Jerry Jones had a lot to say yesterday, including a pair of comments that seemed to continue to swim against the stream of simple logic and another frustrating tangent from his coach's agenda. He was bafflingly hesitant to praise Jason Garrett and Tashard Choice after the game, despite stellar performances. One of those cases makes some sense; the other doesn't - but both are evidence of an owner who can't admit his mistakes, who seems to be more concerned with his personal legacy than the success of his franchise.
Bill Nichols had these quotes from Jones on Garrett.
"What is real important that we all understand is that we all were a part of the huge disappointment,'' Jones said. "What you're seeing from me is just a reluctance to get all gunned up over how we're doing when we've had a disappointing year.
"Probably the facts are that it's going to be cast as a disappointing year no matter how well Jason does. We are certainly giving him the opportunity to win over the team, win over the fans, and all of that is a plus.''
"I haven't seen anything that I didn't know about Jason at all," Jones said. "He knows how to get turnovers and make big plays. That's the big difference over the last four weeks."
These are the words of someone who is running on emotion, not calculating logic. Jerry is frustrated about what happened to his team, he didn't want to fire Wade Phillips, and these recent wins bring into focus the wasted opportunity that has been the 2010 season. So he's just not in the mood to give credit where credit is due.
At this point, just about everyone expects Garrett to be named the head coach, and Jones will publicly have to tap dance around the Rooney Rule until he completes the process after the season. But that doesn't mean that he can't praise his interim guy. Beyond that, though, he seems to bristle at the suggestion that Garrett has made all of the difference. He bristles because people have been telling him from the day he hired Phillips that it was a mistake, and the obvious difference in effort and focus over the past month makes the naysayers appear to be correct.
That last paragraph makes me wonder a bit whether he's just completely lost it. While big plays have certainly been key to actually winning three of these games, if Jerry actually thinks that what his team lacked in Green Bay and against Jacksonville were simply some big plays, he's even more lost than anyone realizes.
We can at least guess along with Jerry in regard to his Garrett-related comments. His answers to questions involving Tashard Choice and Marion Barber are just bizarre. After spending the week waffling over whether Choice's inability to contribute on special teams relate somehow to his lack of chances in the offense (as many have pointed out, that is completely missing the point, and Jerry is surely aware of that and just venting his frustration that Choice complains about his lack of carries, rather than focusing on his given role), Jerry couldn't get past that topic after the game.
When asked about what he thought of Choice's performance, Jerry dove straight back into special teams talk, fumbling around with the notion that Choice was a luxury and nothing else, since he wasn't a special teams player. He eventually did get on point:
"You've only got so many carries. We've been pleased with how Barber does it and with how Jones does it. It's not about what Tashard isn't. It's about what Barber and Jones are."
There are two caveats to this issue. One is that yesterday's performance was against one of the worst run defenses in the league. That shouldn't be underplayed. The other is that Choice isn't perfect in even offensive tasks that don't involve him and the ball. But good grief, we can all see that the guy is a better running back at this point than Marion Barber. Jerry is in denial, as usual.
For those of you with the mindset that since Jerry has placed himself in the lead chair of an NFL front office, he must know what he's talking about, remember that this is the same man who thought that Eddie George wasn't done in 2004 and fought Bill Parcells on the issue and who didn't believe that Drew Bledsoe needed to be benched in 2006.
I want to find another angle here, but the only thing that makes sense is the popular notion that Jerry's ego won't let him accept that he was wrong (in multiple ways) to use his resources on Barber and Jones (and particularly Barber) when his third string guy is superior. The frustrating fact is that every front office periodically finds itself realizing that an underdrafted backup is better than an overpaid starter. The good ones respond. Jerry can't.
Jones also decided to use the public forum to issue Dez Bryant a warning on how to handle his season-ending injury.
"This is hard to handle as much as he wants to be with the team, out on the practice field, being a part of these games," Jones said. "He's going to have to bite that, be mature, be more grown up about the situation he's in."