Many prefer Jerry Jones the owner to fire Jerry Jones the general manager.
Ed Werder is among the many, and the reputable ESPN NFL insider has Jones’ replacement in mind, linking Hall of Fame quarterback Troy Aikman to a potential job as chief of the Dallas Cowboys‘ football operations.
To be clear, the prospect is rooted in opinion rather than reporting, as Werder ventured outside the box to connect the tantalizing dots.
“If Jerry Jones is committed to winning, he should be open-minded and discuss hiring @TroyAikman to run football operation,” Werder tweeted Friday, a day after Dallas lost its third straight game, falling to 6-7 on the season. “It’s next thing Aikman wants to do in career. He’s no yes-man, knows successful organizational structure, can share decision-making, bring fan credibility.”
But the plausibility holds a fair amount of water. Werder unearthed a remark that Aikman made last year in which the former Cowboys great and current FOX broadcaster expressed intrigue over a front-office position — in Dallas or elsewhere.
“Would that be something I think it’d be interested in? The answer is yes. And I’d take it a step further: I think it’d be something I’d be very good at,” Aikman said on Werder’s podcast in 2018.
Aikman retired from the NFL in 2001 and has enjoyed a second career as FOX’s top color commentator opposite Joe Buck. It’s a cushy, well-paying gig that doesn’t have hardwired into it the stressors of a day-to-day team executive role. There’s a reason he’s been in the booth, not the owner’s box, for nearly two decades.
Aikman, though, is an unabashed follower of the Cowboys, and his employment regularly calls for him to cover their matchups. In recent seasons, the 53-year-old has been more vocal about the franchise’s issues, his monologues becoming appointment viewing.
This was on display Thursday as Dallas was dominated by the Bears in another nail-in-coffin game for head coach Jason Garrett, whose staff is equally culpable, Aikman believes.
“You have to ask yourself, who on that staff has earned the right to be an interim head coach? I can’t think of one guy who’s done a good enough job with his position, much less a coordinator, that you would put in that seat,” he said during the 31-24 loss.
It’s a fun thought for Cowboys fans, and Aikman no doubt would bring a fresh perspective to an organization that hasn’t won squat since he hung up his cleats. But convincing him to start a new professional chapter is infinitely easier than the real challenge: Getting Jones to cede his power.
Don’t hold your breath.
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Aikman Rips Jerry Jones, Defends Jason Garrett
Even before the Cowboys again were embarrassed on national television, before Werder ignited speculation involving Aikman’s reunion with the Cowboys, the three-time Super Bowl champion damaged whatever candidacy he possessed by adopting an extremely contrarian viewpoint on Dallas’ hierarchy and its underlying flaws.
Whereas most blame Garrett for squandering a title-worthy roster, Aikman put the onus squarely on Jerry Jones, the common denominator from Dallas’ glory days to its present-day reputation as a middling club — a span of nearly three decades, long preceding Garrett.
“I’m not worried about Jason Garrett. He’ll be just fine, and I think he’s proven the quality of the person he is and also the way he is as a head coach,” he said last week, per NBCDFW.com. “There’s a lot to this job, there’s a lot to have to overcome. It’s not run traditionally the way most other organizations are. I think that’s to the detriment of the Cowboys.”
“I don’t think you can look at three playoff wins in the last 25 years and surmise that all of the problems over that time have been a result of coaching,” he said. “I think you have to look at the top, and say, ‘how we are doing it from the top’? I think businesses do that. I think organizations, I think anyone worth their salt evaluate it from the top down. And just simply changing the coaching, you know, I don’t know if the results would be all that much different.”
No Staff Changes After Bears Loss, But …
Garrett echoed what Jones said following the no-show in the Windy City, that Dallas will not alter its coaching staff (until the end of the season). This means the embattled coordinators — OC Kellen Moore, DC Rod Marinelli and STC Keith O’Quinn — are safe from the firing line.
However, Garrett suggested that lineup changes could be executed prior to the club’s next contest, a home meeting with the Los Angeles Rams. In true Garrett fashion, he didn’t specify which players are in danger of greeting the bench.
“The guys who earn the playing time by playing the right way are going to play more,” he said Friday, per ESPN. “Obviously you can’t swap everybody out. That’s not what we’re talking about, but we have to look for opportunities to play the guys who play the right way and have done that consistently when they’ve gotten opportunities.”
Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL