Jerry Jones is looking to build a winner in Dallas, and he wants credit when that day arrives. In the meantime, he's left wearing two hats -- as owner and general manager -- which means that he's responsible for the day-to-day operation of the team, as well as the personnel minutia that comes with assembling a roster, scouting players, balancing the salary cap and hiring coaches.
Regarding the latter, it's been a busier-than-usual offseason. The Cowboys have hired six new coaches, including defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin, who replaced Rob Ryan.
During the NFL Combine, Jones spoke about the decision to part ways with Ryan, who had the job for two seasons.
"Where we fundamentally came down with Rob is that his philosophy is about multiple scheme," Jones said via the Fort Worth Star Telegram's Clarence Hill. "I think you have to skinny it down. Philosophically, I don't think Rob believes in that. And it's not something that happened and all of a sudden at the end of the year we had a problem. I think Rob will tell you we had long visits about this in the offseason last year that there was too much scheme. He tried to cut it back and he did skinny it back, but it's still a lot.
"This is no revelation we had after we went 8-8. This was after the year before's 8-8. We just didn't feel like at the end of the day Rob could skinny it back enough to our satisfaction that we could make plays."
Look, we have no problem with canning a guy for underperforming (and despite Ryan's pedigree, his defenses -- in Oakland, Cleveland and Dallas -- have, on average, been no better than mediocre) but shouldn't Jones have known Ryan's style before hiring him? After all, Ryan had been a coordinator for seven NFL seasons before coming to Dallas. It's not like his defensive philosophy was some big mystery.
But these are the benefits of owning the team. You can't fire yourself (well, you can, but Jones won't). And now the chore of fixing things falls to Kiffin, the architect of the Tampa 2 defense that helped the Bucs to a Super Bowl title following the 2002 season. As far as schemes go, it's pretty straight forward, and that must have appealed to Jones.
"Guys can't play fast and guys can't make plays when they are trying to think about what they are doing," Jones said. "When they looking to the safeties to see what coverage we are in and the ball is getting snapped, I think that makes it hard to play fast and hard to get turnovers. We were losing that turnover battle. If you look at most games when you lose the turnover battle, you lose the game. Unfortunately, in our scheme we weren't creating turnovers."
Ryan, meanwhile, wasn't out of work for long; he has replaced Steve Spagnuolo as the Saints' defensive coordinator.