Jerry Jones just made one of the biggest decisions in his time as the Dallas Cowboys owner. The man who controversially fired Tom Landry and unexpectedly parted ways with Jimmy Johnson had to find a replacement for Jason Garrett. After all, he had let Garrett be the head coach for a decade despite him failing to lead the Cowboys to an NFC Championship Game during his tenure.
That’s one of the biggest reasons – if not the biggest – why fans and media have often criticized the man at the very top. Jerry Jones has a lot of things to prove, specifically in the salary cap era, but some criticism is simply exaggerated and unfair.
The idea that Jerry has always wanted a “puppet” at head coach has always been thrown around by some in Cowboys Nation. These comments are often just a product of frustration from a fanbase that hasn’t seen any real success in more than two decades after being one of the most dominant franchises in sports history.
It’s one thing to say the Jones family should’ve moved on from the Garrett era earlier and another to say Jerry controlled the head coach’s decisions all the time he was in Dallas.
With a new head coach in town, that narrative hasn’t been looking true at all. Mike McCarthy has come into Dallas with a “clean house” mentality as plenty of coaches are not expected back with the Cowboys.
Departures from Rod Marinelli, Kris Richard and a handful of others will not be a surprise but a few names really stand out. Marc Colombo has been a successful coach for the Cowboys’ famous offensive line that just last year was among the best in the entire NFL. The difference was clear in 2018 when he was promoted to be the offensive line coach after firing Paul Alexander. Most notably, though, Colombo played six seasons with the Cowboys in the 2010’s.
But McCarthy still decided to let him go to bring in his guy. Joe Philbin and McCarthy have a long history of coaching together and with Philbin coaching the OL for most of his career since the 80’s, it’s hard to not like the move.
Sanjay Lal just had two 1,000-yard receivers in Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup and despite his unit being among the NFL leaders in drops, it’s not easy to criticize his job. Specially when you consider it was Lal who designed the Cowboys third-down plan as he led them to a 47% conversion rate, second best in the NFL per Jori Epstein.
Not even Gary Brown, who’s led Ezekiel Elliott to some pretty successful seasons since he got to the NFL has a spot guaranteed for him as the team is already interviewing other potential candidates.
In Mike McCarthy’s press conference, Jerry Jones said they wanted Mike to pick his own staff and so far, it’s clear that he wasn’t lying. Jones clearly has a lot to say on the team’s decisions, but to suggest he wants puppet head coaches has always been ridiculous.
Only this time, it’s become clear as the Cowboys continue to build Mike McCarthy’s staff the way he wants it. And that’s just what you want in a new era of football for your favorite team.