jerry jones

Why a coaching job won't hinge on Eagles-Cowboys

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Why a coaching job won't hinge on Eagles-Cowboys

DALLAS -- Cowboys owner Jerry Jones says coach Jason Garrett will return for an eighth full season after Dallas missed the playoffs in a year marred by the six-game suspension of star running back Ezekiel Elliott.

Jones said on his radio show Tuesday that Garrett's job "is not an issue here at all" while suggesting that there could be changes to the coaching staff with several contracts expiring. Garrett has two years left on a five-year deal signed after Dallas won the NFC East in 2014.

The Cowboys (8-7), who finish the season Sunday at division champion Philadelphia, lost their first three games without Elliott before winning three straight to stay in the race. Dallas lost a playoff elimination game to Seattle last weekend in the return of last year's NFL rushing leader.

Garrett has made the playoffs twice in seven seasons. He is 67-55 including the postseason and half the 2010 season, when he took over after Wade Phillips was fired (see full story).

Patriots: Team signs longtime Steelers LB Harrison
James Harrison is no longer the odd man out or the oldest man in the locker room.

The ex-Steelers star signed a one-year deal with the New England Patriots on Tuesday, three days after his unceremonious departure from Pittsburgh.

The 39-year-old linebacker posted a photo on Instagram showing himself with 40-year-old quarterback Tom Brady in New England's locker room, writing that he finally has "a teammate that's older than me!"

The AFC North champion Steelers released the five-time Pro Bowl linebacker and 2008 NFL defensive player of the year on Saturday to make room for right tackle Marcus Gilbert, who is returning from a suspension for violating the league's performance-enhancing substance policy.

"We make the decisions we feel give us the very best chance to win," Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said Tuesday when asked why the team didn't release a different player to make room for Gilbert. "We needed the people we kept. We needed to activate Marcus Gilbert. Really, it's nothing more than that."

A day before, Tomlin had said following Pittsburgh's 34-6 win over Houston that clinched a first-round playoff bye that difficult decisions such as this are "just life in football" (see full story).

Redskins: Cousins to start in season finale
WASHINGTON -- Redskins coach Jay Gruden said that quarterback Kirk Cousins would start Sunday's season finale at the New York Giants despite the potential of an injury and no postseason ramifications involved.

"There's no thought to that at all," Gruden said on a conference call two days after the Redskins' 27-11 win over the Denver Broncos.

"Kirk wants to finish out the season. Got to get us back to 8-8. I think finishing on a three-game winning streak is important to a lot of people here. Finishing strong is what we've been preaching here the last 2 to 3 weeks."

Whether Cousins plays for the Redskins in 2018 and beyond is one of the NFL's major offseason questions.

Cousins has played the past two seasons on the franchise tag. The Redskins could go that route again unless the sides agree on a long-term contract or the organization allows Cousins to test free agency. Cousins needs 65 yards against New York to reach 4,000 for a third consecutive season.

Cousins, who has 27 touchdown passes on the season, started all 47 games since taking over as the starter in 2015.

With a win, the Redskins (7-8) would finish with a non-losing season for the third consecutive year under Gruden. Washington has only reached the playoffs once (2015) during the coach's four seasons.

Cardinals: Arians denies report he’s leaving team
TEMPE, Ariz. -- Arizona Cardinals coach Bruce Arians says a report that he and the franchise have agreed to part ways after this season is untrue, labeling it "fake news."

An article in Pro Football Weekly cited "multiple sources" as saying the split would come next week at the end of Arians' fifth season as the team's head coach.

But Arians said on Tuesday that no decision on future seasons has been made. The 65-year-old coach said he'd never met the article's author or knows where any supposed meetings on the subject took place.

Arians can become the winningest coach in Cardinals history with his 50th victory at Seattle in the season finale on Sunday.

Arians is 49-32-1 in five seasons with the Cardinals, including the postseason. They are 7-8 this season.

Packers: Fired food worker charged in Lambeau car rampage
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- A fired food service worker is charged with ramming other vehicles at Lambeau Field in Green Bay last week.

Forty-year-old Chay Vang was charged Tuesday with two felony counts of first-degree recklessly endangering safety and five misdemeanor counts of damage to property. USA Today Network-Wisconsin reports Vang's cash bond was set at $10,000.

According to the complaint, Vang was working for Delaware North at Lambeau Field when he got into a fight with a 25-year-old co-worker during a Green Bay Packers game on Dec. 3.

The complaint says Delaware North investigated and fired Vang. The former co-worker was getting out of his car in the employee parking lot last Friday when Vang allegedly drove into the car and repeatedly smashed it.

Five vehicles were damaged. Vang told police he rammed the car because "he wanted justice" and no one was listening to him.

NFC East Report Week 11: Eagles fans have plenty to be thankful for this Turkey Day

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NFC East Report Week 11: Eagles fans have plenty to be thankful for this Turkey Day

Each week, we'll take a look at how the Eagles' division rivals fared the previous weekend (spoiler alert: GAME OVER!) and what they have upcoming. This week the Giants make about as much sense as Ben McAdoo’s barber, Washington saw its worse choke-job since George Dubya met a pretzel, and the Cowboys, well...I’m pretty sure you heard what happened to the Cowboys.

Here’s what happened this week in the NFC East:

New York Giants (2-8)

What Happened: The Giants can't even Process correctly. A week after being hilariously humiliated by the winless 49ers, Eli Manning and Company (or what remains of the Company) went ahead and beat the previously-playoff-bound Kansas City Chiefs in overtime, 12-9. Before you ask, yes, this one was about as much fun as that score leads on.

Tough loss for Andy Reid, whose Chiefs appear to be rotting faster than your neighbor's Halloween pumpkin (and the owners of both should probably think about making a change). This game featured more interceptions thrown by non-quarterbacks (two) than it featured touchdowns (one). Allegedly, the world’s least-deserving future Hall of Famer, Eli Manning, spent the pregame “firing up the troops,” which sounds about as believable as Donald Trump saying “I believe the women.” Seriously, the only individual I can imagine being less inspiring than Eli is the guy in the red jacket and mustache on the other sideline telling reporters he’s got to do a better job. 

Despite the win, the Giants were mathematically eliminated from winning the NFC East on Sunday, which is about as shocking as the fact that Mike Lombardi can’t get an NFL front office to hire him. The realization that they've been officially knocked out before Turkey Day is funnier than JoJo blocking and flopping. Seriously, this Giants season is a lot like Charles Manson, in that I was pretty surprised to hear death didn’t officially arrive until this week. Who knew?

Positive Spin: Nothing. Seriously, there is nothing positive Giants fans should take from this victory. They didn’t even act spoiler against a legitimate rival (does any New Yorker get some emotional pleasure from a victory over Alex Smith?). There are cat videos on YouTube that can prove more productive. This was a complete and utter waste.

Roger Lewis Jr., an undrafted wide receiver only in the game because Odell Beckham, Brandon Marshall, AND Sterling Shepard are out, made a ridiculous grab to put New York in field goal range to win it. This doesn’t turn him into the next coming of Victor Cruz, but hey, there’s not a lot of silver linings this deep down in the barrel.

Negative Spin: Everything that this team does from now till the end of the season should be focused on 2018. By beating the Chiefs, the Mara’s franchise is now back into 3rd on the 2018 NFL Draft Board. That may not seem like too big a deal, except when you consider the difference between the 2nd overall pick and the 3rd can mean the difference between, say, Carson Wentz or Joey Bosa (or even worse, Donovan McNabb vs. Akili Smith). The draft is about as predictable as what-issues-Alabama-voters-care-about, but ask yourself this; is a victory in November really worth it?

This is a franchise with a lot of tough questions to ponder going into the offseason. Winning a game in Week 11 isn’t some Earth-shattering shift, but it definitely doesn’t help in any fashion.

What’s Next: Tryptophan won’t be the only thing putting people to sleep this Thursday. The Giants head to the district to take on Washington.

 

Washington (4-6)

What Happened: Imagine sitting down this Thanksgiving after spending the entire day slaving over a fantastic meal; full turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes with the little marshmallows in it, the real deal. Then, right before you’re about to dive into this incredibly delicious spread you’ve spent the past several hours pulling together, Drew Brees runs into your home, steals all your grub, and then on his way out, kicks all of your friends in the shins.

That’s essentially what happened to Kirk Cousins and his Washington squad on Sunday. Up fifteen points in New Orleans, the Washington D let Brees throw two touchdowns in the final minute, then gave up the game-winning field goal in OT to give the Saints their eighth consecutive victory and drop Dan Snyder’s squad to 4-6 on the year. Adding literal insult to injury, Jay Gruden’s crew had to put a number of players on injured reserve, including the electric Chris Thompson and the guy who is certainly NOT Alshon Jeffrey, Terrelle Pryor.

Pryor’s one season in D.C. ends with 20 catches and a touchdown. Please note that his numbers have been eclipsed by Jeffrey (whom the Iggles opted to sign instead) as well as former Washingtonian’s DeSean Jackson (who’s catching passes from Ryan Fitzpatrick) and Pierre Garcon (who’s been out since Week 8). My goodness, even Sam Hinkie made better free agent signings (looking at you, RoCo).

After the game, Cousins complained about an incorrectly-called intentional grounding penalty against him, which is justified but irrelevant (which, notably, is the same tagline for the new Justice League movie). When you blow a fifteen-point fourth quarter lead, there’s often a few issues more prevalent than the zebras.

Positive Spin: For 48 minutes, Washington beat down on a Super Bowl competitor with a Hall of Fame bound quarterback, which is comparable to saying for 99% of her swim, Chrissie Watkins had a blast. 

Meanwhile, Cousins added more evidence into the ‘sign this guy to an extension’ folder, made even more impressive by the fact that he’s doing it with a bunch of no-names at the skill positions. The NFL-leading Philadelphia Eagles laid out a pretty clear blueprint on how to upgrade the weapons around a talented quarterback; if Washington’s front office can get their act together fast enough to do the same, the path back to relevancy shouldn’t be too windy for this franchise.

Negative Spin: This team is receding faster than LeBron’s hairline, and like The King’s fro, the owner seems happy to pump money into a quick rebuild. But don’t bet on it. Two years ago they won the division, a year later they just missed the playoffs, and this year they’re bolting towards the exit faster than that lazy coworker you hate. They’ve let a number of playmakers leave and many of the replacements have failed to impress (the ageless Vernon Davis notwithstanding). Considering this franchise’s history of being more disjointed than a season arc on AquaTeen Hunger Force, the chances of a bounce-back don’t seem too good for anybody (except for us Iggles fans, naturally)

What’s Next: If Washington has any chance of getting back into the Wild Card conversation, it’ll have to get a victory Thursday night at home against the Giants. That seems unlikely, so it’s probably best for Birds fans to pull for Big Blue on Thanksgiving, in an effort to negatively impact their draft status.

 

Dallas Cowboys (5-5)

What Happened: If you're reading this, you're either a masochist Cowboys fan (oxymoron alert) or you already know. Despite playing at home, despite playing with their backs against the wall, despite Cowboys owner Jerry Jones honoring Cowboys owner Jerry Jones at halftime, and despite said owner Jerry Jones promising that his team would be better, ‘dem Boys were completely and utterly out-classed at home in front of a God and a national audience on Sunday by the future NFC East Champions.

Plenty has been said about the victory, so no need for me to get into how the Cowboys D couldn’t stop anyone come the second half, or how Dak Prescott had the worst game of his career with four turnovers, or how Dallas is now on the outside looking in on the 2017 playoffs. And I won’t even get into how they’ve only scored one touchdown in the last eight quarters, or how they’ve been outscored by 48 points the last two games, or how their offense has come to a grinding halt ever since Ezekiel Elliott’s suspension finally came through. No need to mention any of that. Lets keep it on the hush.

But is it just me, or is Dez Bryant's heart just not in it anymore? It use to be painful watching him throw a temper tantrum worse than a small toddler deprived of a happy meal, but the fact that he wasn’t seen on the sideline berating some poor wide receivers coach arguably is enough to put him in the NFLs concussion protocol. Dez, like this squad as a whole, seems a shadow of his former self. 

Meanwhile, Jones won't be suing the NFL after all, showing he has the same steel legal cajones as his President. It doesn’t matter if Sunday night was the turning point to send Dallas’ season spiraling into irrelevancy; the Jones/Goodell brouhaha is likely to dominate this team’s headlines for the remainder of the year, and I, for one, don’t have nearly enough popcorn.

Positive Spin: If you’re a Cowboys fan trying to put down the bottle this week, here’s what you need to grab onto; your squad was missing a Pro Bowl running back, a Pro Bowl offensive lineman, a Pro Bowl linebacker, AND a Pro-Bowl kicker. Despite it all, Big D was leading at halftime. Prescott, meanwhile, will presumably only get better, and therefore the gap between the Cowboys and the NFL-leading Philadelphia Eagles isn’t as wide as the 37-9 final score would lead one to believe.

Negative Spin: Every bit of that is bull. For starters, the Iggles were also missing a Pro Bowl running back, a Pro Bowl offensive lineman, a highly-rated linebacker, and their starting kicker. Shoot, the Birds had actually lost TWO kickers by the time this one hit the second quarter, and you can bet your Thanksgiving stuffing Birds fans wouldn’t have accepted that as an excuse had Doug Pederson’s squad been embarrassed Sunday night.

The Cowboys stink, for all the natural reasons we’re all very familiar with. But as currently constructed (and football-lord forgive me for typing this), they’re not a bad team. However, to suggest that they’re anywhere near being on the same level as this Eagles squad, healthy or not, is a clear indicator you’re (like Dez) probably suffering from symptoms of a concussion. Either that, or you sniff the same glue Skip Bayless uses. That guy’s a bigger joker than Mark Hamill. 

What’s Next: The Cowboys face the Los Angeles Charges tomorrow on T-Day, then have a relatively easy schedule, facing New York, Washington, and Oakland. They could win all four and still lose this division, so don’t under-appreciate how big the Birds win Sunday night was. This year, there’s plenty for Iggles fans to be thankful for.

For me, I’m thankful the Cowboys owner hasn’t fired GM Jerry Jones yet.

Who's worse: Cowboys fans or Jerry Jones?

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Who's worse: Cowboys fans or Jerry Jones?

In this week’s edition of Rob’s Rants we delve into the enemy among us, an egomaniac with an agenda, and one of the more overhyped athletes in Philadelphia sports history.

Local Cowboys fans
It’s that time of year again when the Eagles and Cowboys meet for the first time. I’ve never been shy about my hatred of the Cowboys. It was bred into me at a very young age by my father and has not dissipated one bit all these years later. It’s a tradition I’ve happily passed down to my kids. It would be easy to reel off some of the individuals over the years that continued to fuel my fire ... Mr. Fedora himself, Tom Landry and his fraudulent, gentlemanly persona. Behind that façade he was a coach who harbored arrogant, cheap shot artists of players. (See: Dennis Thurman). Landry actually ran up the score in a replacement game.

Next up was Jimmy Johnson and his “How Bout ‘Dem Cowboys.” The rap sheets ran deep for old Jimmy’s squad. Michael Irvin, Leon Lett, Nate Newton, just to name a few. There was Deion Sanders and his preening, Emmitt Smith taking off his helmet, Irvin and his first-down signal. Great team, great players, no question. But they also epitomized arrogance. Jump to the modern day and you have Jerry Jones, Dez Bryant and Ezekiel Elliott. Enough said.

So while the players own a piece of the Cowboys hate, they pale in jackassery comparison to the fan base. I don’t mean those from Dallas. I’m referring to ones born and raised in the Delaware Valley with no ties to Texas. You know them. We all know them. The agitator. The ones crying out for attention. The contrarians. The ”look at me” guys and gals. The “I have no sense of communal pride” peeps. They love the Cowboys because when they were kids they liked the star on the helmet. They are the ones who are constantly living in the past, referencing the '90s or rings.

The root of these frauds — aside from bad parenting — is that at their very core, they are front-runners. Most jumped on that bandwagon when the Cowboys were winning Super Bowls. They are the first to bail when the going gets tough. Dig deep into their closet and you’re likely to find Yankees and Lakers gear as well. They are the worst kind of fans. They have no civic connection. They are outliers, subversives. It’s not easy being an Eagles fan by any stretch, for reasons we know all too well. But it will be all that much sweeter when they finally win and this community can celebrate as one, something Philadelphia Cowboy fans will never understand.

Jerry Jones
Speaking of the Cowboys, if you believe for a second that Jones' attempted ouster of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell derives from anything else other than his anger over Elliott’s suspension, I’ve got some swampland in Jersey I’d love you to take a look at.

Does Goodell make a monster salary? Yes. Has he made massive mistakes along the way in his handling of issues such as “Spygate,” Ray Rice, and “Deflategate?” No question. But I didn’t hear Jerry voicing his outrage then. The other owners want and continue to keep Goodell in charge because he makes them boatloads of money, plain and simple. Jerry has been right there in support of Goodell with his peers for a very long time. Suddenly, that’s changed. I wonder why? If Zeke had won his appeal or gotten suspended a game or two, we’re not hearing about Goodell’s salary demands, private jets or lifetime benefits.

Jones has had a great deal of success in his life and he used to having things his way, on his own terms. He also knows his personal clock is ticking to win another championship. And he realizes without Elliott for six games, those chances are significantly hampered this season.

Nerlens Olajuwon 
When the Sixers traded away Nerlens Noel last offseason to the Mavericks for what amounted to Justin Anderson and a first-round pick they were never going to see, there were people in town that were outraged. They couldn’t fathom how the Sixers didn’t get more for such a talent. Or they couldn’t comprehend moving a player with such value and skill. Fast forward to this past offseason where Noel reportedly turned down a four-year, $70 million deal and ended up settling for a one-year, $4.1 million contract. He’s since fired his agent.

Through 13 games this year, here’s his stat line: 5.1 points, 5.2 rebounds, 0.8 blocks, 0.8 steals, 16 minutes a game. In the last three games, he’s played six minutes, gotten a DNP-CD, and played two minutes, respectively. He’s playing behind 31-year-old Salah Mejri on a team that is tied for the fewest wins in the NBA. There’s nothing special about Noel. His career stats aren’t overly impressive: 9.7 points per game, 7.3 rebounds, 1.5 blocks and 1.6 steals. He’s a nice role player with defensive ability. He’s limited offensively and has never worked hard enough on his game to become good at that end. He may think he is but he’s not a centerpiece worth breaking the bank over.