Wednesday, January 2, 2013 Updated: January 3, 5:03 PM ET
Jerry Jones has right to be upset
By Calvin Watkins ESPNDallas.com
The owner and general manager of the Dallas Cowboys isn't happy.
What we heard Wednesday morning was a man who is tired of the same old story. Jerry Jones offered support for coach Jason Garrett and the long-term future of quarterback Tony Romo.
But he's not offering support for a lack of execution late in the season. He's not offering support for missing the playoffs again.
Nor should he. He has every right to be upset because what the Cowboys have shown him the past few years is unacceptable.
"I'm very upset; I'm very irritated," Jones said on KRLD-FM. "I really did think as we went into the last part of the season, I know we had injuries, but the teams we're playing had injuries. I know we could have put more on the field if we hadn't gotten those injuries."
Jones told former coach Wade Phillips to make changes after a 9-7 finish in 2008.
In 2009, the Cowboys went 11-5, made the postseason and won a playoff game. Since that time, the Cowboys haven't been above .500.
Jones sounded like a man who understands why the NFL wants parity, but is tired of it.
Jones referred to his franchise as having some of the largest payrolls in the NFL the past two seasons and winning just 16 total games. He doesn't want to do anything drastic, such as fire the coach or make a big trade, because he believes in Garrett's philosophies and the core of the roster.
"I can tell you change is necessary at 8-8," Jones said. "Change is in order when you spend the two seasons in a row down to the last two games and lose them, so we're going to have to have changes."
Jerry Jones is promising change after the Cowboys finished 8-8 and missed the playoffs again.
The owner of America's Team is irritated, frustrated and flustered. He seemed embarrassed to watch a rookie quarterback, Robert Griffin III, lead a team past Jones' and into the playoffs. He watches Seattle, with a rookie quarterback, Russell Wilson, play in January.
He watches Indianapolis lose a Hall of Fame quarterback, Peyton Manning, draft a rookie, Andrew Luck, lose its coach, Chuck Pagano, for an extended period and still make the playoffs.
Jones has a quarterback, Romo, whom he likes; an elite pass-rusher in DeMarcus Ware; a $50.1 million cornerback in Brandon Carr; two highly regarded draft picks in Tyron Smith and Morris Claiborne; and solid second-round picks, Sean Lee and Bruce Carter, who man the middle of the defense.
Jones has this but no recent playoff success.
"But how do we somehow create us an opportunity to kind of break out of this cycle -- drive across the water if you will?" Jones said. "That's the challenge that I have right now."
Injuries to the defense hampered Jones' team in 2012. It's a fact that you can't do the same things you once did when you're missing Lee and Carter to injuries. It's hard to defend the back end when one of the starting safeties, Barry Church, is out for the season and the other, Gerald Sensabaugh, is nicked with a bad hip. It's hard to get to the passer when you rush four or five on a regular basis because you don't want to allow big plays in the secondary. One of those pass-rushers, Ware, played with one arm the last weeks of the season.
Jones knows all these things about his team, but he doesn't have to like it. He approved the draft picks, the free-agent signings and the man in charge of fixing things.
The Cowboys have to draft better and build more depth in case of injuries to key starters.
Garrett admitted time is running out on him to end the playoff drought.
"Absolutely, there's no question about that, that's reality in this world, that's reality in this league," he said, adding, "That's the way it is. We're going to try and get it right today. We're working our asses off to do that."
Jones probably wants it done, like, yesterday.
Jones said he wants to know why the fundamental things, such as open-field tackling, are not being done on a consistent basis and why certain techniques are not being followed by the players.
We heard about right tackle Doug Free's techniques as part of his problems during the 2012 season, which led to Jermey Parnell sharing the starting spot with him the last four games of the year.
While Garrett said everyone is working their rears off to fix things, Jones is probably kicking some.
"I can assure our fans this, that it's going to be very uncomfortable from my standpoint, it's going to be very uncomfortable for the next few weeks and months at Valley Ranch," Jones said.