Samstag, 10. Mai 2014

Cowlishaw: Cowboys had Johnny

IRVING — Whatever would be the opposite of buyer’s remorse, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones was not suffering from it 24 hours after passing on the opportunity to draft Johnny Manziel and (not to overdramatize it) rearrange the universe.
That didn’t keep him from behaving in more Jerry-like fashion Friday night by swapping second- and third-round picks to move up in the second round to draft defensive end Demarcus Lawrence, a move immediately criticized as a reach by ESPN analysts Mark Schlereth and Louis Riddick.We will find out which side was right in a few months and then reassess it in a few years.
Meanwhile, Jones did not hide his love and admiration for the famous quarterback that got away.
“More than anything, I do believe he’s going to be an outstanding NFL quarterback,” Jones said, adding that Manziel’s instincts are off the charts. “He’s got a chance to knock it out of the park. We all know this.”
In fact, Jones said the Cowboys had Manziel ranked ahead of their first-round pick Zack Martin on Thursday night.
“But at the end of the day, there’s no way we are going to be without [Tony] Romo for four or five or six years,” he added.
Jones said the financial commitment to and the belief in Romo prevented the Cowboys from having so much as an extended meeting to discuss drafting Manziel. He called the commitment to Romo “too significant for [Manziel] to be an insurance policy.
“He’s not just a quarterback, he’s a celebrity. He’s Elvis Presley.”
Elvis is in Cleveland now, wondering if the man expected to be his meal ticket at wide receiver, Josh Gordon, will play at all in 2014 after reports of a second failed drug test surfaced Friday on ESPN. That’s a worry for the Browns, not the Cowboys.
But what if Jerry had pulled the trigger? What might that have been like on Friday if Manziel had flown to Dallas for a Valley Ranch news conference?
“You know, it would have been an explosion,” Jones said. “Manziel said it better than anyone. It’s bigger than you could take.”
While Jones professed a strong belief that Manziel will make it big in the NFL, the idea that he will be regretting this decision years from now has not entered his mind.
“I don't see how we get from where we are to there,” he said, meaning regret. “There’s no question that this was a very overt decision I made in support of Tony’s ability to get us to a championship.”
Jones failed to specify what kind. The Cowboys won their last Lombardi Trophy 18 years ago. But that’s also the last time they visited a Super Bowl or, for that matter, an NFC Championship Game.
Jones talked about Romo having superior arm strength and accuracy to Manziel and, showing he had clearly pondered this scenario for at least a few minutes, said he knew the quarterback controversy talk would have begun here immediately.
He said he didn’t think for a second that Romo would have had any issues practicing with Manziel or attending meetings with him. Still, Jones went out of his way to reassure Romo a few days ago that, while mock drafts around the country had the Cowboys picking Manziel, such a thing was not under consideration.
Now it’s left to offensive lineman Martin to try to answer questions about his selection every time Manziel has a winning Sunday afternoon. Defensive end Greg Ellis went through the same impossible situation after being drafted ahead of wide receiver Randy Moss back in 1998.
Passing on the opportunity to draft Manziel does not rule out the Cowboys selecting a quarterback on the third and final day of the draft. Even Jones understands that a 34-year-old quarterback coming off back surgery (again) will one day need a replacement.
But drafting someone Saturday is a world apart from calling out Johnny Football’s name on Thursday night.
Manziel “is a different situation than developing a quarterback, in my mind,” Jones said. “He’s the kind of guy that can change your plans. He’s that good.”
The Cowboys’ plans were written in the ink of Romo’s $108 million contract. The temptation for Jones to cast his fate with Manziel disappeared the day it was signed.
When Jones was asked who Romo is to Manziel’s Elvis, the Cowboys owner hesitated only a second.

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