Jerry Jones, at times, can be quite the Lou Ferrigno of the NFL ownership world. On one note, he's usually as cool as the other side of the pillow, even when things aren't going well for the Dallas Cowboys. But when things are going disgracefully bad, as they currently are in 2020 with a 2-5 record on the heels of yet another public shaming, well, you wouldn't want to see Jones mad. The Hall of Fame owner began his weekly conversation with 105.3 FM the Fan in his typically suave demeanor, but his impeccably molded PR mask fell off when challenged about the status of the team at both the coaching level and in the locker room.
On Tuesday, just two days removed from a 25-3 loss to the Washington Football Team, and having watched his team lose by a combined score of 63-13 over the past two games, an agitated Jones was pressed about a lack of leadership in the locker room, and let's just say it didn't end well.
"Seriously, where would you have a leadership void?" he angrily asked. "Is it an experience void? Is it a talent void? Is it a leadership void?
"I'm not trying to be cute here. The answer is no. The answer is no. Shut up and let me answer it. No.
"You're not asking me that. I gave you the answer. When I go into the locker room, there's no leadership void in my eyes. Now, that's your answer. Let's move on."
There are many who would disagree, including yours truly, especially on the heels of seeing how discombobulated the team has been in the wake of losing Dak Prescott for the season and in how the Cowboys turned over and showed their belly to the Washington Football Team after Jon Bostic tried to remove Andy Dalton's head from his body. The latter not garnering a fiery reaction from players , but overall, Jones doesn't see a lack of leaders in a locker room also fractured by anonymous players calling out coaches.
But hey, I guess let's move on?
As for the status of McCarthy, while some headlines lazily posit if he's on the hot seat for 2020, to borrow a line from Jones -- the answer is no. Having signed a five-year deal with the Cowboys this offseason,, and that's a fact Jones doesn't actually need to hammer home in every interview. That said, there are clearly changes that can be made beneath him -- mostly on the defensive side of the coaching equation as Mike Nolan continues to struggle getting players to buy in with seven games already in the rearview -- but time will tell if a reassignment or removal of Nolan is in the cards over the next several months.
That will be one of McCarthy's biggest tests in his young Cowboys coaching tenure.
"I'm confident," said Jones. "What I am confident is really kind of have a note here in big, red letters. One of the, without a question, reasons Mike McCarthy is the coach is because he's been through it. He's had tough times and he's had disappointing times. He's got a veteran staff that has a lot of experience.
"He's got some younger guys on there too, but I point and will go hard at that. Certainly we couldn't have anticipated being at this stage with our team this year. But if I were going to hire for a head coach, that we're going to be at this stage this year and work through this for the betterment of what's in store for us for the rest of the year and for what's for us in the future -- I got my man."
Jones believes McCarthy will figure out what must or mustn't be done there eventually, along with the other rash of fires he must put out thanks to a 2020 season dominated by Murphy's Law.
"This is where you build," Jones said. "I've been here before. I've been here with some really top coaches. I've seen them have a situation that for a lot of different reasons needs improved, needs the leadership to improve, needs the steadiness to improve, needs the prospects of a bright future.
"We have that in Mike McCarthy as our coach. We have a resolve."
The added problem for the Cowboys is where reality clashes with the team's perception of its own roster. Their belief in everyone "on campus" hasn't gotten them anywhere, and has led to them shopping Everson Griffen ahead of the trade deadline -- sources confirm to CBS Sports -- only three months after signing him to a one-year deal. They're also open to potentially moving on from the two-year deal they awarded Dontari Poe, a separate source noted, but that's a much more difficult sell, plus the Cowboys need depth on the defensive interior with the season-ending injury to Trysten Hill.
and/or who gets shipped out, if anyone, but the fact is the Cowboys are currently spinning their wheels by doing nothing to this point. Jones readily admits that might change soon, which is at least a step in the right direction and away from the incessant love for a roster that needs a shakeup or several.
"The facts are that fundamentally we're not stopping the run," said Jones. "That's one of the things, but we are not stopping the run, and when you don't do that, a lot of other things come in behind that as to what you are lacking. But we [have] got to correct this. We have got to correct it.
"We'll change some personnel for sure. We just [need] to step in here and make adjustments. That's what you do."
Currently sitting at roughly $24 million in cap space, the team is rightfully trying to squirrel away as much as possible to prep for either a long-term deal or second franchise tag on Prescott, but there's still room to take on salary in a trade to potentially help the team both now and later -- primarily, if not exclusively,.
"We have the financial ability to get good football players," said Jones, who also points at how the roster looked before it was decimated by injury. "We have good football players. You guys will admit that when we started throughout pro football kingdom, we were believed to have great personnel to start this year with. We don't have much of it now.
"But that still doesn't mean you should not trying to win some football games."
The last time Jones was this ornery, the Cowboys were 3-4 and traded a first-round pick for Amari Cooper in the same breath in which they fired offensive line coach Paul Alexander just seven games into his new job, leading to a 10-6 finish and the NFC East crown. They're one game worse at this point in 2020 than they were two years ago, along with having many more challenges on the whole, but it's time to see what "personnel changes" Jones is willing to make that will allow him to put his cool back on going forward.
For now, it's draped over a chair in the other room.
"There's an old adage: don't piss an old man off with a little money," Jones said jokingly to end his interview. "He'll get you."