Sunday, January 18, 2009


The last couple of days, I've been under the weather. Sore throat, runny nose, congestion, mild fever. You know, the regular stuff. I posted my status on facebook as "Russell is still sick." Today, I thought about posting, "I am feeling schadenfreude." But I was afraid someone would reply, "Is it contagious?"

No, schadenfreude is a German word which basically means having a feeling of joy at someone else misfortune. It's not generally a positive feeling to have. I mean, what kind of jerk enjoys it when bad things happens to others? However, tonight, I am feeling a great deal of joy at the misfortune of Philadelphia Eagles' fans. They lost their forth NFC championship game in their last five tries.

Admittedly, the Eagles have an enviable record. In the last ten years since the arrival of Donovan McNabb and Andy Reid, the Eagles have made the playoffs seven times, the NFC championship five times (three of which they played at home), and the Super Bowl once (which they lost to the Patriots). But it must really suck to get to the NFC championship, be favored, and just know in your heart of hearts that your team is not going to have whatever it takes to cross that threshold.

Now, honestly, I would gladly trade the Cowboys' recent history for the Eagles. These two teams played a winner take all game just three weeks ago and the Cowboys didn't even bother to show up. But at the end of the day, let's take a quick look at the trophy case: Five to nothing. So, Eagles fans: HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

If I were in Jerry Jones' shoes...

One talk radio guy I listen to alot is a money guy named Dave Ramsey. People call in with their money problems and he tells them what they need to do. It usually has something to do with selling stuff and getting out debt. He often prefaces his advice with "If I were in your shoes, I would..."

As I've been thinking about the Cowboys and what they need to do, I've usually been at a loss past firing Wade Phillips. But after I thought about it from the perspective of what I would do if I were in Jerry's shoes, some ideas come to mind. (Since I'm in Jerry's shoes, I'll use the first person.) I'm going resist Jerry Jones' skin jokes, though.

***IMPORTANT NOTE*** I don't expect ANY of these things to actually happen, but here are my ideas.

1. I'm going to call a press conference (I expect Jerry to do this any time now, but he surely won't say this) and say that my biggest mistake was firing Jimmy Johnson and my second biggest mistake was hiring Barry Switzer. Just about every mistake I have made since that second Super Bowl win (atrocious drafts from 94-02, hiring Chan Gailey, Dave Campo, and Wade Phillips; signing Deion Sanders, not drafting Randy Moss, trading for Joey Galloway, signing Terrell Owens and Adam Jones, etc.) has come in reaction to those two mistakes. (Yes, I'm saying Deion Sanders was a mistake despite the fact that it helped bring us a fifth Super Bowl title. It along with Switzer coming was the beginning of undisciplined play and attitude that has plagued this team since 1994 and still plagues it today.) I personally apologize to Jimmy Johnson, in fact, he's here at the press conference.

2. In that same press conference, I fire Jerry Jones, the GM. Just looking over my years as GM since the last Super Bowl in 95-96 season, the Cowboys have won exactly 1 playoff game in only six appearances. My record of player acquisition has gone back and forth between awful and dumbfounding with small bits of greatness here and there. Let's look at the draft since 1994 when Jimmy Johnson left. Out of 122 players drafted, I drafted 4 All Pros (Larry Allen, Roy Williams, Jason Witten, and DeMarcus Ware) and 7 Pro Bowlers (Coakley, Adams, Ellis, Gurode, Newman, Barber, and Folk). Think of some of the trades I've made: Two #1s for Joey Galloway and #1 for Roy Williams. I could go on about dumb picks and terrible free agent signings, but it can get laborious. I have a record only the Detroit Lions and Texas Rangers could admire.

3. So, who should I hire as GM? How about Jimmy Johnson? Or throw all my money at Bill Cowher and give him controll. Or how about Scott Pioli or Bill Polian? I find the best football man who will work for me, give him control, and get out of the way. I want him to hire the coach and I promise that I won't go over his head. What kind of coach? I don't know, but no retreads. I had that not too long ago, but I decided I'd rather have Terrell Owens than Bill Parcells. I know Parcells wasn't perfect. His draft record had some issues as well, specifically on the offensive line, but he was building something that going in the right direction when he decided that he was too old for this stuff. And that leads me to my next moves.

4. The biggest problem I see with the team is a complete lack of discipline, which can be seen in the dumb penalties and the continual December collapses. I start right away by meeting with the team and telling them the days of "Camp Cupcake" are no more. I want a change in the culture up there. Some guys are going to get cut, and since the real Jerry has saved me the trouble of cutting Adam Jones, I don't have to worry about that. In fact, remember that press conference? One of the things I say is that I am really sorry about getting Jones to begin with. He was terrible on the field and a disaster off it. This is the last time I sign a guy like Jones. That reminds me. Tank Johnson? Gone. I going to hit guys where they feel it: in the wallet and in playing time. If a guy isn't ready for training camp, he can be suspended a game. If a player continues to make the same mistakes on the field (Flozell Adams and false starts for example), they can sit on the bench for a series. Even if it means losing a game, we have to change the culture of this team. I assume (talking as Russell, not as Jerry) that Terrell Owens is a cancer in the locker room. If that is true, then Owens needs to be looking for another team, salary cap be damned. Of course, if he isn't a problem, then he still has a place here. But this year, there were clearly problems in the locker room. Whoever was behind the problems, needs to either get their stuff together or hit the road. Again, I know there is a salary cap, but I think the problems we see every year are indicative of a systemic problem that requires a radical change.

5. Another change I want to see is in the offense. I look at this team and see a group tailor made for a power running game. I see a huge offensive line and three really good backs, as well as a quarterback with a troubling interception problem. (Speaking of which. If Romo continues to throw ridiculous passes and interceptions, he can sit. That means I want a back up who can actually play. No more Brad Johnson and Brooks Bollinger.) I also see an NFL in which most of the playoff teams are running teams. I mean why in the world does 3rd and 2 require a shotgun? We should be able to run the ball down people's throats. That's the offense I want to see.

So that's my prescription. What do you think?