Is Dan Orlovsky right about Jerry Jones and the Cowboys wanting to be mediocre?

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Former NFL quarterback, Dan Orlovsky, has become one of the better analysts on ESPN programming over the past few years. Despite not having the best NFL career he knows the game and can break it down in a way that’s easily digestible for viewers. Orlovsky sounded off on Jerry Jones and the Dallas Cowboys Thursday morning, slapping the label of “mediocre” on America’s team.

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“The Cowboys don’t really want to go be great. They want to be relevant, and they want to be mediocre.” — Dan Orlovsky

First, Orlovsky isn’t wrong about Jones and his Cowboys staying relevant. Even the word mediocre (which some of you get mad when it’s attached to certain average QBs) has been legit at times when speaking of Dallas. Being mediocre and “wanting” to be mediocre aren’t the same.

It’s hard to believe those players go out every Sunday intent on the status quo. They are trying to win, but they’re impeded by certain factors that are out of their control sometimes. Jones is one of those factors, as Orlovsky points out. Anytime you have to wonder if the owner/general manager is going to make the right move (or any move), that’s a big problem.

This year’s salary cap increase is the largest in league history. Let’s see if Jones makes the necessary moves like signing another running back to pair with Tony Pollard if he returns. One of the big names out there is Derrick Henry, although there’s a slim chance he stays in Tennessee.

Even if neither of those backs pan out for Dallas, there are a few other productive names out there. Some of the other options that could be available to the Cowboys are Saquon Barkley, Josh Jacobs, Austin Ekeler and D’Andre Swift among others. So, whether Pollard stays or goes, there should be plenty of alternatives for Jones to pursue in free agency.

You just never know with Jerry. No one expects him to break the bank on a RB (again), that’s not how the NFL rolls these days, but some improvement is needed at the position. Dallas rushed for their lowest number of yards as a team since 2020. That’s not a good look in Pollard’s first year as the main man in the backfield.

If one aspect of the Cowboys was mediocre in 2023 it was the running game. But this franchise will always be relevant with Jones leading the way. That doesn’t mean they’ll be a championship-level team, but it does mean we’ll talk about them regardless. Orlovsky’s rant about Dallas “wanting” to be mediocre seems a little off kilter. Striving for mediocrity and just being that by default are two different things. Sometimes people (or entities) just are who they are. Surely, Orlovsky didn’t set out for below-average in the NFL, but stuff happens.

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