Friday, May 9, 2014

Passing on Johnny Manziel Was a Positive Moment For Jerry Jones, But Doesn’t Mean Culture Has Changed in Dallas

The post-selection depression was staggering.  Almost more so than the actual selection.

After falling into the Cowboys’ laps like everyone had dreamed but dared hardly hope, Jerry Jones up and pulled the rug out from under everyone’s feet, selecting offensive guard Zack Martin out of Notre Dame instead of the beloved quarterback Johnny Manziel.  As you can imagine, record-high ratings hit the floor in an instant as parties were canceled and frivolity rendered mute.

But as clearer heads prevail and full consciousness returns, the world is left wondering at Martin.  Or, rather Jerry.

What came over team owner Jerry Jones to convince him to take an offensive lineman when it was so obviously unexpected? 

A safety?  Yes. 

Defensive end?  Yes. 

Johnny Football?  Millions of anxious fans sure hoped so.

But offensive lineman?  Really?

It has been the favorite topic of discussion on this good Friday to discern whether or not Jerry in fact is turning over a new leaf in his duties.  In hindsight, the selection of Martin did address the one weakness of a surprisingly stable Cowboy offensive line from a year ago: guard.  Martin was the highest-rated player left on Dallas’ draft board and is every bit of a quality pick.

Does that in fact make Mr. Jones a quality General Manager of a sudden?

Let’s hold off on that declaration, at least for a few more days.  25 years and counting of mishaps is not erased merely by one surprisingly good draft-day brain wave.  Jerry might just as easily turn around and select another quarterback today, and bring about the Manziel discussion all over again.

It can not be said for certain at this juncture what the owner’s thought process was last night.  Was he out to get simply the best player because of value, or was it stubborn faith that his shell-shocked defense, healthy at this moment, would transform themselves come September with many of the same faces from a year ago?

As erratic as the Cowboys’ drafts have been the past twenty years, these are important questions that will be answered over the next two days.  Not that positive developments will make Jerry a hero, but will at least give his audience something relevant to pat him on the back for.
You can read more about the Dallas Cowboys and their struggle with recent drafts in Ryan Bush's new book about Jerry Jones and The Worst Decade in Dallas Cowboys' History, "Decade of Futility." Use the following link to purchase your copy today:https://www.createspace.com/4161551