The writing is plastered all over the walls at The Star, underlined thrice in red Sharpie. Jason Garrett, by all accounts, has coached his last game with the Dallas Cowboys, and he’s simply waiting to seal his fate with the higher-ups.
Garrett wore resignation on his face during Sunday’s season-ending blowout of the Washington Redskins. He knew what was about to come, what had been in the works for months. Now, he’s talking like it, too.
The decade-long head man addressed Cowboys players and assistant coaches on Monday as the organization gathered for exit interviews on what’s commonly known as Garbage Bag Day for non-playoff teams.
Per NFL Network’s Jane Slater, Garrett spoke as if he’s been dismissed, even though a formal decision was not yet made.
“Garrett told players things like “I’m proud of you guys” “I appreciate everything you guys have done for me”. I was told “it felt like goodbye without saying goodbye” still no word on his current meeting w Joneses,” Slater tweeted.
WFAA’s Mike Leslie claimed in a Monday afternoon tweet the Cowboys fired their entire coaching staff — a tweet that he soon backtracked on. It was a jumped-gun report disputed by several media members, including Slater, who passed along Garrett’s message to his soon-to-be-former cohorts.
“Multiple sources tell me Jason Garrett met w coaches/assistants today & addressed those with expiring contracts. He told them, “as you well know you can look for work elsewhere” & this would be “sorted out in the 24-48 hours”. Jerry Jones hasn’t informed anyone they’re fired yet,” Slater tweeted.
Garrett’s contract with the club officially expires on Jan. 14, Slater reported. But there are others whose deals are up and whose futures equally as murky: Defensive backs coach/passing game coordinator Kris Richard, running backs coach Gary Brown, tight ends coach Doug Nussmeier, and safeties coach Greg Jackson, among others.
It’s likely that Dallas’ next head coach, whoever that is, will sort through Garrett’s holdovers, granted the authority to assemble his own staff.
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Garrett Declared Interest in Returning as Cowboys’ HC
Too little, too late for the Cowboys. Close but no cigar for Garrett. The squad saved one of their best performances of the season for last, boat-racing the rival Redskins, 47-16, in the 2019 finale. The result ultimately was for naught, as 9-7 Philadelphia captured the NFC East title — and eliminated the 8-8 Cowboys from playoff contention — with their win over the Giants.
And the clock has run out on the embattled Garrett, who’s spent the past three months perched atop a white-hot coaching seat. The 53-year-old is about to become a free agent and a wide-ranging search for Garrett’s successor is imminent. Or is it?
“I have no idea,” Garrett responded Sunday night when asked if he expects to return, per Pro Football Talk. “. . .I want to be the coach of the Dallas Cowboys. We will see what happens.”
The Cowboys’ full-time HC since 2011, Garrett compiled an 85-67 regular-season record at the helm. Persistent reports have stated that he needed to make the postseason, then reach the NFC Championship Game (something he’d never accomplished), to keep his job.
He oversaw the most fruitless decade in franchise history with only three playoff appearances across 10 seasons. The 2019 outfit, which began 3-0, had Super Bowl aspirations, propped up by a championship-caliber (or so we thought) roster that was continually hampered by poor coaching.
Garrett Reportedly in ‘No Demand’ Among NFL Suitors
This, according to Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio, who reported Monday “it’s currently not believed” that Garrett will interview for a head-coaching opening in Carolina, Washington, New York, or Carolina — or anywhere.
Florio speculates that Garrett may settle for a coordinating job, take a year away from the sport, join the media, or even bolt to the college ranks, from which his successor may emerge.
“There is no bar,” Jones said regarding a potential Garrett extension, via Mark Lane of WFAA Sports. “When I say that, I don’t mean that there’s not a level of a point where I determined it’s just not working or determined that it’s working. But there’s many things. There’s boxes to be checked. Listen, Jason Garrett has checked a lot of positive boxes when you start looking at coaches and the aptitude and the quality of coach. They’re mistaken. He’s got a tremendous list of things that he’s about. You can say — and think about this, men — you can say that a guy that’s been coaching 10 years should have a Super Bowl. Do you want to list the thousands of coaches that don’t have a Super Bowl or the equivalent of it and have been coaching 10 years? And do you want to list the how many numbers that have multiple Super Bowls that have been coaching 10 years? My point is it’s a high, high bar. And, so, you got to look at how and what you’re doing and what we’re trying to do and what we’re about as an organization. I read something the other day that with Jerry’s money he ought to go out and whatever it takes hire a coach to win the Super Bowl. If I knew he could win a Super Bowl, then you might think like that. The problem is you don’t know who could guarantee you a Super Bowl. I’ve seen a lot of coaches. I’ve seen their names mentioned, but they can’t guarantee me a Super Bowl or guarantee my fans a Super Bowl. And I know that. And I know the things that have to go on and what has to fall right there to get it done. And, so, I approach when I look at coach, coaching. It isn’t just the head coach. I look at all coaches. I think about there’s no excuses. Who’s got the exclusive skills to get the job done so that collectively you can win a Super Bowl? But there are qualified people. Jason Garrett is one of them. In my opinion, Jason Garrett will be coaching in the NFL next year.”
Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL