Jerry Jones joined our guys "Shan & RJ" on 105.3 The Fan on Tuesday to talk about Super Bowl expectations, the preseason, and how high Randy Gregory's intellect is. Here are some highlights:
DOES ROMO ENJOY THE X-&-Os? "Well, I think so. We all seem to get a little more interest the little more we know or the better we think we're doing in any subject. And, boy, Tony is accomplished. He's a student of the game. He's a student, if you will, of competition. He has always analyzed every aspect of his game. I always thought early on the story of him throwing the ball into his couch thousands of times, just a little ol' eight-foot throw into his living room thousands of times. And you can just hear him in there fantasizing and creating situations and throwing the ball. And listen to him talk about getting over a putt and analyzing that putt as it might relate to something competitive in a game. Now, he's been doing that. He's good at it. His coaches just can't say enough about how exceptional he is with experience they've had with players. We're going to benefit from this. The answer is yes."
DID WE ALL TAKE ROMO FOR GRANTED? "No, I thin the quarterback is such a high-level of critique and our expectations are so much for him to, for the player, or for the position, to, if you will, play above himself. We complain if he's not playing above himself. We complain at the level his contribution is to the team or how much he should be involved or how much he shouldn't be involved. But I think we make it what it is. There's no question it's hard to win without having some excellence some place in the quarterback position."
DO YOU THINK HIS 2014 PLAYOFFS CAN PUT THAT TALK TO REST? "I am skeptical when we say 'puts to rest' or -- I'm not so sure I want to put it to rest from a personal standpoint. It's the discussion. It's the debate. It's the using a great season or a great game to gauge and talk about players as they relate to each other or they relate to other games they played. Let's don't put it to rest. Let's keep it live. Let's keep discussing it. Let's let him go out there and try to do something bigger here Opening Night than he's done before. All of this is what I'm for that is our eyeing interest on the game of football."
IS THE TITLE OF STARTER A LITTLE OVERRATED WITH RB? "I'm not so sure that I understand the question. I won't try to get in depth with it. I think we need to really have a running game that the other team respects. And even if we're in that game and they've done a good job of taking it away from us a little bit, even if we're having to throw more a little bit, the word is respect. And if we can get defenses to compromise what they do their best to have to work on something that we can do because we have a running game, then we've accomplished something going into the game. I'll never forget Ernie Zampese, who we all have such respect for from a coordinator here, a great one, put Charles Haley's name about eight inches above everybody else's name on a chalkboard. We were listing our players on our team as they impact our success. And he said, 'I'm going to put him that much higher than anybody we've got, much less even an offensive player.' Unless you've been an offensive coordinator, unless you've game-planned against them, unless you've had to look at the hours and hours of tape and film and you don't appreciate what a guy like that will do for you and what you respect. Well, they're showing respect. That's the same thing I think we want to gain in a running game by defensive coordinator looking at us this year."
ARE YOU SURPRISED THERE ISN'T MORE SEPARATION BETWEEN THE RB's? "No, because our primary goal for our team coming into camp from my perspective was to basically be healthy when we left and take our players that we just make a list of players that we think we know what kind of players they are in a competitive situation, what kind of players they are or will be against the Giants. Now, I'm not taking anything away from reps or honing your game or getting better. But basically what I am saying that we know a lot about what a lot of players can do. Well, the number one goal was to get them there healthy. And until we had that injury with [Orlando] Scandrick, I thought we had knocked it out of the park. Now, that one set us back a little bit. But we're trying to get everybody in here healthy. Well, we have gotten, at this juncture -- I'm knocking on wood -- we've got our three backs that we had in mind from the get-go, we've got those three backs into the Giant game healthy."
HOW NICE WAS IT TO SEE SEAN LEE? "He made that back, or the play went outside with him coming from the middle to the outside and he looked like he had been shot out of a gun when he made that angle and cut him off. And I said, 'Boy, happy days are here again.' My goodness, how he diagnosed that and plus put it in gear and went out and made the play is just something that we just haven't had this past year."
FEELING GOOD ABOUT RANDY GREGORY? "I feel good. The answer is yes. I do feel good about him. We should feel good about him. But it's more than stats, and you know that. That's why you're asking the question. It's about his attitude. It's about how hard a worker he is. It's about how smart he is, because he works smart. He plays smart. He does smart things out there. He will listen to that. I know Charles Haley huffed up and puffed up a little bit at training camp because, for whatever the reason, Gregory didn't execute a drill the way Charles, he thought, had told him. So, he talks to Gregory after the practice, and Gregory says, 'Well, you changed what you wanted me to do. I think you changed it between our reps. I did it the way you I thought you told me to do it.' And, of course, Charles said, 'That's not the way for a rookie to be talking with respect.' And he kind of huffed back there a little bit. But the whole point is Gregory, you better say it right the first time because he'll remember it when you bring it back around the third, fourth, and fifth time. He's a high-intellect guy."
WHY NO SUPER BOWL TALK? "I hate to use the word, but maybe it's being exceptionally realistic more. I know that we've had some years where Romo has really played well and we didn't get there. And last year was one of them. And, boy, you have that kind of year out of him and still leave some out there, then you realize how tough this is to get done, not that it's impossible to get done, but you realize the odds of saying it. Now, that still shouldn't keep me from saying, 'Look. Tony's playing at a high level.' We got the best looking defense we've had around here in several years. We've got an offensive team that's going to get better, and so we ought to feel better about things than we did this time last year, or in my mind, any time of the last five or six years. Well, I think in the last five or six years, I said 'Super Bowl' a few times, so let's do this by deduction."
ARE YOU SICK OF THE CRITICISM? "Well, first of all, and I'm sure a lot of people will be saying, 'Well, maybe he does occasionally listen.' But the facts are that I just get tired of being criticized, and I do feel that when we start our seasons, I feel like that under these set of circumstances most of the time we've got a chance to compete. Now, there have been some of all the ones, as you know, I really thought that we needed to dial our expectations back. But, boy, we come out here and put together a heck of a team to a lot of these guys that are going to be back out here this year's credit. So, you know, the main thing I want to do though is really remind that, yes, I'm close to it. I'm right there. And if anybody knows whether we ought to be a Super Bowl contender or not, then I ought to know it. But by it's very nature, that's such a speculation. By it's very nature, that's such an estimate of so many variables having to come together. Give us a break here. Nobody really expects me to know whether or not this team can contend or not. They expect me to be doing what I can to help it be a contender as much as we can. But I don't know anybody that's got that down. I wish I could meet them, find them, and see those persons or people that can tell you that's a Super Bowl contender and you can believe it enough to bet some money on it or not bet money and make decisions on it."
DOING AWAY WITH THE PRESEASON? "I think we're a unique period of time, but there is nothing wrong with that. You might could say it's all unique and all different considerations each year. There's no question that we're reviewing injury and it's impact on the game, short term and long term. So, we're reviewing every aspect of it. Well, the very nature of having a practice, the very nature of playing a preseason game creates opportunity to have what: contact. That's what the game is about and thereby you have to consider the injury ramifications of it. When we did the labor deal, I got in direct dialogue, if you will, not bargaining, but just discussion with the players, not the players' reps, but the players as to whether or not or how much more exposure there is in a preseason game for a veteran player that might get six or seven plays, maybe less, or let's give him 10 or 12 plays. How much more exposure is there there than going out and spending two hours in a full padded practice and spending all afternoon going through a deal where you'll get five times that many reps on a basic competitive basis? Just how much more injury exposure is there? Well, then you get into the intensity. You're supposed to have a lot more intensity on a play in a ballgame than you do on a play in practice. Don't let Rod Marinelli hear you say that. Rod's not into that. So, the whole point is that there's no question we all are continually looking for ways, whether it be concussion or whether it be soft-tissue, whether it be injuries with the feet, the turf-shoe relationship as to injury. We're continuing in every way there is to evaluate all with new technology with new ways to evaluate, we're continuing to evaluate that, and are much better today than we were a few years ago."
ARE THEY BORING? "You've got a very good point, and the argument is it's not in what you're putting out there. The facts are it's different than what you put out there for a game. I know you'll give me that. It's different. Is it unique? There is a period of time. For instance, I'll give you the extreme. The other day when we practiced against the Rams, we had about 100 players for the Cowboys that were on the field and you had about 100 players for the Rams that were on the field. That was about 200 players. Collectively, there was probably $300 to $400 million worth of players on the field at same time. At exactly the same time. And not only were they being coached by some of the most competent people there are in the world in the game, but they were reviewed, they were being taped to be reviewed countless times ad nauseum in terms of the evaluation. That is a unique thing to see if you have an appreciation for that unique time. That applies, in my mind, to preseason games in a lot of ways. You see something. You see a process going on, an evaluation process, you see an evolving process, you see players that are on the end of their talent scale as opposed to just beginning. So, the whole thing creates a sporting interest. It's not intended to be the Super Bowl, to be trite. It is not intended, the preseason games are -- not intended to be that. And I know nobody's worried about me misrepresenting that."
WHAT DID YOU THINK ABOUT THE MEDIA PARTY? "You know what, I'll be quick here getting off. But the fact that we were there in Malibu, which was so close to where the Cowboys had practiced with Landry and Schramm for 29 years, and I mean we were literally a mile or two from where those activities were held there. So, I thought, well, what goes around comes around. We're not too far away from where all this stuff began. But I'll tell you this right now: every day I appreciate many of the great ideas that Tex Schramm had or that Coach Landry had or that group had or that Gil Brandt had that's with us today. The whole point is they were on the ball and they were doing some right things. And one of the right things they were doing was on that beach right there in Malibu letting that turf hit them in the toes when they had a chance and I'm not so sure they even had sushi being that particular time. But I know they were eating something close to it, so surely they were having a good time. And I know we did too. I was glad to be with you guys. It's easy to do, easy to say, but that's what it's all about.''
MEANWHILE ... Here are your Cowboys cuts to 75 on Tuesday: