Ex-Cowboys QB Aikman bang-on about Jerry Jones and the need for change in Big D ... Coach Cooter feeling the heat in Detroit ... Dolphins pay for cheating the system
News and views from around the NFL, with Week 10 under way:
1. Hall of Fame ex-Dallas QB and FOX analyst Troy Aikman slams how his old team is being run.
NEWS: The day after Dallas got clobbered at home Monday night by a 3-4 Tennessee team, Aikman, who led the Cowboys to three Super Bowl championships in the 1990s, the first two under head coach Jimmy Johnson, only a few years after Jerry Jones bought the club, said the following on a Dallas radio station:
“Go through the list (of coaches), and this team, over a long period of time, has been what it’s been. It hasn’t always mattered who the head coach has been … I’d say there has to be a complete overhaul of the entire organization. You just can’t simply replace head coaches and say, ‘Now it’s going to be better.’ No, it’s been shown that it’s not better. And you have to address how everything is being done.”
VIEW: Wow. Aikman’s bangon criticism had most Cowboys fans down in Texas no doubt drawlin’: “It’s ’bout damn time!”
Jason Garrett has been head coach of the Cowboys for exactly eight years — since Week 10 of 2010. His record? 70-58 (.547), with only three winning seasons and one playoff victory. Alas, it’s but a continuation of an unwavering trend in the Jones-withoutJohnson era of Cowboys football.
Aikman is right.
Garrett is the club’s sixth head coach since Jones fired Johnson after the 1992-93 championship seasons. The first, Barry Switzer, won at a .625 clip over four years and won a Super Bowl with Johnson’s carryover, starpacked roster in 1995. Switzer’s four successors before Garrett, combined, went 101-99 (.505) and won one playoff game from 1998-2010.
The two principal constants? Owner Jerry Jones, and GM Jerry Jones. Either he does not possess self-awareness, or does but remains in stubborn denial that he’s the whole problem.
A good friend who has been a close observer of the Cowboys since the ’70s is convinced the source of Jones’ continuing failures is that he convinces himself his hand-picked roster is so good it’s always just one or two impactful players away from winning a Super Bowl. When, in reality, it’s always much farther away.
This is why Jones keeps making these trade-away-thefuture swaps, or cap-strapping free-agent signings. He just did it again.
Wouldn’t you love to know what went through Jones’ mind Monday night, after newly acquired WR Amari Cooper
— for whom he overpaid by giving Oakland a first-round draft pick — caught a few nice passes, including the Cowboys’ first touchdown, only to see his team get thumped 28-14 by the visiting Titans, a team that hadn’t scored more than 20 points in regulation all season?
Cooper makes Dallas better. But minimally. Only three teams in the NFC have a worse record than the 3-5 Cowboys, who can’t see the Super Bowl with a telescope.
But then, even if Jones accepted that he should grudgingly delegate all management of the football operation, this probably would stop him: The idea that what if his successor succeeded? Then everyone, not just some, would conclude that he was the biggest problem all along in Big D.
Thus, don’t expect anything to change.
2. Matt Patricia fires his inherited special teams coordinator.
NEWS: The Detroit Lions head coach, eight games into his first season as an NFL head coach, this week fired Joe Marciano, the club’s top special-teams assistant since 2015. Detroit’s coverage teams have been dreadful, the Lions rank last in punting and only three clubs’ special teams overall have been penalized more than Detroit’s.
VIEW: The Lions’ last remaining holdover coordinator from the Jim Caldwell regime, Jim Bob Cooter on offence, can’t be feeling especially secure. If Patricia fired Marciano so soon, when Lions fans are more upset by far with the performance of the offence, then imagine the pressure on Cooter to get his offence fixed, fast.
One week Cooter chooses not to run it much and the offence is stagnant. The next week QB Matthew Stafford has no time to throw. The next week everything clicks impressively. No consistency, no identity.
The Lions are 3-5. Hard to see Cooter returning for 2019 unless his offence catches fire.
3. NFL fines Miami and its head coach for key injury-list omission.
NEWS: SI.com reported this week that the league fined the Dolphins $30,000 and head coach Adam Gase $15,000 for inaccurately reporting to the NFL in Week 6 that quarterback Ryan Tannehill was a full participant in Thursday’s practice that week, when in fact he missed some firstteam snaps. The team listed Tannehill as a full practice participant on the Wednesday and as limited only on Friday, before categorizing the QB as questionable (rather than doubtful or out) for that week’s game against the Chicago Bears.
Brock Osweiler wound up being announced as Miami’s emergency QB starter shortly before game time, and has started ever since.
VIEW: What provides a bigger competitive advantage — when imperceptible amounts of air are removed from your quarterback’s footballs (and naturally so, by the colder outdoor temperature, not surreptitiously by equipment staff), or when you deliberately attempt to hide from this week’s opponent the true nature of your starting quarterback’s injury, an injury so debilitating it winds up sidelining him for weeks?
In the NFL’s eyes, it’s the former.
The league in 2015 not only fined the New England Patriots $1 million for Deflategate (33 times more than the Dolphins’ injury-list fine) but also docked New England its 2016 firstround and 2017 fourth-round draft picks, and of course suspended QB Tom Brady for four games “for conduct detrimental to the integrity of the NFL.”
Look, everyone knows the league’s injury reports are about as accurate on the whole as the readjusted halftime air-pressure readings of
Brady’s footballs taken on that infamous night in January 2015, which readings — thanks only to post-factum junk science — magically, and conveniently for Sheriff Roger, made the second of two gauge’s measurements go from compliant to noncompliant on 8 of 11 New England footballs.
Jerry Jones has come under fire from former Cowboys legend Troy Aikman (right) for mismanaging the team for years.