Jerry Jones Press Conference
DallasCowboys.com Staff Writer
July 30, 2004, 5:23 p.m. (PDT)
--On the day before training camp official opens, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones gave his annual State of the Cowboys and answered a few questions from the media.
State of the Cowboys address:
Jones: "Yesterday we were out looking at a couple of high school fields, and Bill asked me 'Tell me one more time why you left out here for training camp and went back to the weather in Texas?' Certainly, we wanted to be closed to our core base of fans, but I'm reminded that Tex Schramm and Tom Landry had a good idea. It did well for our franchise to come out here for 26 years, and that's a big part of why we're back out here, the fan base and the interest that we have in our franchise.
For all the serious football fans that are listening back home - I know the start of training camp is one of the most exciting times of the year, and I know how much it means to basically be informed and be interested. After all, the focus of our organization, while we certainly appreciate the visibility around the country and our fan base here in California, is the great fan base that we have back in the Texas area.
As I said, we're happy to be back in Southern California because it's a tradition - 26 years at Thousand Oaks and a couple of years here. Personally, the first chance I had to be a part of the future of the Cowboys in 1989 we came up here to work out and drill with the Oakland Raiders. It was an exciting time for me then, and no less exciting to be here now with us occupying these same headquarters. We've got a great tradition here in California.
This is an ideal place to prepare a football team. Everybody's sensitive and knows that that we probably have more awareness the last several years than we did the prior five, ten, fifteen years about heat and about some of the conditions that we have to build our team in during training camp. This certainly gives us one of the best climates in the United States to get that done and get repetitions that really can help make us a better team.
Finally, this is the second largest metropolitan area in the United States, and it doesn't have a football team. It has been said that in spite of ownership, the NFL is the most popular and the most watched and probably the most successful sport in the country today, but in our infinite wisdom as owners, we've ended up 10 years without having a team in the Los Angeles area. Now figure that one out. Still, we as a league are optimistic that it will happen at the right time, in the right place and under the right circumstances. But until then, we want to be here with the Dallas Cowboys, keeping them interested in not only the NFL, and that is important to us and important to our organization, but interested in our franchise.
Last year, when we were in San Antonio, I mentioned that when I first had the opportunity to officially kick things off in training camp with Bill Parcells as our head coach, I said this wasn't about a quick fix. If you will review with me back to that particular time I also said that this was about a change in philosophy. I would ask you to look at the events since training camp started last year, what we've done in personnel, what we've done as an organization, and I would hope that you would agree with me that we have had a change in philosophy since this time, training camp, last year.
The thing that we tried to do is certainly get better for the present, but our view was on building the future relative to personnel decisions and any other decision we make in the organization. I think our salary cap situation is the best that we've had since the current collective bargaining agreement was put in place 10 years ago as we sit right here today, and that's a good feeling as far as the state of the union of the Cowboys is concerned.
It's a good feeling to look at our roster and see the mix of veteran players, see the mix of players that know what Bill is about as well as the young players that can learn what he's about. It's a good feeling to look here and know where we are on the salary cap, know that we also are sitting here today with two number one picks in next year's draft, so we're in good shape as far as giving us some options in going forward to next year. That's a good feeling.
Our roster has competition at every position, and that's quite an improvement from where we started training camp last year. We've got more depth, in my opinion, than when we were sitting here 12 months ago. All of that points to enthusiasm.
From a personal perspective, I can tell you that this past year, having the opportunity to work alongside Bill Parcells, has been one of the most memorable, enjoyable and productive years of my sixteen years experience in the NFL. Our working relationship has exceeded by far anything that I could ever have imagined. His drive, his enthusiasm, his willingness to embrace many of the ideas that we've had, the way we do business, his respect for the tradition and what the Dallas Cowboys have been about as a franchise is everything that a person in my position could ever ask for.
I know there was some question mark at this time last year for our ability to work, make decisions and build. I said at that particular time I thought that we had the same thing in mind, and that's winning and trying to improve everyday. That has been the case. I know that I've never worked with anyone that had almost a single-mindedness of purpose about improving in every little way that we can on an everyday basis.
So as we go into this year, we've had success. Maybe if we hadn't had success, this might have been different, I don't know. But we certainly have positioned ourselves, and I can tell you that on a going forward basis, I'm even more enthused about working with Bill and making decision and doing the kinds of things everyday that will help us improve."
How are you going to go about handling Quincy Carter's contract situation, since he's going to be a free agent the season after this one?
He has one more year after this year, and frankly we're benefiting in that respect. That's the deal we made with them to draft him at the bottom of the second round. We got five years, so that we wouldn't get in no man's land in the middle of his contract and get in a situation where you might have to make a decision about an extension until we'd had a good opportunity to see where we're going. Of course, he's going in now to his fourth year of his contract, he's got three years behind him, and we're really going to know where we are at the end of this year as it pertains to his contract. But he does have one more year on his contract.
Can you talk more about your relationship with coach Parcells?
I probably am more [optimistic than him], and that optimism causes me to be a serious risk taker. Just from my perspective, Bill is a great compliment to the willingness to take risks. He certainly looks at it fro ma different perspective, and when that has to do with personnel or really many other decisions, I think that creates a good balance. With guys like Parcells, one and one has to be two. I try to get three out of one and one. Seriously, this is a good combination. Till the salary cap came along, I'd never had a budget about anything, and if I felt instinctively that we ought to go, I figured out a way to get the money to do it. That can get you hurt. I've had a lot of sad days because of the willingness to do that, and there's a lot of clean-up factor to that kind of attitude as well. But bottom line is that there is a good compliment here.
The other thing is that everyone here who has worked with us closely knows the feeling I have about this franchise, about, frankly, coach Landry and Tex Schramm. It is a franchise. This is just a period of time that I'm getting to help make decisions relative to the Dallas Cowboys as a franchise. I also have developed such an appreciation for Bill's role. He's got some very good perspectives about things other than about how a player will fit in, and that's as it should be. In the months and years ahead, I hope that what the Cowboys are is a product of what coach Landry and Tex Schramm did for 29 years, some things that we've sprinkled into it, and then Bill with his overall interest in this franchise and what he's added to it. I would hope that in the future we would make the franchise a part of a lot of the things that Bill has brought to the table too. That really fires me up.