Rick Gosselin of the Dallas Morning News is a nice person who once had dinner with me and my wife at our home. He is a respected newspaper voice when it comes to the NFL Draft. That is, in fact, Goose's "niche''; why the newspaper stripped him of responsibility for the one thing he does really well to instead have him try to opine on Mavs and Rangers and Stars I do not know.
But Gosselin's piece on his belief regarding what the Dallas Cowboys will do with the fourth overall choice of the 2016 NFL Draft is lacking in needed insight but is heavy on meme-style mythology.
"Reasonable people can disagree,'' many an orator has begun a presentation ... so here goes:
Rick opines that "the Cowboys will not draft a quarterback'' at No. 4 and he might very well be right. All of us are a long way away from even being able to pretend to know what unfolds in late April.
But Goose goes on to support his thesis by insisting, "There are 91,459 reasons for Jerry Jones to draft a pass rusher, cornerback or running back -- anything but a quarterback. That was the average home attendance for the Cowboys in their 4-12 season in 2015. And the ticket-buying public does not want to hear the words "rebuild" or "future."
The dual implication is not subtle. One, that Jerry Jones is the singular deciding force in what Dallas does in the draft. And two, that the Cowboys' No. 1 pick will be a shiny bauble so the 91,459 ticket buyers are pacified.
Wrong. And wrong.
I have covered Jerry's Cowboys for 26 years and have chronicled for two years now the metamorphosis of the Cowboys front office as one that features Stephen Jones, Jason Garrett and Will McClay ... lieutentants serving the "general'' but lieutenants who own such respect that their superior bows to their wishes. A prime example unfolded in 2014, when others reported that "Jerry almost drafted Johnny Manziel'' while we reported ... well, that it wasn't even close to the truth.
To say that in the 2016 NFL Draft, "Jerry Jones is selecting ____'' would be a foolish and naive characterization. Jerry has flexed his ownership muscle in different ways and at different times in the last 26 years -- yes, even flexing on retroactively-self-proclaimed GM Jimmy Johnson -- but in recent years, the Cowboys have done exactly the opposite of what critics insist is the M.O.
Imagine Jerry telling McClay, "Go get me that center from Wisconsin! There's 91,459 ticket buyers who wanna see that beard!'' Imagine the same proclamation before the first-round selections in the last few years of two other O-linemen and you begin to understand: the "shiny-bauble'' meme is ridiculous.
The Morning News also tells me "The ticket buyers want to win now -- not 3-4 years from now. ... Based on (Gosselin's) emails and Twitter feed, that's what Jerry's ticket-buying public would prefer with the fourth overall pick of the 2016 draft -- an impact player who can accelerate the quest for the franchise's first Super Bowl in 21 years.''
This isn't "mythology'' this time, it's a mastery of the obvious (and maybe a plea for smarter Twitter followers like those at @FishSports?) Folks, every fan base wants to "win now''; you think, say, the Jacksonville fan base wants to NOT "win now''?
Furthermore, the Morning News should understand that while Valley Ranch is a democracy of sorts, it's not democratic enough to give a flying bleep what "Rick Gosselin's e-mailers'' want. Jerry actually bowed to such a sentiment in 1998, got scared on what the DFW public might think of Randy Moss (in the wake of Michael Irvin's misdeeds), and instead took Greg Ellis.
Does the Dallas paper wish to wield that sort of misguided influence again? No, please, no.
Goose thinks "drafting a quarterback with the fourth overall pick would be a nod to the future'' ... thinks there is a "black hole'' coming ... thinks Jerry's age and impatience is THE Cowboys driving force.
Oh, man, it'd be nice if it worked that way. "Hey, you're 73. You MUST have a good season! Oops, you get 4-12! Sorry, old coot!''
No, it doesn't work that way. Rick notes that Jerry is "not a patient man.'' And it's true. But I've known Jones for 26 years. Trust me, he wasn't a "patient man'' 26 years ago, either.
Drafting a quarterback at four, if it's the right guy according to Dallas' board, would give the Cowboys a QB2 who is in essence -- as Romo will be 36 this season -- this team's "12th starter.'' But it's all about pinpointing "the right guy'' and "the right value.'' There is absolutely a way to integrate the No. 4 pick into this system immediately (as long as Dallas is right on Goff, Lynch or Wentz) and if that's not the right guy, maybe in later rounds Prescott, Hogan, Coker or Kessler are.
The Cowboys should be on their toes regarding what I believe are Tony Romo's final 25 games (or so) in the NFL. And at the same time, should be cognizant of finding weaponry to stack around Romo. ... and might just understand that QB2, at some point in the draft, a right player can provide answers in both categories.
We all wish our opinion to be heard. In the above video, we've got Craig Morton stumping for Goff to the Cowboys. Here, we've got Troy Aikman talking up RG3 to the Cowboys. Somewhere my buddy Dale Hansen is reading my take on Greg Hardy's unlikely return to Dallas and Dale is about ready to book himself another appearance on "Ellen.''
But these decisions are football decisions. They aren't about "Jerry's age'' or "shiny baubles'' or some other lame meme that sticks to the Cowboys like glue to the bottom of a shoe because some of us keep writing the same ol' same ol'. We are already saddled with junk like "Cowboys Cap Hell'' (forget that CHQ has the breakdown of where the Cowboys are truly at under the cap) and "The Manziel Card'' and there is barely room on the Meme Train for "Jerry Runs The Draft'' and "Ticket Sales Run The Draft.''
So please, make it stop. "Reasonable people can disagree,'' yes. But please, if you're among those e-mailing my man Rick Gosselin with dumb ideas, stop that, too.