FISH: Stephen, I know you don't want to say negative things about Bill Parcells and his work here, but would you agree that the present atmosphere under new coach Wade Phillips represents a needed change?
JONES: "Bill said this when he first came in, he said, ‘After a while we're going to need to be winning, because my style will wear on people,'' Jones said. "And the way he ran it was tough. But I do believe he did get us going in the right direction. There are guys like Bill who have a certain style and I believe they can detect themselves when it's time for a change. Those guys can only stay in one place for four or five years.''
"Like Jimmy Johnson," I said.
"There are similarities, aren't there?'' Jones said. "I know this: For this time and this place, Wade is the right guy. And yes, he is a breath of fresh air.''
FISH: What ever happened to the idea of training camp lasting five weeks? Have you looked at your schedule for camp in San Antonio? It's like only two weeks long!
JONES:"Yeah, times have changed, haven't they?'' Jones said. "Part of the deal is that these guys come into such good shape now that they don't come into camp needing to work themselves into shape. So really maybe you only need two weeks.''
But, I wondered, isn't it a marketing opportunity lost? This is going to be the "Built Ford Tough'' Cowboys Training Camp. There was a lot of attention to be gained when it was a five-week circus, wasn't there?
"It's still a marketing thing, sure,'' Jones said, "but No. 1 it needs to be a football thing.''
FISH: I know the company line on what teams are supposed to say in light of the commissioner's stand on behavior problems, but how much really has changed? Isn't scouting still scouting?
JONES:"We were already doing a lot of the things that the commissioner is putting into place,'' Jones said. "But now it's a matter of an increased degree. There is more intensity regarding the issue. How much does it have an actual impact on a given player? It certainly means one more hard look, one more degree, because while you might still take that player, you better be fully aware of the added risk involved.''
FISH: What's it like to have advanced so quickly – though I guess it has been 17 years, huh? – from being ‘Jerry's son' to being a guy recognized for his expertise in contracts and salary-cap issues and the like?
JONES:"I think my advantage might have been that I never really knew any other system, so I didn't have to unlearn anything,'' Jones said. "I guess now I'm probably one of the few guys still doing the same job from those days when we first instituted the cap. In fairness, I guess I should say that we haven't had all that many cap considerations to wrestle with lately because we haven't had enough good players. Hopefully we're changing that.''
FISH: I'm always astounded at all the balls that you guys juggle, especially now with the new stadium up and running. When, in particular, does your dad ever find time to sleep?
JONES:"It's really just a thing where we tell ourselves, ‘Keep pedaling,'" Jones said. "We've got everybody involved, and the reason is we believe what's going on over there in Arlington is every bit as important as what's going on over here at mini-camp. That's our future. That's our brand. That's going to be what the Dallas Cowboys are for the next 40 years and more.''
Five Topics with ... Stephen Jones
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