When Jerry Jones bought the Cowboys back in the late 80’s, several fans thought this would make America’s team a disaster. Jones was a wheeling and dealing oil man who made it feel as if the Cowboys were the cherry on top of his empire. What several didn’t know at the time was that Jerry was maxing every credit card just to make this one purchase. Spending has always been the calling card for the older Jones. Nowadays we see the younger Jones (Stephen) seemingly in more control of the Dallas Cowboys franchise.
Many fans have noticed the shift in strategy over the past 20 years. Since the Cowboys won their last Super Bowl (1996) we have seen many methods to win. After Jimmy left the team in 1994, Jerry Jones was on a tear to show that he could win without his former friend and head coach. We have seen the yes man approach with Dave Campo. We have seen the hardliner approach with Bill Parcells. Then we went back to the yes man approach with Wade Phillips, and now we get a yes man hybrid in Jason Garrett. Then throughout the years we’ve seen Jerry trade picks, sign players, and spend without regard to the NFL’s salary cap.
Have the Cowboys cleaned up their ways? Mostly they have. The team has been drafting very well since 2008. Ever since Parcells came in and emphasized building through veterans and the draft, the Cowboys have done awesome with the draft part. Something that hasn’t been too good is free agent signings, and also the fact that we are not bringing in many veterans. These two things aren’t the heart of the next step in Dallas football strategy. These two things are parts of an overall strategy. What the Cowboys need to focus on next is something a few other teams are really good at right now. The next step in strategy is to build players within the system.
Now you must be thinking to yourself that this is stupid. We have Dez, we drafted so good and have Dak and Zeke. Heck, our offensive line is one of the best in the league! Yes you have a point, but have you thought about what you have after that? I’m sure you’ve heard of the statement “Next man up”. The Packers, Giants, and Patriots all use this statement. Jason Garrett loves to say it but doesn’t have it instilled. Dallas needs to be developing players who aren’t only starters, but have the potential to be starters. I know they do this to a degree, but are they doing it well? Personally, I don’t think the Cowboys are doing a great job of developing players, and here’s why it’s so important.
By developing your own players and having the next man up mentality creates competition within the organization. For example, if Dez Bryant knows that they Cowboys have drafted a player who could take his spot he will play harder. If the player behind Dez knows he has a shot at taking his spot he will even try harder. What this does is it removes the need to pay too many guys at a premium. It builds a less expensive structure for the team cap wise. Now also understand that they will have to spend on certain positions. Key positions around the league are usually highlighted as Quarterback, Left Tackle, Linebacker, Safety, Wide Receiver. Of course this varies based on team need and team strategy. But overall this would set up the team to know what they need when, and keep building within without maxing out or mortgaging the future.