Winning cures all in the NFL. It could even turn pink slips into get-out-of-jail-free cards.
Exhibit A: The Dallas Cowboys, who appeared ready to move on from walk-year head coach Jason Garrett when the team was mired in a three-game losing skid. It likely wouldn’t have happened at the Week 8 bye, but it was a no-brainer that he’d be shown the door at year’s end.
Now, because Dallas thoroughly whipped the rival Philadelphia Eagles, 37-10, on national television, the incumbent is being welcomed back — for the long haul, potentially.
“I am looking for reasons. I’m looking for reasons to keep him,” Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said Monday, per Pro Football Talk. “It’s merited here. It’s hard to get an effective coach and get it locked in with all you have to do retool and redo. I’m comfortable. We have established some security apart from the won-loss. He represents the organization well on and off the field. You don’t have to wake up in the morning reading about it.”
Garrett has held the Cowboys’ top coaching position since 2011 and has gone 81-62 in the regular season over that span. But his playoff teams have never advanced past the Divisional Round and often, like prior to the Eagles game, severely underachieve with a Super Bowl-caliber roster.
But he can clap with the best of them, and Jones perceives Garrett as an amiable head man who garners respect from his staff and whose players never quit on him.
“Head coach, right there beside him the offensive coordinator, the play caller, they’re going to get a lot of shots from time to time because we all know it doesn’t go right at all [all the time] so get ready,” Jones said, per PFT. “But I’ve seen him, and I’ve seen him handle it, but I’ve not seen a concern, and I’ve experienced it to where players, key players, have an issue with the coach. I haven’t seen that with Garrett.”
Garrett is in the final year of the five-year, $30 million deal he signed in 2015. Cowboys vice president Stephen Jones is on record as admitting “we’re not into” midseason firings, so Garrett undoubtedly is safe for 2019.
The question becomes: How long beyond 2019 will he hang around?
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Jerry Deflects on Garrett Scenario
If Jones is so impressed by Garrett, then why doesn’t he simply lock him down now and spare the franchise from the hoop-jumping next offseason?
It’s a valid query that was raised to Jones, who stated last week Garrett would be a “very sought-after” entity on the open market. But the Cowboys’ czar didn’t take kindly to another person telling him how to do his job, strongly sidestepping the plausibility.
“Do you need my health examination as well? Or my health record?,” Jones said, via PFT. “I’m not going to talk about that, and you know I’m not. Really, I’m not.”
Garrett Fires Back at Urban Meyer Coaching Comments
As his blistering hot seat (temporarily) cools, Garrett is taking the opportunity to address recent hoopla surrounding arguably the most revered coaching gig in sports. In particular, the remarks made by former Ohio State coach Urban Meyer, who indirectly expressed a strong interest in replacing Garrett if (or when) he departs.
“I don’t really think much about anything like that,” Garrett said on 105.3 The Fan on Monday, via The Athletic. “I really just kind of focus on doing my job as well as I can do it each day. Fortunate to have the group of coaches we have.”
To Garrett’s credit, he executed his job exceptionally well amid Sunday night’s stomping of the hated Eagles, outcoaching supposed offensive “genius” Doug Pederson in the blowout victory, which gave Dallas sole possession of first place in the NFC East.
It was a win that saved Garrett from the bye-week firing squad, unlikely as that may have been. It was also a win highlighted by the star players whom Meyer specifically mentioned while talking up Big D as the premier NFL destination, dumping fuel on an already raging fire.
“That’s the one. Great city. They got Dak Prescott, Zeke Elliott. You got a loaded team…The one job in pro football that you say, ‘I got to go do that,'” Meyer said last week.
Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL