MOBILE, Ala. – In one of his first media sessions since the end of the 2017 season, Cowboys owner/GM Jerry Jones stopped by to chat with reporters during a Senior Bowl practice in Mobile.
As expected, he was asked to address a plethora of questions, including the uncertainty of the coaching staff, Dez Bryant's future, the health status of key players, and even seeing a division rival such as the Eagles advance to the Super Bowl.
Here are some highlights from Jerry Jones meeting with the media on Tuesday:
- Unlike many members of Cowboys Nation who are having a hard time stomaching the Eagles making it to the Super Bowl, Jones said he was impressed with Philly's ability to win despite the injuries they sustained, including their starting quarterback Carson Wentz. "I'm impressed to understand the challenge it is to adjust and come up with a different way to use different personnel and win the games," Jones said. "They did it and it's worthy of recognition. I don't want to get into favorites, but I'm really proud that we have an NFC East team in there. That does make the difference. We've played them twice and know what kind of defense they've got. I wish them well."
- When asked how large the gap between the Cowboys and Eagles is, Jones simplified the statement. "I wouldn't quantify how big the gap is," Jones said. "I'll say this: They were a better team this year than we are. I'd like to be where they are."
- While Jerry didn't get specific in announcing all of the coaching moves, he did say there would be "eight coaching changes" when it's all wrapped up, something he expects to be completed by the end of this week. He did point out the offensive moves and hopes to be more "Dak-Friendly" with a chance to "expand the playbook."
- Dak Prescott will have a new quarterbacks coach, but it's not likely to be a new face. Jones said Kellen Moore will be on the staff and it's widely expected that he'll be the quarterbacks coach to replace Wade Wilson. "I don't want to get ahead of an overall announcement, but I'm glad that we're going to have Kellen with us in the future," Jones said. "We'll get down tot het specifics about it. But we have completed an agreement with Kellen."
- Jones confirmed that both Gary Brown (running backs) and Greg Jackson (safeties) will be back in 2018. Jackson will work alongside Kris Richard, who has been hired to also coach the defensive backfield.
- One name Jones opted not to address was linebackers coach Matt Eberflus, who has been rumored to be on his way out, likely following New England's Josh McDaniels if he gets a head coaching job. Jones did not comment on Eberflus' status, only stating again that defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli would indeed return in 2018.
- When it comes to long-term health, Jones said he has no real concerns with DeMarcus Lawrence or Tyron Smith, who have both battled back injuries the past two years. Lawrence is expected to be franchised or sign a long-term deal. Either way, Jerry said there is no concern with his health. "We think is health is good," Jones said of D-Law. "I wouldn't address any (contract) aspect. But his best years are ahead of him."
- Jones said he is not aware that Tyron Smith would need to have surgery this offseason. "Nothing is scheduled," Jones said.
- Asked again about his comments from 2016 about not taking a stronger look at then-free agent Nick Foles, Jones did not back down from his stance. "You wouldn't have seen Prescott yet," he said. "And we may never have seen him. What we were saying at the time that we could develop a young quarterback that hopefully could be our future. I'm really proud of that decision. We just wanted, behind Romo, to develop a quarterback for the future."
- The coaching staff is not here at the Senior Bowl, and one of the reasons, Jones said, is for them to stay back and continue to work on new schemes Jones said to expect on offense next season. "Very much so," he said. "To evaluate last year and to evaluate other teams. And to start the process of putting in the changes we're going to make."
- While Jones said on two occasions the wide receiver position needs to be improved, he didn't exactly say new personnel was needed. Of course, the big question this offseason is regarding Dez Bryant's future. When asked if he will be back in 2018, Jones said, "Everybody that's got years left on their contract, I'm expecting them to be on this team." Later on, when asked again about the receiver position, Jones said, "I don't know if you need another player. What you need to do is maximize what we've got."[embeddedad0]
- And addressing Jason Garrett's status, Jones was asked if his head coach is on the "hot seat" after a 9-7 season and missing the playoffs for the fifth time as a full-time head coach. Jones understood the question, but didn't exactly agree. "He's not on my hot seat," he said. Jones reminded the group that Garrett isn't far removed from the NFL Coach of the Year after the 2016 season and said he hopes Garrett can win that again next year, knowing what kind of team success that would signify.