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Stephen Jones adds “armchair” label to a Hall of Fame quarterback

The Cowboys aren't ready to take play-calling duties away from offensive coordinator Scott Linehan, but Dallas won't be patient forever.

A former Cowboys quarterback has concerns about the team’s current offense. And the team’s current ownership doesn’t seem to be impressed by that.

A day after Hall of Famer Troy Aikman questioned the creativity of the team’s offense during Sunday’s season-opening loss to the Panthers, Cowboys COO Stephen Jones adopted a dismissive tone.

“I just think at the end of the day, everybody can play armchair quarterback and point fingers after the fact,” Jones told 105.3 The Fan in Dallas, via Clarence E. Hill, Jr. of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Of course, Aikman isn’t just an armchair quarterback. Also, he wasn’t criticizing after the fact, but in real time.

“I do think we need to figure out how to get in a rhythm when you use six receivers and make sure everyone’s in there for what they do best. I think that’s a little bit of a work in progress,” Jones admitted. “But I think it’s unfair right now to point fingers at play-calling, whether it’s [quarterback] Dak [Prescott], whether it’s our receivers, I just think we gotta do a better job overall of executing and I think this thing will come together.”

Maybe it will, but Aikman is right when it comes to the offense’s lack of creativity. It’s a meat-and-potatoes attack, one that relies on the dominance of the offensive line and the effectiveness of running back Ezekiel Elliott, which in turn opens up the passing game. With the offensive line not dominant, it becomes much more difficult to run the ball and, with no receiver who commands double coverage and safeties not cheating toward the line of scrimmage, much more difficult to throw.

So if a basic offensive approach won’t work, creativity becomes even more important, with plays and concepts that mask the deficiencies of the personnel and that take advantage of what they do best. That’s not armchair quarterbacking; that’s competent coaching.