To keep Felix Jones or not to keep him? That's the question facing Dallas Cowboys Jason Garrett. No, that isn't really the question. The question is who the real coach of the Cowboys is. Ever since Jimmy Johnson left for the greener pastures of someplace other than Dallas, the general consensus has always been that owner and general manager Jerry Jones holds the title of head coach, as well.
It's no secret that Jerry Jones has had more than just an opinion in the day-to-day operations of the team, beyond just paying the bills, and renting out his stadium. It's a safe assumption that no other owner in the league has as much input into personnel decisions, as far as who plays and who doesn't than Jones. It was Jones's decision, in spite of Bill Parcells's objections to bring in Terrell Owens. In fact, for a couple of seasons, Romo and Owens were the top quarterback/receiver tandem in the NFL - until Owens began to regress into the player we have all come to know and struggle to tolerate.
When in the twenty plus years Jones has owned the Cowboys did he acquire this vast array of knowledge of football? One would think that sooner or later the fruits of his many hours of sitting in meditation would have produced more than just record sales of toilet paper. When Garret took over, Jones was adamant that his new coach would - more or less - call the shots when it came to roster decisions.
Flash forward to this Sunday, when the Cowboys host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers; will Felix Jones return kickoffs or will he not return kickoffs? Here's where the title of head coach becomes vague; it's also where Jason Garrett needs to have an epiphany; he's the coach of the Dallas Cowboys. When his tenure is over in Dallas - which may be sooner than he expects - it won't be Jerry Jones's rÃ©sumÃ© that other owners will be reading.
The fact is Jason Garrett is very much in charge of his own destiny. If Coach Garrett doesn't want Felix Jones returning kickoffs, much less playing, then he should make that decision today. Will this put his owner in a bind; force his hand? It shouldn't. After all, that's what he's paying Garrett to do. The Dallas Cowboys need to win, period. They need to win the best players on the field for sixty minutes; Felix Jones isn't the best player.
Jason Garrett is a smart man; graduating from Princeton will do that to you. He's also a former player, for crying out loud; he knows football. So what does Garrett's vast array of football knowledge tell him about keeping Jones as his kick returner?
"We're always looking at personnel, to be honest with you, and when you make a play like that, you look hard again at that and what the alternatives are."
Sounds like a sound and reasoned statement, doesn't it? Other than some expected inexperience on Garrett's part since he's taken over, the Dallas Cowboys are improving. Regardless of the mental lapse in Seattle, they beat the New York Giants - at New York - that's improvement. Unfortunately, for those who pay Jerry's bills, Jerry Jones once again feels the need to put in his two cents' - of their money. Whether it is loyalty to his alma mater, or the need to flex his managerial muscles, Jones trumped his head coach; Felix Jones will return kicks tomorrow. Jason Garrett will go to bed tonight, perhaps less concerned with the actual game than with the aggravation of having his decisions overruled time and time again. Want proof that internal issues have an effect on a team? Look no further than the New Orleans Saints. How anyone could have picked them to play at the same level as before bounty gate is just one of many sixty-four thousand dollar questions. Felix Jones will sleep better than his head coach tonight, that's for sure.
To win a championship; to even get to the playoffs, the Dallas Cowboys need their coach to step up to the plate, so to speak, and make that team his own. Garrett's attitude should be one of "Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!"
What's the worse that can happen? He gets fired. Two things will happen, guaranteed, if Garrett gets fired for sticking up for himself and his team; one, he will get a head coaching job somewhere; two, Jones will never get a respectable coach to work for him again.
If the Cowboys don't progress to at least the playoffs this season, consider the window of opportunity shut. It will take more than King Arthur to pull Excalibur from its sheath in the center of the star at midfield.
Photo Credit: rondostar