It hasn’t been a good offseason for the Dallas Cowboys in the way of making positive headlines. From DUI arrests to Jerry Jones firings that are getting harder and harder to explain away, their penchant for generating chatter once their season is over begs the question: Have the Cowboys surpassed the Redskins as the new offseason champs?
The troublesome news broke late Tuesday evening that the team’s starting nose tackle, Jay Ratliff, had been arrested and charged with a DWI after striking an 18-wheeler in Grapevine, Texas.
Luckily, Ratliff – the only occupant of his vehicle – and the other driver were not injured in the crash. He was arrested after refusing a breathalyzer from officers who later arrived on the scene.
In early December, nose tackle Josh Brent was charged with intoxicated manslaughter following the drunk-driving death of practice-squad teammate Jerry Brown. He faces up to 20 years in prison.
As a 70-year-old Jerry Jones seemingly presses harder and harder for results at the close of each season, the decisions he makes as Owner/GM of the Cowboys seem to involve increasingly more emotion, and less long-term projection for the franchise.
Just two weeks ago, Jones fired defensive coordinator Rob Ryan over the phone while he was on vacation. The engineer of a defense ranked 19th in total yards, Ryan’s firing wreaked more scapegoat tactics for an 8-8 season that found Dallas one game short of the playoffs, rather than just cause for a defense wrought with injuries.
Jones inevitably hired an elder statesman of the coaching ranks to replace Ryan: 72-year-old Monte Kiffin, whose last run as a d-coordinator in the NFL ended in 2008.
“He’s just upset and he’s letting emotions dictate: ‘Hey, we got to make some changes’ without really having a plan in place,” Gregg Rosenthal of NFL.com told 106.7 The Fan’s Holden and Danny Wednesday. “I mean, Monte Kiffin does not fit with the talent there, and a lot of people wonder, ‘Can Monte Kiffin still really coach at the age of 72?’”
And just days ago, Jones contradicted his long-term stance that the head coach should always be a play caller, by indicating his offensive line coach, Bill Callahan, would be taking over the offense in the Big D.
“Sounds like they’re going to promote Bill Callahan, who hasn’t called plays in almost a decade,” Rosenthal said. “It just diminishes Garrett’s power and if you’re going to go this far, why not just have made a coaching change after the season?”
Tempting as it may be for him to jump in the mix at times, Daniel Snyder has not meddled since hiring Mike Shanahan in 2010, something that deserves acknowledgment considering his history.
There have been no Dana Stubblefield or Al Haynesworth-esque signings since the Shanahan/Bruce Allen tag team took over in Ashburn. Now just six wins away from a .500 record with the Redskins, if Shanahan makes it into the final year of his contract, he’ll be the first Redskins head coach paid by Snyder to outlast the length of a presidential term.
Yes, by staying out of it, Daniel Snyder is doing the unthinkable: building up good will with the very fan base who cursed his name for more than a decade, and letting someone else capture the offseason championship.