Dallas Cowboys

Just Chill: Bryant, Cowboys chasing something super, not worried about numbers

The Cleveland Browns could be a good fit in a trade scenario for Dez Bryant if the price is right.
The Cleveland Browns could be a good fit in a trade scenario for Dez Bryant if the price is right. rmallison@star-telegram.com

Five thoughts on the Cowboys, who are 7-1 after beating Cleveland:

Cowboys controversy

On this election day, one thing is never more true: There is no such thing as life without controversy for the Dallas Cowboys. If there isn’t controversy, then someone will certainly invent one. Never mind that the Cowboys are 7-1 at the midpoint of the season, tied for the best record in the NFL and the betting favorite to reach the Super Bowl out of the NFC for the first time since 1995, the last of their three Super Bowls titles of the 1990s. Controversy is always riding shotgun in Big D. That is certainly the case with the impending quarterback decision between rookie Dak Prescott and injured incumbent Tony Romo. Owner Jerry Jones simply needs to refrain from discussing it. The more he talks, the more confusing he becomes. However, what should not be an issue but is being made into one is the lack of production by receiver Dez Bryant. Bryant is tied for fourth on the team with 16 catches for 282 yards and two touchdowns. There are people in the media who are openly wondering if Bryant would rather have Romo at quarterback because of his apparent lack of chemistry with Prescott. That’s more about people’s perception of Bryant being an emotional, me-first player than one who is passionate about winning most of all. That’s not Bryant and has never been, which is why the Cowboys have been willing to put up with his personal foibles and mistakes, such as his well-chronicled tardiness.

Protect Jerry

Again, the more Jones talks the more convoluted he gets regarding the quarterback situation. Certainly, Jones was being politically correct when he talked on KRLD 105.3 FM “The Fan” on Tuesday about the Cowboys playing the quarterback situation week by week and probably never getting it sorted out. He threw up a trial balloon last week when he said Romo would be OK serving in a backup role because he wanted to win most of all. On Tuesday, he declined to put words in Romo’s mouth about the backup job and said Romo wants to play like most competitors do. The Cowboys will do like most smart teams and ride the hot hand in Prescott. That’s why it’s a good thing that coach Jason Garrett will make the final decision based on football reasons and not emotions. But Jones, being the wild card he is, is why there is always a circus and controversy in Dallas. And even one of his most ardent supporters — Hall of Fame receiver Michael Irvin — is worried about Jones going off the rails. “The only thing that could derail this is a bad decision from the uppers, ” Irvin said on 105.3 “The Fan” on Monday, referring to Cowboys management in general and Jones in particular.

Garrett’s footprint

Consider that it was exactly six years ago that the Cowboys fired Wade Phillips after a 1-7 start and eventually replaced him with Garrett. That was Nov. 8, 2010. The Cowboys are 7-1 at the midpoint of the season and Garrett is as entrenched as ever as the Cowboys coach with the most security seen around these parts since Tom Landry was at the helm. Garrett opened the season on the hot seat because he had a .500 record in his first five season as coach, not including a 5-3 mark to end the 2010 season. Coming off last year’s 4-2 season and with a healthy Tony Romo expected back, Garrett was simply out of excuses to begin the season. Fast forward to today: Romo hasn’t been healthy and Garrett is succeeding like never before with two rookies — Prescott and running back Ezekiel Elliott — leading the way. But also credit Garrett for having built the kind of team that can play the style he has long envisioned.

Jets trade price

It is true that the New York Jets called the Cowboys last week about a trade for defensive end Sheldon Richardson. It’s true that the Cowboys had some interest in Richardson to upgrade the defensive line. The deal was dead on arrival because the Jets wanted a first-round pick in return for Richardson, according to a source. A first-round pick in 2017 or a first-round pick in 2018 was the asking price, the source said. That was a non-starter for the Cowboys regarding a player (Richardson) who they didn’t know if they could keep beyond next season when his contract ran out. And that was before word came out last week that Richardson was benched by the Jets for the first quarter against the Miami Dolphins for being late to team meetings. The word is that it’s a regular occurrence. If the Jets are trying to dump a bad apple, why would their asking price be so high? Did they think the Cowboys were that dumb or that desperate?

Line call

Vice president Stephen Jones stood firm in his belief that the defensive line would be better this season despite seemingly no major upgrades in the draft or free agency. Stephen Jones counted on the line being younger and more athletic at the position and felt the relentless coaching of defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli would get the most out of them. The Cowboys have 18 sacks through eight games after notching 31 all of last season.And after rookie Maliek Collins’ two-sack performance against Cleveland, does anyone think more is not in the offing? Stephen Jones called this one right.

Clarence Hill: 817-390-7760, @clarencehilljr