Jerry Jones not ready to move on
Dallas Cowboys owner still very embarrassed, but optimism is just beneath surface
INDIANAPOLIS -- Sitting in his suite at a downtown hotel on Friday, Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones talked about how he can't move on from the 2010 season.
Jones, the face of the franchise, said he was embarrassed about what happened last season. He had so many expectations. Jones dreamed of the Cowboys being the first NFL team to play in a Super Bowl at home.
Instead, he fired head coach Wade Phillips midseason -- something he didn't believe in -- as the Cowboys finished 6-10. Jones gave Jason Garrett eight games to prove himself, and the interim coach went 5-3, with three wins coming on the road.
I haven't. It's there. Again, it's very disappointing, and [I'm] embarrassed about it. I don't want any of our players and our staff to move on from it. It should be a real motivation for everyone involved in this organization. It's even more embarrassing when you're here and you're evaluating talent.” -- Cowboys owner Jerry Jones on
moving on after 2010 disappointment
It gave Jones hope, thanks to the Cowboys' current talent, that a rebuilding process is out of the question. He's ready to roll up his sleeves and try to move forward, but it's hard.
"I haven't. It's there. Again, it's very disappointing, and [I'm] embarrassed about it," said Jones, who's in Indianapolis for the NFL scouting combine. "I don't want any of our players and our staff to move on from it. It should be a real motivation for everyone involved in this organization. It's even more embarrassing when you're here and you're evaluating talent."
The day before, a relaxed Garrett stood inside Lucas Oil Stadium talking about how the Cowboys' offensive line didn't play up to standards and how the running game didn't do its job in the first half of the season. He seemed determined to fix the team's problems.
Garrett has assembled a nice coaching staff led by defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, who has promised that the defense will be better in 2011. Then there's wide receivers coach Jimmy Robinson, who is hands-on and demands perfection. Defensive line coach Brian Baker comes highly recommended.
Jones said Garrett isn't smug and has no reason to be despite the strong finish to the season. The only goal around Valley Ranch is to win Super Bowls. That hasn't happened in quite a while, and Jones continues to chase that dream. Along with the rest of the front office, he's put together one of his more talented clubs in years.
Outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware is considered one of the best at his position. Nose tackle Jay Ratliff plays bigger than his size on some Sundays. Jason Witten is one of the best tight ends in the game.
And with the ninth pick of the draft, Jones can add to his talent base.
"We do this year-round, but certainly it's a focal point right now at the combine," Jones said. "You get uniformly across the board an assessment where our talent is, and it's a good one."
The fact that Jones said he's still embarrassed tells you how determined he is to fix this mess. He knows the offensive line needs younger talent, and Jones wouldn't discount drafting a quality pass-rusher to help out Ware and ease the burden of possibly losing three defensive ends who are free agents.
And as he shares in the responsibility for what went wrong in Cowboys Stadium during Super Bowl XLV, he's also taking the lead to fixing things.
"The embarrassing feeling is dominant," Jones said. "There is nothing as far as looking ahead regarding what we can do that overshadows the disappointment that we had last year."
Calvin Watkins covers the Cowboys for ESPNDallas.com.