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Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Decade of Futility - With Dallas Cowboys Defense Struggling, One Can Only Wonder What's Next For Jerry Jones

                                                                         Jerry Jones

Emboldened by another Week 17 belly-flop with a playoff berth on the line, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones proceeded to shake his defensive staff up a bit this past January to ensure his team's well being in 2013.  Jones believed last year's bunch was good enough to make a deep push into January, and was hard-pressed to figure out why they couldn't even get past a banged-up Redskins team on the final day of the regular season.
To admit that his Cowboys were probably the NFL's most injury-plagued team in December wouldn't cut ice with Cowboy Nation, so he thought.  At the end of the day nobody really cared if the Dallas defense was forced to mix and match 36 different players together.
To sit still and go into the off-season as if nothing had happened would, Jones felt, give the wrong impression to fans, and cast Jones as an owner who feels satisfied with mediocrity.

                                                                         Rob Ryan

To avoid such a personal catastrophe, Jones duly fired defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, citing poor coaching and a corruptible scheme as the reasons for the change.  Replacement Monte Kiffin, Jones promised, had the wisdom and the scheme to turn the Dallas defense around in a heartbeat...
...And here we are, five weeks into the 2013 season, and the Cowboys' defense is on pace to shatter nearly every record of inefficiency known to football man.
Yes, Dallas is sitting at exactly the same spot they were last season through five games (2-3), only minus a capable defense.
Sophomore cornerback Morris Claiborne claims that his persistent struggles are a product of Kiffin's heavy reliance on zone pass coverage.
Outside linebacker Bruce Carter was a superstar in the making under Ryan's tutelage, but now finds himself on the bench due to poor performance.
Like last season, pass rusher extraordinaire Demarcus Ware is suffering from several ailments, and is limping around on the field.
And the team just released veteran safety Will Allen on Tuesday.  Allen was slotted to be a starter in training camp, but never felt comfortable in Kiffin's Tampa 2 scheme.
In short, the same Dallas defense that Jones praised during training camp is now a unit on broken crutches, seemingly getting worse with each and every game.
 Go figure.
Jerry, for the record, has said that he's going to cut Kiffin and staff a little slack.  For now, anyway.
But what will Jones do if Drew Brees and Eli Manning post over 400 yards through the air come November?  Will he fly off the couch and start all over again on defense this off-season?  Or will he dismiss the 73-year old Kiffin over the Thanksgiving holiday and hand the playbook over to line coach Rod Marinelli?
Specifics are hard to decipher at this date, but it's safe to bet that change will be forthcoming.  Since this seems to be a do-or-die year for head coach Jason Garrett, then it will probably be sweeping change.
It would be against Jones' nature to allow players and coaches to work through it while accumulating more talent next off-season.  Just ask Rob Ryan.
Persistence is one thing. Continuity is another. Too often, Jerry Jones finds himself torn between the two, forgetting that a football franchise benefits from a healthy helping of each.