Cowboys owner Jerry Jones offers latest example of undermining coach Jason Garrett

IRVING, Texas -- There is a reason all but two of the coaches Jerry Jones has hired since Jimmy Johnson left in 1993 have been first-time head coaches -- and Bill Parcells is the only big-name NFL coach Jones has ever hired.

Most established NFL coaches don't want to deal with the constant undermining, intentional or not, that takes place with Jones as the owner and general manager of the Dallas Cowboys. That’s why Jones has given coaches such as Barry Switzer, Chan Gailey, Dave Campo and Garrett their first NFL head-coaching jobs.

Jones, it seems, doesn't grasp players' perception of the head coach as ultimately deciding playing time and tenure with the team. When that doesn't happen, chaos has an opportunity to reign.

It happened last season when Jones plopped Greg Hardy on the roster. He insists Garrett approved of adding the controversial pass-rusher -- and maybe Garrett did -- because the Cowboys needed to help their pass rush.

But when Hardy started arriving late or missing Saturday morning walk-through practices, according to multiple sources, it never affected his starting status.

Players notice that type of double standard, and it makes them wonder whether Jones or Garrett is in charge.

This offseason, middle linebacker Rolando McClain, a key member of the defense, skipped every voluntary offseason minicamp. Yes, they are voluntary, but every other starter has attended them.

Garrett seemed irked by McClain's absence after explaining that McClain had a family matter for the third consecutive week.

"Rolando is dealing with a family situation in Alabama, and we’ve been in touch with him, but he has not been here," Garrett said. "We're going to talk about the people that have been here. I’d rather talk about the players that have been here."

Jones removed all ambiguity concerning McClain's presence.

"It's fair to everybody to understand that Rolando's boys -- his family lives in Alabama and he doesn't live with them. His former significant other is where they are. His offseason is spent with those boys, and that's an understanding we have when he came through the door," Jones said recently on 105.3 The Fan. "He has to be there to spend time with them, and we expect him to compensate for that.

"If you look at how his impact when he's there with us on the field, what he can do for our team," Jones said. "If you look at his background in the NFL, how he's evolved, I'm glad he's a Cowboy."

Well, now the perception certainly exists that another player is getting preferential treatment because of his relationship with Jones.

Understand: Perception is reality to most players.

Though McClain's circumstance isn't going to determine Garrett's ultimate success or failure, it doesn't make his job any easier.

After all these years, you would think Jones would understand that.