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

The Province - - SPORTS - John Kryk’s look at hot top­ics in the NFL jokryk@post­ Twit­ter: @JohnKryk

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: 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.

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