Translating Jerry Jones

Over the years, we've played a parlor game, in print and on the radio, called "Translating Jerry.'' And I've always been darn good at it.

But not today. I'm stumped. The Cowboys owner met the media on Wednesday out at Jerryassic Park and talked at length. Yet on three key issues, the real Cowboys solutions and the real Cowboys sentiments are, to me, as elusive as A-Rod's needle-toting "cousin.''

Let me address this from the angle of a crafty Ranch Report commenter, "Denver1971,'' who responds to my recent call for positive Cowboys change by saying: "How can you have ‘major moves' when FA hasn't even started yet?''

My volley back: This organization doesn't need free agency to make positive change. It needs to, for three examples:

1. Address the Terrelephant In The Room.

2. Fill the void left by the firing of the defensive coordinator.

3. Be proactive in the wake of Dan Reeves' 48-hour employment at Valley Ranch by procuring his replacement.

"Denver1971,'' my friend, don't you think two months of offseason is time enough to make the most elementary and most essential decisions?

What do we now know after Jerry's cryptic ramblings regarding T.O.'s future? Here's how Mr. Jones addressed it:

"You and I both know that the one that you're asking about all the time, if I gave you the answer that you want to hear, then you would've already had it. So the fact you don't have it ought to tell you something. It really should."

Which clears it right up. Right? It obviously means that because the "answer the media wants to hear'' is that Owens is gone (I guess), and because the media hasn't been given that answer, it means Owens won't be gone (I guess).

That is the standard deciphering. But let's keep playing. What if "Translating Jerry'' here really means:

"If I gave you the answer that you want to hear – meaning, if I had announced a final decision – then you would already have that answer. That final decision. So the fact you don't have a final decision ought to tell you something: That I haven't made a final decision yet.''

Isn't that translation – though unassumed by most – just as viable a translation?

And if the point is to be cute or cryptic or indecipherable, why answer at all?

Mr. Jones is more clear on the subject of his new defensive coordinator. It's Wade Phillips. The head coach, despite qualifying as eminently fire-able, is instead being given MORE responsibility.

More responsibility. … but less authority? Said Jerry:

"It's Wade. He'll do it himself. No new defensive coordinator. He's the head coach/defensive coordinator."

If it is a good idea for a team to operate without a clearly-defined defensive coordinator, why did Dallas have one last year? Why did Dallas ever have one? Why do virtually all teams in the modern history of football have one?

Because it's not a good idea to not have one, that's why.

Same goes for the temp service provided by Reeves. If it was a good idea to hire an old hand to be the Valley Ranch Czar of Discipline/Responsibility/Chemistry, and then the first choice doesn't accept the job, you go to the next candidate on the list, right?

Nope. Not when you are playing "Translating Jerry.'' In this game, you pretend that that there was maybe never a need for discipline/responsibility/chemistry in the first place.

From Jerry, on whether he's concerned about locker-room chemistry:

"Not at all. Not at all. Not at all. Period. I'm just not. They are a figment of the result. You didn't hear about those things when we were winning. You hear about those kinds of things when we're losing. So I'm just not. And if y'all knew more about some of the things that you write about, you wouldn't be as concerned."

Jerry can win this argument – and more power to him if he's right. He knows the locker-room mood better than all the media put together.

But that doesn't mean he's being completely honest about his knowledge, or about what to do about that knowledge.

It's been almost two months. That's time enough to have hired a Dan Reeves type, to have hired a full-time defensive coordinator and to have determined a clear direction with Terrell Owens. Are the Cowboys suits frozen by indecision? Carefree due to arrogance? Overburdened by the massive responsibilities of overseeing all this silver-and-blue machinery, from the roster to the media to the hirings and firings to the real estate to high finance to the latest challenge, The Cowboys (Your Corporate Name Here) Stadium in Arlington?

Here's what was cleared up at the press conference, and not in need of "Translating Jerry'': The christening of The Cowboys (Your Corporate Name Here) Stadium in Arlington will be handled on June 6 by George Strait and Reba McEntire.

Definitive and wise solutions and sentiments related to T.O.'s future, the Reeves' vacancy and Wade's justifiable authority? Open to translation. Jerry's believe that the hottest country-music acts from 1991 will rock his $1.1 million house? Two months in the Cowboys' offseason, we have clarity there.

I'm just kidding. I love Strait music. It's just that I have a fondness for straight answers, too.

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