Jason Garrett sticks with the process

April, 1, 2014
Apr 1
2:30
PM ET
Jason Garrett is a man who deals with the process. His process is work hard today, tomorrow and next week.

Garrett’s stance on building a football program hasn’t changed. It never will. Garrett is a man who understands history.

[+] EnlargeGarrett/Jones
AP Photo/G.M. AndrewsCowboys owner Jerry Jones has said coach Jason Garrett is "his man." But how much longer will his allegiance last?
When he first became coach of the Dallas Cowboys he brought back the Blue and White scrimmage in training camp.

Now the previous coach, Wade Phillips, had training camp scrimmages, but Garrett knew the significance of calling it ‘Blue and White’ because that’s what Tom Landry called it.

Garrett is a traditionalist.

He won’t change from his core beliefs.

But Garrett, more than any other time during his tenure as head coach, is under fire.

He enters the last year of his contract and there is no guarantee he’ll survive the 2014 season. Garrett’s boss, Jerry Jones, doesn’t believe his man is a lame duck. Jones isn’t in a hurry to give the head coach a contract extension, either.

Jones said last week Garrett is his guy and a contract doesn’t mean anything at this point because you can still get fired.

Jones is going to let Garrett earn his next contract.

If the Cowboys fail to make the postseason in 2014, it’s doubtful Garrett returns.

Why should he return?

Garrett knows the business better than anyone having survived as a backup quarterback in the 1990s and talking to various coaches about the business such as Larry Brown, Rick Carlisle, Nick Saban and Mike Krzyzewski.

Garrett won’t admit it, but if he doesn’t win, he’s looking for work next winter.

One thing Garrett won’t do is change.

“You need to show it immediately, as you’re trying to put your program in place you’re playing games and the games count,” Garrett said when asked about the results of his program. “That started in the middle of the 2010 season when I took over as the interim head coach. These games on Sunday count. We understand that. The sense of urgency we have as coaches and players is palpable, is strong. Having said that, you’ve got to be careful about being shortsighted and make it all immediate results oriented. You want to put your program in place, you want to bring the right kind of people in, and you want to make the right decisions for your team now and going forward. That’s what we’ve tried to do.”

Garrett, however, made tweaks to his plan. That’s probably what coaches have told him about surviving in the business.

Be open to change.

Garrett developed a bond with Rob Ryan, the former defensive coordinator, but Jones fired him. So Jones hired Monte Kiffin last season and the Cowboys finished last in defense. Garrett had to stick with the company line and support Kiffin.

Garrett grudgingly gave up play calling duties to Bill Callahan last season.

When it didn’t work out, Garrett said to Jones he wanted his own man and that’s when Scott Linehan was hired.

Garrett has to adjust to an owner that wants results.

He has no choice, because all he has is the process.

“We put ourselves in the position to achieve our immediate goal which is to win the NFC East,” he said. “Hopefully that takes us on a path to be a Super Bowl champion. That’s what our tangible goals are. We put ourselves in great position to do that, each of the last three years we just haven’t gotten that done. But we understand the balance of trying to put a program in and understanding you have to win in this league. We’ll continue to approach it in a very similar fashion.”
Calvin Watkins joined ESPNDallas.com in September 2009. He's covered the Cowboys since 2006 and also has covered colleges, boxing and high school sports.

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