must remember that Jimmy Johnson had only previously experienced winning at a college level. He had long been accustomed to the process of building a winning team, only to have them leave after three or four years. Then the process would repeat.

Maintaining a winning attitude with the same group of players was something that even Johnson struggled with, and apathy seemed to be the biggest battle he fought with the '93 team in Dallas.

When Johnson left the Cowboys after the '93 Super Bowl win, he had already had this group of players one year longer than he was used to having a group. For those who think that Jerry Jones is the reason that Johnson left, they may not realize that Jimmy Johnson seemed eager to leave.  

When Johnson went to Miami and tried to duplicate his championship plan, he failed. Living in a new era of the salary cap and free agency may have been the real fatality to Johnson's coaching days rather than Jerry's attitude.

But since that time, the Cowboys have had only one coach who even resembled a real head coach, and that was Bill Parcells. Bill's ego, though, seemed to be the biggest part of his administration, as he often seemed afraid that any of his players would get more headlines than he did. Parcells was never going to lead the Cowboys to greatness, because it appeared that he felt that his mere presence was greatness enough.

Great coaches have one thing in common—they feel responsible if the team loses, and if the team wins they readily give credit to the players. It's not about a coach's ego, because a real coach understands that winning is not about showing his ability to direct flashy plays, but more about his players' ability to carry out his instructions to the letter.

A great coach may not have the best personality when it comes to the media. That coach must be a man with tunnel vision for greatness, and a stubbornness that will not accept less than perfection from his players. That must be accompanied with both the knowledge of how to win, as well as the ability to know his players and use them to their strengths to accomplish that end. He must understand that winning starts on the practice field, and how he prepares his team for success on a daily basis.

He must understand what it is that both his offense and his defense need to accomplish in order for the team to succeed in each game, and have an unflinching determination to see them achieve that.

It is this kind of greatness within one man—the kind that can provide the maturity, leadership and iron will that the Cowboys need in order to return them to greatness—that Jerry Jones must find before the 2011 season rolls around.

That's the bottom line.

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