When those final seconds ticked off the clock at FedEx Field, the harsh reality was that the 2012 season had come to an end. All those goals and dreams were now replaced with the thoughts of what caused the team to be in the situation that they are currently in, out of the playoffs for the second straight season. In this business, you are always looking for answers and the minute that searching for those answers stops, you are in trouble. It was a season that started with so much promise in New York but ended with a thud in our nation’s capital and now the process to figure out why starts.
As an organization you have to be truthful with the evaluation of what was successful and what you can build from but you also have to take a look at the decisions you made where you failed. I spent six years of my life working for Jerry Jones in his personnel department and there are still times even today where I felt like we didn’t help him. This general manager is relying on his coaches and scouts to provide him the best possible information to make critical choices.
In listening to him speak on Wednesday, it is very clear that his frustration level is very high right now. I have experienced that level myself and rightfully so. It is truly a bottom line business and it always will be. As an owner he does make a huge investment in the product that is on the field but as the general manager he is also responsible for that roster which is a unique situation but to a fault he is too good of a listener. He wants to hear what people he trusts has to say before he makes a decision.
My experience in this organization was that after the season, the general manager, coaches and head of the scouting department would meet and discuss the roster from top to bottom. Several days were spent reviewing players and how not only they played during the season but where they fit into next year’s plans. I always found these meetings interesting because this is where I felt like we let the general manager down. We were a 5 -11 team for three straight seasons but listening to the staff talk in this meeting, I swore we were 11 – 5.
When you misevaluate your team, you have no shot, that is reality. There are players on this team that just didn’t play well enough and the general manager wants answers why. Jerry Jones is not foolish enough to believe that injuries didn’t rob his team of some opportunities to maybe win this division outright before they went to Washington that night but he also knows everyone in this league has injuries this time of the year.
As these next few days will be spent with the coaches submitting their written and verbal reports to the front office about these players and putting that part of the evaluation to bed. Jones will then focus on the other issues he has in his mind about fundamental questions or changes that he would like to see moving forward. These meetings are generally with Stephen Jones and Jason Garrett going deeper into questions about the staff and is his expectations being met with the current group.
There has been much rumor and speculation that the club was looking to hire an offensive coordinator such as a Norv Turner to come in a coordinate the offense. There has been an insistence by Garrett to continue to call the plays for this offense which is a thought that was shared by Jones but what he has seen throughout this season is there a now a change in that thinking? This is the meeting where Jones will have to get the majority of his questions answered. He will listen to the coaches about what they feel about the players but this meeting with Jason and Stephen will be the one that gives him the ideas that he has going forward because listening to him talk, there are fundamental questions that he has in his mind and as the general manager, it’s his responsibility to ask and if he doesn’t get the answers he likes, then you will see change, how big? That’s soon to be determined.
Jerry Jones did not sound like a man that was willing to just sit here and let things run its course and hope for the best. There has to be a clear plan and focus on what needs to be done because there are going to be some decisions that are going to have to be made about this roster and potentially this coaching staff. Jones spoke of an uncomfortable feeling for the next several months at Valley Ranch and to be honest, that is not a bad thing. There needs to be a focus and a purpose going forward here but there also needs to be a truthful evaluation of what the positive points are but more importantly what is not. The next couple of weeks will shape your plans going forward when the off season has begun.