Cowboys Jerry Season-Ending Q-and-A: 'Surprisingly Disappointing'

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones puts voice to a 'surprisingly disappointing' 2015 season in this expansive Q-and-A that includes his promise to 'reach out into the dark, a little in no-man's land. We'll do that.'

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones joined "Shan & RJ'' on 105.3 The Fan for his season-closing visit to a "surprisingly disappointing''season ...

HOW WOULD YOU RECAP THIS SEASON? -- "Disappointing, surprising ... if you will without being overly dramatic. But I think that might maybe call for it a little bit here to have ended up, when the dust settles, to ended up with this record. Fourth pick in the draft, we've earned it, which is terrible. And, so, you put all of that there. If there's ever been a time that we need to go on past the obvious, although you cannot address this team without taking into consideration that early we lost key players with injuries. You cannot address it. It has to be factored in for no other reason than logistics, if for no other reason than contract situations. We have to basically in every decision factor in the consequences of the injuries we've had. And, so, that's not being wishful thinking or putting head in the sand. That's just being realistic. But realistic is also the fact that we've won four ballgames."
AFTER INJURIES, WHAT OTHER MAJOR FACTORS LED TO 4-12? -- "Not adjusting. We didn't make adjustments. And that's across the board. That's not just directed towards coaches or not addressed towards an individual player. But we just probably had a little of the 'I'm just going to go' mentality-wise. We probably early felt that we were going to get these injuries behind us, and we would get them behind us in a better shape to compete for the majority of the season. That didn't turn out at all for us obviously. Tony re-injured his shoulder. And then we didn't get a healthy Dez at the level that we had anticipated. And, so, those, and the adjustments we were making during that time ... And, so, that resulted in losses. This team kept fighting. We keep hearing that, but it's a fact. ... 1-15. The Cowboys were 1-15 the first year that I was involved. Al Davis called. John Madden called. Both called separately, not together, but just said it was amazing your team fought all the way through the Green Bay game for the very last ballgame. So, we didn't lose our stinger, but we just realistically, those last few ballgames were gut checks, will checks, and we passed that test. Our team fought hard all the way."
DO YOU THINK DEZ WAS RUSHED BACK TOO SOON? -- "We needed him back. He wanted to be back. Medical, we didn't rush him back relative to medical advice. And frankly he was able to play and practice at a certain level. We didn't think we were exacerbating any additional healing. We don't think that what he's addressing was impacted by the fact that he came back and played when he played. We don't know that. Just all at a certain point in medicine becomes a measure of just opinion, but we know that we haven't done anything that would impact him long term or down the road. So, we just got to -- we'll chalk that one up to experience. One thing about a year like this: you gain a lot of knowledge and it's burned in your forehead. You don't ever forget it."
IS THERE A SCHEDULE FOR WHEN DEZ WILL RETURN IN THE OFF-SEASON? -- "No. You can't be succinct in your time estimates on injury. You just have to give some measure of range. He should be available for any of the semi-organized work that we do, certainly any mandatory work that we do, he'll be ready."
DO YOU WANT TO BRING BACK GREG HARDY? -- "We're not going to discuss. I can discuss Dez. He's under contract, but at this time, we just aren't in a position, and I don't mean to disrespect your question, but we not only shouldn't, but we don't have to. We've got to evaluate so succinctly everything that we did. And in doing so, we'll evaluate every step any of our players took and then we'll be commenting on what our plans are."
WAS HARDY WHAT YOU HOPED HIM TO BE ON AND OFF THE FIELD? -- "He was the player on the field. He was the player on the field. Off the field, we certainly had adjustments that were made. He cooperated all the way. And, so, when I look back, his will, his willingness, his attitude relative to being a team player, those don't all give me a problem at all. But he is a free agent technically at this time. And, so, really it wouldn't be good one way or the other competitively, if you want to start there, but it wouldn't be good for me to comment on him because I don't want to comment on any player."
IS ROMO INJURY-PRONE OR UNABLE TO PLAY 16 FULL GAMES? -- "I can relate his clavicle, additional fracture. I say that singularly. I told you the story. He was out there warming up against Green Bay, and said, 'You know, one fracture doesn't even hurt.' And he was relating it to the fact that he had nine fractures in that clavicle the first time. But I think those were related, and I'm not trying to be trite. But other than that, I don't see him other than the position, the incidents that he does get hit in those types of situations where they lean, put the entire weight of the entire defensive player against him with the ground in behind him, which is pinning him on the ground. I think that's the thing that makes him vulnerable, not in general, not in space, not soft tissue injuries, those types of things. I really would say that his position, his style, he'll hang in there. Those are vulnerable issues relative to injury."
HOW PUMPED UP ARE YOU FOR THE NO. 4 PICK? -- "The system that we're in, the teams that don't do well get to get the best players or have the opportunity to get the best players. That is encouraging because I think we're going to reload in general. We're reloading with what we though we had to some degree, to a big degree, but we're going to get to add a higher level of draft pick by definition. And we've got to get the job done. But still, to be able to take this team, let's look back where we were last year and draft at this level should give you better talent. And I am exciting about that because I want to do everything we can to improve our team. Actually, what is so unbelievable for me about this year is that I thought we had our best off-season in many years, maybe the best, in terms of the talent that we brought in here, on the field talent that we brought in and how it addressed our most glaring need last year. And I thought it was outstanding. I thought we were fortunate, but I also thought we did a good job of getting it in here. Now, we had a little game plan because some of that talent didn't get to us until after the fourth game. But we all thought we'd get in here, play well for four games, and then, boy, help would be on the way. Psychologically, it went the reverse. And the longer we played, the less on-the-way help was there and it had a reverse psychology on us I think."
WHAT IS DALLAS' BIGGEST NEED WITH THAT FOURTH PICK? -- "We've got to get the best player. We hear it. It's a cliche, but we hope, and we haven't even really scratched the surface in terms of an overall evaluation of what is the best player. But we're up here at the top of the draft frankly. I don't know that we've been here since the day that I walked through the door and there set Troy Aikman. Tongue in cheek, didn't we do a brilliant job preparing for the future by selecting brilliantly Troy Aikman with the No. 1 pick? But he had been sitting there and then by the time the evaluation process was over, he was the best quarterback. Did we need a quarterback or did we need a quarterback in '89? And he was the best quarterback to come along in years, and of course, it panned out. We need something like that to happen again around here."
HOW DO YOU WEIGH WINNING NOW WITH SETTING UP THE FUTURE? -- "That's what's, I think, great about drafting this high. You can do both here and should do both. The facts are that you can take, and again, in no way am I saying that we will draft a quarterback, but a top quarterback here at that level could have maybe done the job for us this year when we lost Romo for a period of time. And then our plan was to have Romo come back in when he came in and be ready to take us on in to the playoffs. So, that's helping now. I'd say that our backup quarterback situation, which I don't to in any way rule out [Kellen] Moore, our backup quarterback situation is the best now move we could make."
WHAT'S YOUR TAKE ON THE COACHING CHANGES IN THE NFC EAST? -- "Well, let me give you another one. The only thing that probably outranks the changing in coaching in the NFL is the changing in general managers. If you look and evaluate, which we've done, at the number of turnover that you have in GM's, it's unbelievable in the NFL as well. And they're going like flies too. So, the bottom line is that the structure of these teams, it's so demanding. The league is built to be .500, and it's so demanding that that's the kind of angst that is there and the kind of impatience that goes with these teams. I saw where Coughlin, Tom Coughlin, resigned yesterday. And his tenure was really outstanding. So, he did a great job. He was with us in training camp when Bill Parcells was here, and I clearly understand why he had a very successful run. But my goodness, it had a lot of times that it was no fun for him, I'm sure. But he did absolutely win two Super Bowls while he was there. Let's all give a hats off to him."
HOW WOULD YOU COMPARE YOURSELF AS A GAMBLER TODAY? -- "Have you looked up at Frisco lately? Let me tell you something, man, that 'going for it' fire is still there. And not that there's a concern, it's just that's a quite a step and that's quite a step in any climate. But it's been done. And certainly been done at this level in sports. And not that I'm avoiding addressing a personnel decision, but you just, unless you're ready just to put your pen down, and that means negotiations are over when the pen goes down, unless you're ready to do that, boy, you got to have and get out there in element of unknown. You have to. If it all added up, and to make a decision and it came in a nice, neat package, then life would be easy. But there is always that element of unknown. And it's there alive and well. And, yes, I will exercise it during this off-season. I will. We'll reach out into the dark, a little in no man's land. We'll do that."
JERRY ON MANZIEL (WITHOUT NAMING NAMES) -- "Well, let's just put it like this. We all would be aware that to bet on our Moore for our backup quarterback has elements of risk to it. But I'm not so sure that that's any riskier than anything you would do with a decision in the future. On the other hand, I like what would enhance me taking risk is a bigger upside. And if that upside is there, that whole risk-reward situation, then, yeah. This is as far as we're going to go here now with this because I don't want to get involved with a type of tampering situation. We can take some risks."

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