Jerry Jones spoke at length Sunday night but didn’t actually say much. You could almost smell verbal diarrhea emanating from the Dallas Cowboys boss’s maw after his club was officially eliminated from playoff contention — after a 47-16 beatdown of the Washington Redskins in the 2019 finale, no less.
As the Philadelphia Eagles defeated the New York Giants to clinch the NFC East title, attention quickly turned to Dallas coach Jason Garrett, whose contract will formally expire on Jan. 14. Garrett, long perched on the hot seat, is expected to be dismissed in favor of a new head man following his decade-long reign.
But Jones wasn’t ready to make any definitive calls.
“I’m not going to get into it at all, an evaluation or an assessment. I’m not,” he told reporters after the game, per the team’s official website. “I’m going to do exactly what I always do and get up, go forward and do the best job that I can.”
The Cowboys’ full-time head man since 2011, Garrett’s compiled an 85-67 regular-season record at the helm. Persistent reports have stated that he needed to secure a postseason bid, then advance to the NFC Championship Game (which he’s never accomplished), to keep his job.
Jones, who claimed Sunday night “there’s no door shut here,” previously suggested that it’s Super Bowl-or-bust for the Cowboys. Meaning Garrett is you-know-what out of luck, as an 8-8 mark — the very definition of average — simply won’t do. The NFL’s most mercurial executive, although (publicly) undecided on the 53-year-old’s fate, seemed to hint at significant alterations coming to the organization.
“I make changes, and I certainly can see myself making a lot of changes in a lot of areas,” he said, per Pro Football Talk. “Just the times call for that. I am about change. I change a lot.”
Somewhat bizarrely, Jones repeated in his post-game remarks that he may not make a decision at all, before being reminded Garrett is technically a free agent. He will have to reach a decision: Re-sign him or wave bye-bye. But he doesn’t need to, and won’t, make it immediately, however.
“This is a difficult time, a very difficult time,” Jones said, via PFT. “We’ve got a lot to consider here. I do. It’s well known. There is no question that Jason has been pleasant part of my life. It’s certainly more than football — from being a player here, what he has meant as a coach, what he has meant as a working associate. He has just got a place for me. That is that. If he’s coaching for the Cowboys or if he has not, he has done that. We have had that kind of life together.”
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Garrett Wants to Return as HC
Too little, too late for the Cowboys. Close but no cigar for Garrett. The team saved one of their best performances of the year for last, dominating the rival Redskins. The result ultimately was for naught, as the 9-7 Eagles brought the division crown home to the City of Brotherly Love.
And the clock figures to have run out on the perennially embattled Garrett, the successor for whom should be found in a wide-ranging search that appears imminent. Or is it?
Garrett expressed his desire to stay put in Big D for 2020 (and likely beyond) but conceded it’s clear as mud whether he’s indeed retained or, much to the delight of Cowboys fans, sent packing.
“I have no idea,” he said, per Pro Football Talk. “. . .I want to be the coach of the Dallas Cowboys. We will see what happens.”
It would be a downright shocking development if Garrett was brought back. Consider: He oversaw the most fruitless decade in franchise history with only three playoff appearances across 10 seasons, ESPN’s Ed Werder noted. 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.
NFL Insider Reveals Unforeseen Development on Cowboys’ Coaching Search
We knew Garrett was a goner barring a deep postseason run. We knew a deep postseason run was improbable given Dallas’ brutal losses this season (Jets, Bears, Eagles).
Here’s something we didn’t know heading into Week 17, courtesy NFL Network insider Mike Garafolo: Jones is doing market research within The Star regarding the club’s next HC.
“As much as people talk about Jerry Jones being the guy that makes all the decisions in the Cowboys’ building, he has actually sought the advice of some key players this past week and is expected to do so going forward,” Garafolo reported Sunday morning. “Jones [is] really taking the feedback on what went wrong because he wants to know what the players think as he goes forward and makes some key decisions for the Cowboys organization.”
Garafolo’s coworker, Ian Rapoport, floated three front-runner candidates expected to draw Cowboys consideration: Oklahoma HC Lincoln Riley, Baylor HC Matt Rhule, and former Panthers HC Ron Rivera, who’s the heavy favorite for Washington’s opening.
Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL