Open mouth, insert foot. Open eyes, cover face.
Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones ate his words and shielded his peepers during the team’s Thanksgiving afternoon loss to the Buffalo Bills — a game in which Dallas may have finally quit on embattled head coach Jason Garrett.
His verbal demonstration of displeasure occurred in the third as the Cowboys attempted to mount a comeback. A fourth-and-goal swing pass to Ezekiel Elliott fell incomplete, prompting a visceral reaction from Jones.
Perhaps Jones regrets saying what he did before the game, that Garrett is a “master” at his job, and doing what he did, outwardly praising the lame-duck coach days after eviscerating him through the media.
“Jason has tremendous respect of the players on this football team,” Jones said, via ESPN‘s Todd Archer. “I’ll assure you that you won’t find somebody that knows how to do all of the things a head coach has to do better than Jason Garrett … I’ve said this: to have the perfect picture, we just need to get him a Super Bowl, then we’ll settle up.”
Presenting a united front at a time of great uncertainty, at a place of crossroads, is General Managing 101. And it fulfilled its intended purpose, at least initially.
The Cowboys responded to swirling critique by dominating the Bills on their opening series, taking a quick 7-0 lead while Garrett — smiling, loose, and displaying uncharacteristic emotion — looked on.
But the white-hot start fizzled just as quickly, and Dallas was held off the scoreboard for the remainder of Turkey Day, save for a garbage-time TD in the final frame. Buffalo skated to a 26-15 victory in a game that wasn’t as close as the score indicates.
ESPN’s Ed Werder, upon conferring with a “high-ranking” source, reported prior to kickoff that Jerry Jones and VP Stephen Jones will allow Garrett to finish the year “no matter what.”
We shall find out …
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Cowboys Eyeing Jason Witten as Garrett Replacement?
The Cowboys coaxed Jason Witten out of retirement to play tight end for the 2019 campaign. In 2020, he could have a new title — a huge title.
Speculation is running rampant linking Witten to the Cowboys’ potential head-coaching vacancy, with multiple members of the local media pegging the 37-year-old as a successor to Garrett, who’s likely to depart next offseason, barring a deep playoff run.
The Dallas Morning News’ Tim Cowlishaw was the first to connect the dots, touting Witten as a more viable candidate than current Oklahoma coach and perceived favorite Lincoln Riley, who’s reportedly drawn the eye of Jerry Jones.
“I think that’s always a possibility,” Cowlishaw said recently on the Rich Eisen Show. “If Jerry truly believes all the players are in place, some of these assistants – maybe not the special teams coach today – some of these assistants are pretty good, but a different voice and a more fiery personality is what this team needs. I could see him doing that. I don’t think it’s the smartest thing in the world, but I know a lot of people who think it could happen.”
As his playing ability is concerned, Witten showed that gas still remains in the figurative tank. He totaled six catches for 42 yards and a touchdown against the Bills, becoming the fourth player (second tight end) in NFL history to surpass 1,200 career receptions.
Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL