FRISCO (105.3 THE FAN) – Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said on Tuesday from the Senior Bowl in Mobile that coach Jason Garrett is “not on my hot seat.’’
To most Cowboys observers — even the ones like me who think highly of Garrett but cannot help but concede a lack of sustained success during his time — it is a mind-boggling, nerve-jangling, confidence-shaking statement, except for one thing.
Un-boggle your mind. Un-jangle your nerves. Un-shake your confidence in regard to Jerry and Stephen Jones’ hunger for success. Because when Jerry was asked if ‘RedBall’ is on the hot seat, and when he answers, “It’s fair for you to ask, but he’s not on my hot seat.” …Mr. Jones is not telling the truth.
The vibe in the building, the mood inside The Star, the movement on the coaching staff, all tell a different tale.
Jerry is being honest when he says, “I would like for Jason to repeat as Coach of the Year within 24 months,” Jones said. “He’s capable of doing that if we do good next year, be Coach of the Year twice in 24 months. That would be great.”
Garrett was indeed the NFL Coach of the Year after a 2016 season in which he led Dallas to a 13-3 record. And he is certainly capable of doing it again; the difference between the Cowboys and the Super Bowl-bound Eagles is demonstrated in the truth of league parity: Dallas ended the 2016 season with a meaningless game at Philly, meaningless because the Cowboys were going places and the Eagles weren’t. Exactly a year later, to close the 2017 season, Dallas again ended the season with a meaningless game at Philly, meaningless because the Eagles were going places and the Cowboys weren’t.
The upcoming season in the NFC East can work that way again. Or it can work in a way that has the Giants and Redskins playing meaningful Week 17 games. But in this era of parity, it is fair for Cowboys Nation to wonder, “OK, everybody gets a turn to be great; but when it is our turn?’’
Garrett’s Cowboys were 9-7 last season as he missed the playoffs for the fifth time in his seven full seasons. (If course it’s not just on Garrett; the Joneses, the staff and the players all missed the playoffs for the fifth time in seven seasons, too.)
But the Joneses, have, to their credit, given Garrett rope to try different ways to sustain excellence. He has the power to dictate game plans and strategies, of course, has a huge voice in the personnel department, and has gotten his way in staff hires and responsibilities.
That’s occurred this offseason, too, as the Cowboys have made coaching staff changes under Garrett, a handful of 2017 staffers paying the price of franchise failure with their jobs.
There would be no logic in Jerry Jones admitting his head coach is, entering the penultimate year on his contract, on “my hot seat.’’ But logic tells us it’s a privately-held concept, that demanding real success from the 2018 Cowboys is necessary, and that the head coach will, if that success isn’t found, will be hot-seated out of a job.