There are no “Losing For Lawrence” or “Failing For Fields” missives in Dallas — purposely throwing the season for a top college prospect, also known as “tanking.”
So be it, says owner/general manager Jerry Jones.
“The more people you have on the field in a sport, the less you get into driving the car, relative to certainly effort. You can erase that from an individual player’s performance. Tanking has nothing to do with the performance of a player or coach. The performance of getting better. The performance of the things you do to try to win the ballgame, in my mind,” Jones explained Tuesday on 105.3 The Fan. “Could you make a decision to play a younger player more, or a player that you’re going to be pretty firm that you’re going to be going forward with contract wise than a different situation, and the answer is, I can see that, yeah.
“I can see making sure that you get these guys those reps. The only way to have and get better in the NFL is (to get) reps. And game reps are precious and hard to come by. You don’t get them by just that issue, if you’re sitting there competing for a championship. So I think young players should be doing it anyway. Candidly, you may be playing those players out there anyway. I don’t see it as bright a line. Maybe, you’d say, ‘Jones, you’ve never seen anything bright-lined in your life.’ And, maybe, that’s right. The point is, I don’t see bright lines with any part of that definition.”
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Where Things Stand, Where They’re Headed
Down to its fourth starting quarterback, Dallas is searching for its first win since Oct. 11 when they host the undefeated Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday at AT&T Stadium. They are massive, two-touchdown underdogs for an affair few believe will be competitive.
The Cowboys sit in third place in the lowly NFC East, behind the 3-4-1 Eagles and 2-5 Washington Football Team. Technically, they remain very much alive for the divisional crown but another expected defeat almost makes it a moot point.
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Peeking ahead, and while the order will continue changing, the Cowboys currently hold the fifth overall pick in the 2021 draft. The consensus points to Jerry Jones and company targeting defensive help; one mock has the club selecting dynamic Penn State linebacker Micah Parsons while another penciled in stud Alabama cornerback Patrick Surtain II.
“The Cowboys could look at offensive line upgrades here, but with [Oregon tackle Penei] Sewell off the board, there isn’t a great value,” Bleacher Report draft expert Matt Miller recently wrote. “Micah Parsons is intriguing, but the team has invested plenty of cap space and draft picks at the linebacker position. If the Cowboys keep the pick, Surtain is the best value and position of need.”
Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL