Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo (9) scrambles against the Washington Redskins during the second half at FedEx Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Jerry Jones: ‘You don’t rebuild with Romo’

It’s easy to forget that even tough the Dallas Cowboys clearly benefited from being in the NFL’s worst division, they were still one game away from making the playoffs and may have even punched in a ticket had Tony Romo not suffered a severe back injury (that he somehow played and succeed through in the previous week, leading a terrific game-winning TD drive in the process). The Cowboys still have massive holes on defense and were unable to truly upgrade their team due to cap issues, but they do deserve credit for adding top-notch defensive tackle Henry Melton to replace (and actually upgrade) Jason Hatcher, who signed a lucrative deal with the Washington Redskins. They might only finish third in the division due to the gains the Philadelphia Eagles and New York Giants have made, but it’s not like the Cowboys need to blow things up, right?

Somebody asked Cowboys czar (he’s more than just a mere, mortal “owner”) Jerry Jones if the team should rebuild, and his response was unsurprisingly akin to saying “hogwash”. Per Cowboys beat writer Nick Eatman, “Not at all. You don’t rebuild with Romo. We didn’t bring Linehan in to rebuild.”

I agree with Jones, and I think the notion that you rebuild in the NFL is a false one. Unlike in the NBA when you need to blow up a team and start over, all you need to do to get better in the NFL is to retool. As we have seen, improvements and turn-arounds are caused by better, smarter leadership and decisions in the offseason. But if the Cowboys want to get better, then Jones will need to take a serious- not rehearsed and insincere- look at the man in the mirror and do a much better job of managing the cap and assessing his team’s offseason strategy- that goes for everyone else in the building.

The Cowboys have a big-money, franchise quarterback in Tony Romo who regularly puts the team on his back, and it’s time for the front office to hold up its end of the bargain by making better financial decisions and actually building a competent defense.

Tags: Dallas Cowboys Jerry Jones Tony Romo

  • SmartThinking

    Ask Belicek or either the Seattle or Denver or 49′s owners how often they re-build. They’ll quickly tell you, “every year.” Can’t understand why this logic escapes big Jones?

    • http://www.musketfire.com/ Joe Soriano

      It all depends on how you define “rebuild”. If you mean it in the same way that NBA teams will blow up their roster and tank in order to build from the ground-up, then it’s not something that happens in the NFL. I think if you ask those guys, they will tell you that they never rebuild; they simply re-tool. They are willing to trim off expensive players even if they are good, are always willing to make smart draft picks, and look for value free agent signings instead of throwing their money easily, and they are most importantly not willing to make their cap situation too top-heavy. That’s the logic that escapes Jones, because I do think he is correct in saying that rebuilding isn’t exactly what the Cowboys are doing. However, they need to trim off some more fat and try to undo their wrongs by taking the draft over spending a high amount of money on just a few players.

      • SmartThinking

        Basketball logic in the NFL isn’t applicable to the argument.

        Look to the way the leaders in the NFL run and staff their teams for the norm. Dallas’s history can easily be classified as operating against the norm. Big Jones will quickly tell you all decisions and final selections run through him. While the leading teams maintain a constant agenda of re-building every year, big Jones’ re-tools. That leads to constant chaos and a vertical learning curve … each and every year.

        When I posit the argument that big Jones misses the logic of re-building on an annual basis, all you have to look to is the past three seasons’ finishes, the constant scheme changes on both sides of the ball, the revolving door coaches move through and the lack of players achieving their expected potential for your answer.

        Re-tooling doesn’t come close to re-building annually. Re-tooling says you have faith in your system and you think tweaks can solve the problem. Re-building every year says you realize that to remain elite, everything must be re-evaluated and fixed on a regular schedule.

        This is a concept that flies directly over big Jones’ larger-than-normal head.

        • http://www.musketfire.com/ Joe Soriano

          Based on your second-to-last paragraph, I think we define “rebuild” vs. “re-tool” differently, but our views on the Cowboys organization and yearly roster evaluation are similar. And either way you spin it, it’s clear that Jones isn’t doing his job correctly, and maybe he needs to define rebuilding in your terms. For the Cowboys, it’s better to overhaul things than to barely tweak the system, especially given their cap situation that simply won’t get better without huge changes in mentality. I tend to look at “rebuilding” as more dealing with physical roster turnover, but the real rebuild in Dallas needs to be a major mental shift that is several years too late at this point.