- Jean-Jacques Taylor, ESPN Staff Writer
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IRVING, Texas -- The Dallas Cowboys have had only four winless preseasons in their illustrious history that began in 1960.
Jason Garrett is not obsessed with avoiding a fifth - and that’s a good thing. He’s much more concerned with evaluating players and ensuring he gets the right 53 players on the roster.
So Garrett has no intention of playing quarterback Tony Romo or some of the Cowboys’ other key veterans just to increase the odds of winning and avoiding the Cowboys' first winless preseason since 2000.
They also went 0-5 in 1962, 1986 and 1998.
“We play the games to win there’s no question about that. That’s line 1,” Garrett said. “Having said that you have a lot of other objectives. The player rotation throughout the preseason indicates, to you, our No.1 job is to evaluate players and cut the team down the right way and make sure we give guys plenty of opportunities to show what they can do in those competitive game-like situations.
“Winning certainly matters. That’s why we keep score and do what we do, but in the preseason you want to make sure you’re accomplishing some other things as well.”
Giving running backs Joseph Randle and Ryan Williams opportunities to earn the job on the field or seeing Dustin Vaughan attempt to rally the third-team to a win ranks much higher on Garrett’s priority list than winning.
“Getting a third unit at the end of the game to drive the ball and kick a field goal or score a touchdown to win it is important,” Garrett said. “Those are great opportunities to evaluate individuals and groups of players.”
Besides, a winless preseason doesn’t equate to a disastrous season.
The Cowboys followed up their winless preseason in 1998 with a division title under first-year coach Chan Gailey. In the past five seasons, 13 NFL teams have had winless preseasons, but four still made the playoffs, including three division winners.