Inside Valley Ranch


Jerry Jones’ ego kept Cowboys from putting Romo on IR earlier
Column by JEAN-JACQUES TAYLOR / The Dallas Morning News

So Jerry Jones and Jason Garrett finally decided to put Tony Romo on injured reserve Tuesday morning.

The move is about six weeks too late – and that’s a shame.

There was no good reason for Romo, who broke his collarbone in October, to be on the roster. Realistically, there was never any real chance that he was going to play this season, especially after the Cowboys stunk it up and fell out of playoff contention.

But Jerry opted to give fans false hope that Romo might come back and that the season wasn’t a wash.


This season has been a disaster since the Cowboys quit for a three-game stretch in the middle of the season.

Jerry, though, couldn’t put his ego in his back pocket. If he had, then Romo would’ve been on injured reserve and the Cowboys would have been scanning practice squad rosters and bringing in players – every week if needed – in search of the next Bryan McCann.

Garrett said this was a good time for Romo to go on injured reserve because the lure of playing motivated him to work as hard as he could to get back on the field. Forgive me, but no one has ever questioned Romo’s work ethic.

He was going to work hard in rehab regardless of whether he was going to play this season. To suggest otherwise is a disservice to Romo.

The Cowboys can spin it a million different ways and it won’t change the reality. They wasted opportunities to improve their club.

They screwed up. Again.

Are you surprised? You shouldn’t be.

Q: How does the first half of the season “weigh in” on the decision to keep Jason Garrett given his participation in those losses?

Rick Hayes, Atlanta

TAYLOR: I think we can look at what has happened the last few weeks and see that Garrett has been a difference-maker as a head coach. He has more control than he did as an assistant when it comes to practice schedule, tempo and physicality. Yes, he had a role in the 1-7 start, but he’s done quite a few good things as the Cowboys have gone 4-2 under him.

• • •

Q: What is up with our defense? From a defense that finished so strong last year to this?

Brandon Bilderrain, Santa Monica, Calif.

TAYLOR: I’ve said this quite a few times, and nothing has changed. Great players are playing good, good players are playing average, and average players are playing badly. Then comes the question of whether the cornerbacks have struggled because the pass rush has been subpar or whether the struggling cornerbacks have made the pass rush a nonfactor most weeks. Only one or two guys have played well on defense – and it hasn’t mattered whether the Cowboys are playing man or zone. They should be better, but it hasn’t worked out that way this season.

• • •

Q: Jerry Jones is dumber than dumb for not playing his younger players (Stephen McGee) to see if they can play, and he’s messing up a top-five draft pick. What is the sense of trying to win meaningless games in 2010?

Thanh Trinh

TAYLOR: First, Jon Kitna has played so well that there hasn’t been a need to play McGee. I don’t mind seeing young guys play, but they have to earn the playing time in practice. It can’t be a gift. The Cowboys have already won too many games to get an impact player in the top five, so they might as well win as many games as possible.

• • •

Q: We need Jon Gruden or Bill Cowher to change the culture. They can bring in their own coaches. Thoughts?

Lee Paul IV, Wheeling W.Va.

TAYLOR: There’s more to changing the culture than bringing in your own coaches. Garrett has clearly changed the culture. He has made the players more accountable, and they are playing with far more passion and enthusiasm than they did under Wade Phillips.

• • •

Q: I have seen comments over the last few weeks from Mike Jenkins indicating that he thinks his struggles this year have been due to problems with zone coverage. Is the decision to play man-to-man or zone Jenkins’ decision or is it dictated by the offensive personnel and the defensive alignment called by the defensive coordinator?

Todd St. Clair

TAYLOR: Paul Pasqualoni has made the decision to play more zone. Pasqualoni thought it would help the Cowboys give up fewer big plays and generate more turnovers. Clearly, the Cowboys have gotten a lot more turnovers, but they’re still giving up points by the bushel.

• • •

Q: I understand Dallas has only two players on the roster from the 2009 draft, both, obscure backups. New England has five starters from the same draft. Does JJ make the final decision on all draft picks?

Tom Wolf, New Braunfels

TAYLOR: We can all agree the 2009 draft was awful. But you don’t judge a coach or a regime on one draft. You have to consider the body of work. For the most part, this decade, the Cowboys have done a good job on their first-round picks. That said, we know this is an important draft coming up. They don’t need to make any mistakes.

• • •

Q: After watching one of the teams a couple of weeks ago run a fake field goal with their kicker escaping to the outside for a touchdown, it made me wonder why the Cowboys haven’t attempted anything similar with David Buehler this season. Isn’t he supposedly one of the fastest players on the team? Surely he would be good for one or two attempts per season?

Bradley Johns

TAYLOR: You have to be in the right situation to call a fake field goal. The defense has to show you something on video that you think you can attack. A lot of factors must come into place before you attempt a fake field goal. Most teams don’t try it. Dallas isn’t alone.

• • •

Q: How much longer do we have to tolerate poor performances from Mike Jenkins?

Mel Douglas

TAYLOR: He’s a talented guy having a bad season. Opposing quarterbacks have a passer rating of 113.5 against him. He lost some confidence with the steady stream of pass interference penalties earlier in the season, and it affected him. The Cowboys have to figure out whether Jenkins is the terrific player from last season or the subpar player from this season.

• • •

Q: Who do you think will be the head coach next season?

Richard Hand, Allen

TAYLOR: You’d have to say Jason Garrett is the front-runner, but Jerry must do his due diligence and interview every viable candidate. If nothing else, it gives him an opportunity to pick the brains of some smart men and use some of their good ideas to fix this team.

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