Jerry Jones claims that HC Jason Garrett's job is safe
Jason Garrett is not your ultra-intense, fiery head coach, a la Mike Tomlin or Jim Harbaugh, but rather displays a more finesse coaching style. Garrett - a former NFL quarterback - wins with intricate game-planning and timely play calling. Jones had massive expectations for Garrett, and felt that he would eventually be the answer to the Cowboys' Super Bowl drought, which is now going on 18 years.
Garrett was promoted a bit prematurely due to a 1-7 start to the 2010 season under Phillips, but the young head coach turned the team around in the second half, going 5-3.
Despite the hype that surrounded Garrett, as well as the big spending of Jones, the Cowboys have registered just a .500 record in each season since Garrett's first year behind the helm (8-8 in both 2011 and 2012, 5-5 in 2013). It has resulted in a modest 26-24 career record for Garrett, and while that is not horrible, the extravagant Jones expects Super Bowl runs out of his teams, and Garrett has never even made the playoffs.
Failing to take advantage of the surprising struggles of their NFC East rivals, the Cowboys currently find themselves biting their nails, sitting half a game behind the Philadelphia Eagles for first place in the division, with the New York Giants (who face the Cowboys this weekend) just a game behind. For the third consecutive season as the full-time head coach, it looks like there is a good chance that Garrett disappoints once again. Jones, however, is not ready to pull the plug on his handpicked head coach just yet.
Jones said on Thursday that Garrett's job is safe for the 2014 season, regardless of how the current season ends. It is a bit surprising that Jones would say that now, while the Cowboys are in the thick of a playoff race. Perhaps he is trying to get his team to focus on the current season rather than the future, but it seems like giving his underperforming squad a sense of urgency could have been a better idea.
Part of what may keep Garrett around longer than the typical disappointing Cowboys head coach is that Jones has talked him up so much. Jones is a proud man, and he does not want to prematurely admit that he made a mistake in hiring Garrett - he'll make sure that Garrett was the wrong choice before giving him the boot.
Stripped of his play calling duties before this season, I don't believe that Garrett will ever be the answer. As I said before, he is not a powerful motivator, so without play calling privileges, I wonder just how much of a positive impact Garrett provides.
If I were running the show in Dallas, I would probably want to light a fire under my mild-mannered head coach in this situation, but Jones seems to be trying to keep Garrett calm while he makes a run at the postseason. Despite Jones' claims, it is very realistic that if Garrett's squad misses out on the playoffs for a third consecutive season, we very well could see Jones pull the plug.