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Thursday, November 21, 2013
Jones wants to stick to his guns on Garrett

By Tim MacMahon

IRVING, Texas -- On days like this, it's important to remember one of Jerry Jones' favorite lines: "Just because I say it doesn't make it so."

In other words, Jones' public commitment to Jason Garrett continuing to be the Dallas Cowboys' head coach next year, regardless of the results the rest of this season, really don't guarantee Garrett any job security.

Just ask Wade Phillips. Jones repeatedly insisted that he wouldn't change head coaches under any circumstances in the middle of the 2010 season. That was absolutely true ... until Jones changed his mind following a lopsided loss at Lambeau Field that dropped Dallas to 1-7.

This isn't a matter of questioning Jones' integrity. In cases like this, he truly means what he says at the moment it comes out of his mouth. But there's a reason the rest of the general managers in the NFL don't do two weekly radio shows and frequent television appearances along with holding postgame news conferences and the occasional midweek meeting with the media.

Jones has armadillo shell for skin, so he doesn't mind his feet being held to the fire if he reverses direction with these sorts of decisions. And it isn't too difficult for skeptics to envision him feeling forced into changing his mind if the Cowboys falter in the final six games and fail to make the playoffs again.

You know the general manager isn't going to be the fall guy if the Cowboys miss the playoffs for the fifth consecutive season. Jones has hired seven head coaches during his 25-year tenure, so what's one more?

All that being said, don't assume that his vote of confidence is a kiss of death. Remember his Week 17 vow that Phillips would return regardless of the result of the win-or-go-home finale? Well, Wade survived the 44-6 flop in Philadelphia.

You should know that Jones really wants to stick to his guns with Garrett.

Nothing could make him prouder than Garrett enjoying success as the Cowboys' head coach. The redhead former third-string quarterback and son of a longtime Cowboys scout is Jones' guy.

Never mind the financial aspect. Jones has never had more invested in a head coach when it comes to ego and emotions.

There's a personal relationship that is decades old, and there's the pride of identifying Garrett as a head coach candidate before anyone else did and doing what it took to keep him at Valley Ranch when he became one of the NFL's hottest coaching candidates during Phillips' tenure.

If Garrett succeeds with the Cowboys, Jones gets to take a large share of the credit. That's reason enough to believe that he really is committed to giving Garrett every reasonable chance of attempting to rebuild a championship team.

He will look for reasons to keep Garrett, not reasons to fire him. It'd take some terrible circumstances to make today's truth change at the end of the season.