There is simply one question that every single person associated in any way with the NFL is being asked in radio interviews these days. Given the current lockout and the state of the NFL, what are the odds that there is a full NFL season come this fall?
Certainly there have been a wide array of answers to this point, ranging from those who are confident there will be a season to those who think there will be a shortened version to those who may not think it will happen at all. Stephen Jones, the executive vice president of the Dallas Cowboys and son of owner Jerry Jones, may be the most confident yet, at least in terms of numbers.
When asked to put a percentage chance out there that the season will start on time, Jones answered that he is 99.9 percent sure that the Cowboys’ season will open as scheduled against the New York Jets on Sept. 11.
Stephen Jones joined 105.3 The Fan in Dallas with Shan Shariff and RJ Choppy to discuss how his role has changed with the lockout, the difficulty of going into the draft without free agency, if the Cowboys could select a quarterback, what it is like working with Jason Garrett on his first draft, who has the say when it comes to making picks and his confidence level that there will be a full NFL season.
Has he had more involvement in the draft given the state of the lockout?:
“I don’t think so. I think it’s allowed us just to concentrate on the draft and not have our mind wandering on free agency or have our coaches thinking about getting their players worked out and ready to go. There’s been a 100 percent focused on the draft.”
How much more difficult is it to go into the draft having not had free agency yet?:
“I think it could be used as an advantage. We’ll just draft here when this draft comes up and take the best player on the board. I think we could end up having a more pure draft at the end of the day and end up with better players rather than drafting for need. We can draft here and then when we finally do go back to work, wherever we still have needs, we can look at that in free agency.”
Have the Cowboys discussed the quarterback position and perhaps the need to get an heir apparent for Tony Romo?:
“You can just look no further than last year and see that you always need a good quarterback. But we drafted Stephen McGee two years ago with a high pick, a fourth-round pick. We’re not necessarily looking for a replacement for Tony as much as we’re wanting to have good quarterbacks. You end up with a good young one and Tony’s still having a great career. … It’s all in front of Tony and I think Tony’s got every bit of five or six years left in him, if not more.”
What will it be like working with Jason Garrett in his first NFL Draft as head coach?:
“One thing we’ve seen already is that Jason is so diligent in his homework. He’s really studying these guys when he’s not in the room. He’s got a great perspective and is obviously a very smart guy. He’s already brought a lot to our room and really helped us out in sorting through all this.”
Who gets the final say on picks in the draft?:
“We really try to get a consensus. It’s not one guy just saying, ‘This is the way we’re going to go’ or Jerry counting on one guy. We really try to work it between the scouts, the coaching staff, Jason, myself, Jerry, the medical staff. … If you get into a situation where you have a divided room … then obviously Jerry breaks that tie.”
What’s the percentage that the season will actually begin on 9/11 with Dallas taking on the New York Jets?:
“Right now I feel like it’s 99.9. We feel like there’s going to be football; we feel like it’s going to be uninterrupted. We’re positive that, as we move forward here and these things play out, we’ll ultimately have a deal.”