Jason Garrett isn’t going anywhere.
That is, of course, what Dallas Cowboys‘ owner Jerry Jones would love for you to believe, doubling down on his commitment to the head coach for the 2018 season and beyond. Speaking from the Senior Bowl in Mobile, AL, earlier this offseason he made it clear there is no ultimatum on Garrett heading into September, despite being eliminated from playoff contention in late December and stumbling forward to a 9-7 record. As a matter of fact, as he more-or-less describes it, the seat is as cold as an arctic breeze up a Scottish kilt.
“It’s fair for you to ask,” Jones said when posed the question, via Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “But he’s not on my hot seat.”
Now that we’ve gotten the public relations stuff out of the way, let’s talk turkey here. Jones is the same owner who once proclaimed he’d never fire a head coach in the middle of a season. Shortly after that declaration, Wade Phillips was on the first thing smoking with his clothes in a bag tied to a stick, so to speak. And although the commitment to Garrett (Phillips’ successor) is obvious as of late, which is deep-rooted in the team’s investment in him, even that angle is beginning to wear thin on an aging Jones. To put it succinctly, the Hall of Fame owner isn’t immortal and he’d like to see the team win another Super Bowl while he still draws air.
Ring of Honor inductee Darren Woodson agrees, the legendary safety having a hard time reconciling Jones’ statement with the logistics of the situation.
“Absolutely [he’s on the hot seat],” he said in a recent talk with Fox 4 Sports in Dallas. “I think they have to find a way to get into the playoffs this year.”
With that obvious point made, let’s flesh this out a bit. Is every downturn of the Cowboys in the past few seasons attributable to Garrett? Surely not. He is, however, responsible for managing the team and it’s coaching staff and, ironically, it’s the latter that may be his undoing. A favorite of the players and much more stern than the general media and most casual fans would have you believe, Garrett has made serious strides as head coach since his interim tag was removed following the 2010 season. Injuries to key positions have derailed entire seasons and NFL officiating hasn’t helped — see the infamous reversed call in Green Bay and a blatant blind eye to holding calls in 2018, for example — but the recent dynamic between himself and offensive coordinator Scott Linehan now has them tied at the hip for the future.
For better or for worse, Garrett has given his mentor a lot of roster power as it relates to who stays and who goes, and 2018 will either be their saving grace in the wake of now losing three legends in Tony Romo, Dez Bryant and Jason Witten — or it’ll be their swan song.
If the team lays an egg for virtually any reason at all, and the two are sent packing, who is worthy to step in and take the reigns? In the latest episode of “Catch This Fade!”, I lock horns with K.D. Drummond of The Cowboys Wire as we go through our individual list of top candidates.
Things get exceptionally heated in this latest debate, enough so you could whip out some marshmallows and make s’mores with it.