Will the Cowboys Draft on Jerry Time or Jason Time?

And so, we don’t have time to have a bad time with the Dallas Cowboys. We need to hit the ground running next year. This has been too much of a disappointment this year.

Jerry Jones, December 25, 2010

The owner still smarts over his lost season and the Super Bowl seating mess, but facts are facts. His club, with his hand-picked coaches and his players, went 6-10. Jerry may not ”have time for a bad time,” but is his team really constructed for a quick and lasting revival?
NFL orthodoxy holds that when you rebuild a broken club, you fill certain foundational roles first. You get your quarterback. You get a dominant pass rusher or two. You get a money offensive tackle or two. You find a top cornerback, though in today’s NFL you may need two or even three.
The Cowboys don’t measure up in these categories. They have the elite rusher in Demarcus Ware. They have a solid quartetback, but Tony Romo is 31 and coming off a broken collarbone. He’s closer to the end of his career than the beginning. Dallas has tackle Doug Free, but little else to protect Romo. The Cowboys corners offer all questions and no answers.
Jerry Time doesn’t agree with this base. Nor might it agree with Jason Garrett’s timetable. Garrett enters year one of his regime, one he no doubt hopes will follow a Jeff Fisher or Andy Reid or Tom Landry-like path. As Garrett scans his roster, which foundation position players can he count on for the first five years of his plan? I count Ware and Free.
Successful new coaches quickly locate the quarterback to raise their program. Jimmy Johnson made Troy Aikman his first overall pick and the two grew into champions together. Reid selected Donovan McNabb 3rd overall in his first year as Eagles coach and they dominated the NFC East for a decade.
The quarterbacks don’t always have to come from the top five. Bill Walsh picked Joe Montana in the 3rd round of his first draft and gave Joe Cool just one start in their 2-14 inaugural campaign. Montana became the starter halfway through their 2nd season together and the following year the 49ers were champs.
Smart coaches have a plan, and all the early PR on Garrett praises his leadership and organizational skills. Does he also have a quarterback, his quarterback, picked out? I wonder because Andy Dalton’s name lies quietly among all the offensive tackles, cornerbacks and defensive ends on Dallas’ visit list. The Cowboys have worked out Dalton and like him.
They may not get the chance to pick him, as he’s part of a second group of signal callers, with Ryan Mallett, Jake Locker and Christian Ponder, who are now expected to be picked in the very late 1st and early 2nd round. Sports Illustrated’s Peter King reported this week that teams with elite, older quarterbacks, the Saints, Patriots and Colts, are studying Dalton. If Dalton slides to pick 40, I would not be shocked if the Cowboys draft opened like this:
1. Patrick Peterson, 2. Andy Dalton
1. Tyron Smith, 2. Andy Dalton
Either option would give the Cowboys two key futures players, who could be long-term solutions at foundational positions.
More important for the fans, both openings put the Cowboys on Jason Garrett Time, and offer the hope that a real long-term plan is being implemented to replace the hurly-burly and disappointment of Jerry Time.
Rafael Vela

Rafael Vela

Senior Analyst Cowboys Nation.com at Sports Talk Line
Started covering Dallas Cowboys @ TheBoys.com in '95 and '96. Two more stops along the way and here I am. Senior Analyst for SportsTalkLine.com
Rafael Vela

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  • AustonianAggie

    His career arc reminds me of Alex Smith but he’s coming a bit cheaper. I have no idea what made Alex Smith a #1 pick. He’d of had a better career but less money if he got drafted around where Dalton is expected to go

  • I just have a feeling that this draft will play out on Jerry’s terms..to quote Metallica’s “Eye of the beholder”..”You can do it your own way…if it’s done just how I say..” I keep going back to the Jujo,k.Jones,S.jackson draft ..when McFadden came out…and when the word of Jerry trying to jump up to get Calvin Johnson…the 2009 draft…Jerry’s statements on all these issues had the same words in them “cost,value, and talent” he wouldn’t jump for DMC or calvin cause of the cost…he always talks about high draft picks with cost and talent…word was they had all 3 RB’s about equal in their grades and he loved the value of paying less and picking up the #1 in the next years draft….he stayed put and lost out on Unger..but hopped up to get Dez..

    Saying all of this..I believe that Jerry’s said to JG,RR and Stephen, that if a real top blue chip talent is there at 9 we’re gonna pick him, if not we trade down and get the bpa at that pick outta OL or a D player…

  • cowboyny

    Thoughts of the day:

    -Happy Easter/Passover to all!

    -Outside of Peterson, who we know the team loves, which other top prospect could effect which player they take, with no trade up has been made? Dareus, Miller, Farley?, Quinn? It would be interesting to see what the teams does if either Fairley or Quinn are available, even both. There was a report that the team didn’t like Fairley, but maybe this was done of purpose. As for Quinn the team brought him in for a recent visit, but the word up in the Boston area believes Quinn is the only player the Patriots are willing to move up for.

    -I really like those late 2nd round prospects: Ellis, Foster, Wiz, Rackley-how can the team get more than 1 on this list?

    -I still believe Tyron Smith is the favorite of the team’s first rd selection, at pick #9. Alot of things have to break their way to land Peterson. I wouldn’t rule out the team moving back if one of those 2 teams in NE or SD offers multiple picks to jump into the top 10. Remember, both teams have 2 selctions in both the 2nd & 3rd rounds, where NE even has 2 first rd selections.

    Just a few more days, maybe we can finally get a good night of sleep after next weekend!

  • Mazmar

    What is it that Jason keeps showing us? He would like to run the Cowboys as they were run under Jimmy Johnson and a few other tough coaches… During those times with the Cowboys, he saw first hand (Practice and Games) what a mauling type of Offensive line can do! I believe that he will want to instill that same line mentality and bring in some maulers that also have a mean streak… I seriously doubt that Jason would want a “Finesse” type of blocker as in Tyron Smith… 280 pounds? sure he bulked up to 310, but during the rigors of training camp and the season, he will lose some of that weight… Give me a mean Son of a Gun in Carimi and bring back the days when Dallas´OL was like the Great Wall of China!

  • cowboyny

    This is an interesting topic that hasn’t come up at all in this offseason. Before we even discuss if it makes sense to take a future starting QB in this year’s draft, we need to answer a few questions about Stephen McGee:

    -Who put the wheels in motion when he was drafted by the Team? Was this strictly a Jerry Jones move, due to what happened with Brad Johnson? Remember, there was rumblings in that preseason that the team was concerned with Johnson’s performance in training camp, where reportedly Garrett told the front office, he was still comfortable with Johnson as the team’s #2 QB. This is definitely a Jerry pick to avoid the same situation from happening again.

    -Has Stephen McGee shown enough in two seasons to consider him as a future starting QB on the NFL Level? I would say no, probally more of a solid #2 QB for the future. He showed improvement and proved to be a great competitor, but he also barely survived the team’s final 53 man roster last season. With a very good performance in the team’s final preseason game, he saved his spot on the active 53 man roster.

    The successful franchises release or trade away their veterans players a year early, rather than a year late, before their play drastically falls off and their value plumments. To be in position to accomplish this, there must be a fully developed starter waiting in the wings. Taking a QB high in a draft, when a quality franchise QB already is in place will receive a negative repsonse from the fan base, especially for a team like the Dallas Cowboys. Like the Yankees, the Cowboys are always in the Super Bowl or bust menaltity. This type of move would be totally against the grain, but is the smart move to make. How many years did it take the team to find a quality QB after Aikman retired? I do not know the exact number, but it was over a decade. I wouldn’t force a QB in the draft, but if the board shakes out where a QB is the highest rated player left on the board, you take him.

    • fivetwos

      It’s always a year too late with the veterans on this team.

      Part of that is Jerry is loyal to a fault.

      The other is there’s rarely a young player waiting in the wings since most of the draft picks are projects and reaches that don’t pan out.

  • ChiaCrack

    I agree Raf, drafting the next QB would be a smart move
    McGee is not going to be anything special at all, I think he will be out of the league soon he is tooooo slow and checks it down every time

    we draft a guy like Dalton who is really smart and has a decent arm, he could be a good NFL QB especially in a system he knows and understands because he sat on the bench and learned

    dont sleep on Greg McElroy either, we could groom him into a good QB but as of right now we dont have the next big time thing at QB
    remember what happened when we didnt prepare for Aikman? It took us 8 years to find a QB

    Im all for drafting a young TALENTED QB and grooming him as the next franchise QB

    • ChiaCrack

      when I say slow about McGee im talking about his brain
      he reacts slowly he doesnt take any chances what so ever
      he sits in the pocket sits sits sits then scrambles and throws a check down
      not a NFL QB
      he is scared and slow, he might have a slow brain

      • iowacowboy

        They need a sign on McGee’s locker: Slow QB At Play. I don’t like McGee at all and think this is one of those Jerry moves where he has to prove to the whole world how smart he is compared to everyone else.

  • LT

    I’d be OK with trading up for Peterson, but I’d rather them trade back in the 2nd for Wisniewski and pick up a late third or early fourth. Wisniewski is probably a starter at some point in his rookie season while Dalton or any other second round QB is going to sit for a few seasons. Give Mcgee one more year, and if he’s not the answer, take a QB next year in what looks to be a stronger class.

    • iowacowboy

      Would love to have Wisniewski . . . let Gurode compete at guard.

  • Pjohn56

    I have some doubts on Andy Dalton. I think he was a product of his system, where the running game and the read option QB play made for some nice open looks. I’ve seen him get completely confused by some protections and get that deer in the deadlights, 1,000 yard stare look.

    Personally, I like FSU’s QB, Christian Ponder, as the biggest threat to outperform his draft stock. Colin Kaepernick may shock everyone and actually become something in 2-3 years as well.

    • Dallas962

      i was a fan of picking kaepernick when he was a 4th to 6th rd projection. no college qb is a lock 2 b good and mcgee has shown something was a goal line fumble from being 2/0

  • greatwhitenorth

    This is the first explanation I’ve heard anywhere that Patrick Peterson would be part of anything other than “Jerry being Jerry.” Most assumptions, including my own, are that if Garrett is really in charge we’ll see OL in round 1 and likely another in round 2. I’m still inclined in that direction, but Jason Garrett Time is the best argument yet against trading down to 17-18 for Carimi or for taking an older player in Watkins.

    I’m skeptical of the Cowboys interest in Dalton, however. I think they brought him in when they thought they could get him in round 3 or 4, before all the speculation that he could be a first-round pick. I think that Jones and Garrett both see Romo as the foundational QB, age regardless, giving them an opportunity to win for the next five years. I would be shocked if Dalton or any true replacement QB is picked.

    • Rafael Vela

      I guess the question is how much they like him? Dallas with Romo likely won’t give them a chance to pick QBs high. They might need to get lucky with the next Aaron Rodgers or pull a Kevin Kolb and take a guy somewhere in the 2nd.

      • greatwhitenorth

        Yeah, and it really depends on the draft, too. This year it looks like the value at QB is in the 25-30 range, where most teams already have their QB, and where the Cowboys hopefully would be for the next five years with Romo. With the holes in the OL and DL, and with the supposed value around #40 being those two positions, I’d be disappointed if they chose to make this year to get a Romo successor. I gotta think that sometime in the next five years they’ll be in position to draft another QB they really like.

        That said, the QB-less years between Aikman and Romo really sucked, so I wouldn’t complain too much if they get another franchise QB in the pipeline.

    • cowboyny

      I heard a report that confirms you’re thought process. That the team really likes Dalton, but he will go much higher than they originally thought, which will make him less likely to be drafted by the team. Now if he is on the board at pick #40, I would be surprised, but not shocked by the selection. I know the team also likes the Bama QB-McElroy, father used to work with the Cowboys in some capacity. He would be more likely to be drafted by the team.

      • greatwhitenorth

        McElroy = Jason Garrett, Jr. He’s practically destined to be a Cowboy, either now or in 4 years as a QB coach…

  • Tex

    Pear shaped, distractible, slippery fingered, over the hill, soft, undrafted…. It’s the Quarterback stupid! Tex 4 Dalton. Ship Kitna to the Bears for a pick and use high round currency on the most important position in all of sports.

    • greatwhitenorth

      Thanks for the laugh, Tex. Your anti-Romo schtick is almost as funny as the thought that any team would actually trade a pick for a 39-year-old QB…

    • MadMick

      Eh, the Bears gave up two 1’s for sugartits and besides their O-line blows worse than the Cowboys. But I’d love to hear why you figure they’d trade for Kitna.

      • Dallas962

        Harper was a first round pick if he was picked 2 spot later than he was he would b the 14 overall pick and he never even had a 830 yard season. If Bryant was picked 2 spots lower he would have been a third round pick. Bryant was a steal, Harper was a bust that played for three teams one less than Bryant. Harper also played for the redskins unforgivable. He is the Benidic Arnold of football .Nothing but a traitor.

        • MadMick

          If Harper was a bust based on what you expect the career of a no. 12 overall pick to be, then that same (1991) draft’s no. 1 overall pick Russell Maryland was an even bigger bust for where he was picked; one Pro Bowl and 14.5 sacks in five seasons as a Cowboy. Hell, how the Cowboys even managed to win all those titles with two colossal busts like Maryland and Harper starting games I’ll never know. Did either of those guys ever make a single big game-changing play for the Cowboys? All they really got out of the ’90 draft was Emmitt as Raf pointed out in an article last week; maybe Jimmy doesn’t get nearly enough credit for all those Jerry handpicked busts he coached up real well. Right? (Half of that is sarcasm by the way but I suspect you probably don’t even know what that fancy sounding word means.)

          Traitor? Well, if Harper is Benedict Arnold then I guess that makes Ken Norton Judas because he left to play for the archrival 49ers after a relatively brief six seasons as a Cowboy. And entering a season where the Cowboys were going for an unprecedented third straight Super Bowl. No doubt Ken Norton will be part of a very special locker room in hell for his sins against America’s Team.

          Oh yeah, the aforementioned Maryland; only played five years for the Cowboys after being the no. 1 overall pick by them before making the big cash grab with the Raiders. Kind of makes you feel dirty rooting for all these greedy turncoat mercenary type of guys, doesn’t it? Oh, I know, let’s root for the constant; old man Skeletor and his one playoff win in a decade and a half. And handsome mans like Antonio that could’ve potentially played football real well for the Cowboys for ever and ever if only that mean old poopyhead Parcells didn’t run handsome mans out of town for no good reason at all. Let’s martyr Antonio because he’s such a handsome football playing mans who played real good that one year for that guh-reat 9-7 Bucs team. Oh yeah, Woy Williams career year is just as good as Bryant’s; I guess according to you the trade Jerry made for him was a steal, too.

          But getting back to Maryland and Harper who indeed had ordinary to forgettable careers overall neither of these guys were busts for the Cowboys because they played their roles well on multiple Super Bowl Champion teams. Antonio Bryant, by contrast, is an idiot who started 20 games for the Cowboys before his constant tantrums got him traded. If you want to make some bigger point about how it was mean old Bill Parcells that unfairly ran him out of town, make it or drop the subject. A guy who starts 20 games for you is a wasted 2nd round pick unless you trade him for equal value; the Cowboys got crackerjack for Bryant.

          (Ronald McDonald is an awful sock puppet, by the way.)

      • Tex

        Bears need a backup QB in the worst way – if the Cowboys aren’t going to let Jon compete in an open competition; which he’d probably win, then waste another season with Romo while developing the heir apparent + McGee

        • Dallas962

          kitna would only win a competition n never never land, kitna best yr ever is not as good as romos worst

    • Dallas962


  • Rafael Vela

    You’re probably seen the Dalton story this week (In SI?) where an NFL coach wonders out loud if a redhead quarterback ”has ever done well” in the NFL?

    How quickly they forget Sonny Jurgensen. Good thing the Pro Football Hall of Fame hasn’t.

    • Riktooth

      I must have missed that one, but…what a ridiculous thing to say, even had it been true.

      If I could demonstrate that no Sagittarius has ever been a successful QB, would any personnel man worth his salary actually avoid drafting a QB because he was a Sagittarius?

      It’s some special sort of idiocy when it’s both false *and* wrong-headed.

      • Rafael Vela

        The ignorance floors me. Even if you discussed it internally, would you tell a major member of the press? Utter lack of self-awareness. This recalls the period at the opening of Moneyball, where baseball players are valued on how they ”look.”

  • Gbland11

    i sure don’t know alot about all these quarterbacks, but I wouldn’t have a problem with them picking one up

  • greatwhitenorth

    I make the safest prediction of the entire draft season: Tex will love this article and include the words “pear-shaped” in his comment.

    • Rafael Vela

      Yeah, you want to set the over under on the time for his comment?

      • Jarhead

        daaaaaammmmmnnn, greatwhitenorth beat me to it.

    • TL fan

      Make fun of Tex all you want, but his philosophy of taking a QB, even if it is a reach, it certainly coming is true in THIS DRAFT. Looks like every single Top 8 QB will be drafted before the ‘experts’ such as WB have them graded. That means 8 teams have bought in to the Tex theory on drafting QBs.

      If JG does see something in Dalton, I would have no problems at all drafting him and shipping off Romo sometime during this season. This team is hardly one or two players away from a SB run, and in Big D, that is all that matters.

      And on that note, it still boggles my mind that some of you short-sided JAs (this comment is not directed at you GW) were actually rooting for Dallas to beat Philly in our season finale. The Eagles were using backups; we played our stars. Would have been nice to see some of our own backups perform in game-day situations, such as Sam Young.

      That completely meaningless win has now cost us probably Nick Fairley and maybe Patrick Peterson.

      • Rafael Vela

        You make it sound like the rooting for Dallas to win the finale made it so. That’s quite a bit of power those JA’s have.

        • Rafael Vela

          I do see your point, though. Picking 6th would put Dallas in real good position to get Peterson.

        • TL fan

          Raf, actually there is one JA that might have had that power.

          His puss graces the top of this story.

          Assuming he was already sold on JG, he should have taken the pressure off him to win games.

          One thing I am hoping JG takes for Jimmy Johnson and not Wade, is the desire to churn the bottom of the roster. And you can only effectively churn that roster during the season (I’m talking a season with zero play-off aspirations, such as last year) by actually allowing the players to PLAY.

      • OskieOskie

        You. Play. To. Win. The. Game.

        Garrett was playing his third-string QB. Was he supposed to just forfeit the game? Tell his guys not to play for a win? What exactly should he have done for the loss?

        • fivetwos

          No, but getting Sam Young some game experience wouldn’t have hurt.

        • TL fan

          In. Dallas. You. Play. To. Win. Super. Bowls.

          Once we lost any chance of making the play-offs, you give your subs a chance to see if they are worthy of keeping or getting significant more playing time in the NEXT SEASON, which should now be your focus.

          You start players like Sam Young, Marty B, Victor Butler, Bryan McCann and Josh Brent to name a few. McGee starts weeks earlier.

          Exactly what point is served seeing DWare create that game-changing TD against Philly. I would much rather see what his back-ups can do under fire.

          But you go ahead with your Play to Win rant…wonder how you will feel if SF is sitting on the clock with Peterson still on the board.

          • Bojo

            So say you have a team you can pretty much garuntee isn’t going to the SB. You would advocate throwing every game going 0-16 to get the first pick… And say that may or may not do it… How many years would you throw every game in order to stock up draft talent? You would subject your fan base to years of 0-16?

      • Dallas962

        Did Dez play? Did Romo play? Did Kitna play? The eagles starters not playing was not all by choice Vick and Desean were injured other were very banged up. What r the chances the cowboys win it all this year? Almost 0. Should they lose every game 4 a draft pick? NO!!!

        • TL fan

          If you truly believe that Dallas has almost ZERO chance of playing in a SB this year, then ask yourself this question.

          Should Keith Brookings be on your roster.

          You play him, and all you are doing is taking away snaps from someone who just MIGHT be his replacement. If this said person IS NOT his replacement, better to find out next year than wait longer because Brookings is on your team.

          • Dallas965

            keith brooking no s is a pros pro yes he should b on your roster should b a line backer coach n 2 to 3 yrs a great guy 2 learn from

      • iowacowboy

        Would not want Nick Fairley anyway.

  • fivetwos

    This is an 11-5 team if 2-3 key pieces added.

    It’s a 5-11 team if those pieces are not added.

    Draft a CB and a QB in the first two rounds this year we’re looking at the latter.

    The window is not closed yet on this group.

    • rabblerousr

      Not closed yet–but it will almost certainly close before all the holes can be filled–and thus they will chase their tails in perpetual pursuit of 11-5, like all the other mediocre teams in the league.

      Or: they can have foresight and vision…and build a championship team.

      • fivetwos

        Disagree. There aren’t that many holes. You don’t need to be perfect to win in this league anyway.

        With a real coach, a fresh defensive scheme, a RT and a FS with half a clue the pieces are there to contend.

        Are you saying that the core of this team doesn’t have a few years left?

        How long do you think it will take to fill 2-3 holes?

        Probably longer than it should if by all that’s added by next Sat is a CB and a QB.

        This team is not one player away, but it also does not need to be blown up. A solid draft and a FA additon or two and it can contend for a handful of years.

        Besides, unless anyone thinks Romo has only a year or two left (which isn’t the case), now isn’t the time to be looking for his replacement. You don’t start grooming his replacement so far in advance that you have to hand him his second contract before you need him to play.

        Really guys? Romo’s replacement??? How about some people to keep the guy upright?

        • Kjd811

          I agree, QB’s are playing longer and Romo, if protected has 5 good years left. We need a starting OT and DE out of this draft. A Safety/Corner and ILB would also be nice. This team is not far away.

          • JimmyJohnsonSB

            You left out 2 starting Guards and 2 Starting Safeties.

          • fivetwos

            I’m talking about the difference between a perfect team on paper and one that needs to be blown up.

            You don’t need to have a stud and young backup at every position to have a chance to win.

            This team needs to add some pieces and take a run at it, not be thinking about Romo’s successor in the second round.

            Somehow I think my best pal Jerry agrees.

          • Dallas962

            kosier and davis can b at the least servicable guards. the oline played decent the second half of the season impoving run blocking a little and pass blocking a lot 23 of the sacks came n the first half of the season

          • Rafael Vela

            I like Romo. He’s 31. Let’s say he has three really good years left. Get a good QB now — and I think Stephen McGee’s just too slow to develop — and he can develop slowly, a rarity in today’s game.

            One reason Romo was so good right away was he got two and a half years of carrying a clipboard before he got a start. Aaron Rodgers watched for what, three, four years waiting on Favre? When he got in, he was ready.

            Too many teams rush guys and ruin them. If Garrett likes a guy, why not start the development, in the old school way?

          • fivetwos

            It’s time to invest some protection for the QB–Romo and/or whoever it’s going to be five years from now.

            Romo keeps himself in good shape and didn’t register any miles on the body until he was 26.

            The only reason that guy wouldn’t be our QB in the 2015 and 2016 seasons is the pounding he’ll take if this OLine isn’t addressed.

            Drafting Dalton at 40 would be about the dumbest thing I’ve seen from this team in a while….and that’s saying quite a bit.

          • Fretman

            Im totally on board with fivetwos. How the hell did Dalton go from being meh, to a high 2nd round pick?

          • Rafael Vela

            Having assets — plural — at the QB spot is never a dumb move in the NFL. Most valuable position in the game, demand always far exceeds supply. If Dalton is a player, you can get a bounty for him or Romo. It’s the same argument for taking Andrew Luck had he come out and Dalals flamed out under Garrett.

        • Dallas962

          they do not need a qb this year mcgee looked alright kitna looked great and romo looked like the 4th overall rated qb ever. they may not need 1 next year either

  • I would love a QB picked early. I know people don’t really feel like we *need* one right now, but damn I’d be ecstatic if we got Dalton in round two.

    I’m becoming more and more a proponent of the trade back scenario. I’d love to pick up two first rounders AND Dalton. Watt, Castonzo/Carimi, Dalton in the first two rounds would be a successful first two rounds for me.

    • Kevin

      I don’t see any way you’ll get those three unless you can trade future picks.