JJ on Jason Garrett: Not 'looking dire'
OXNARD, Calif. -- Dallas Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones doesn't view 2014 as a win-or-else year for his head coach even as Jason Garrett enters the final year of his contract.
"In terms of the record of this team, this is not a make-or-break situation for Jason and members of this staff," Jones said at the Cowboys' opening training camp news conference. "We've got a job to do. We obviously want to zero in on what we have to do this afternoon and what we do the next day and the next day and the next day.
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"I know firsthand that we've got a relationship, that I have a relationship (with Garrett) and there's nobody that has a better feel for me than Jason, in terms of the relationship. We both know where our expectations are and when it's looking good and when it's looking dire. And I don't expect it to be the latter."
Garrett has a 29-27 record since taking over in the middle of the 2010 season for Wade Phillips but has posted three straight 8-8 records in which the Cowboys have missed out on the playoffs with Week 17 NFC East losses each time.
The Cowboys have retooled their roster since Garrett took over. Only eight of the 90 players on the current roster remain from when Garrett became Phillips' replacement.
They will also have their third defensive coordinator and third offensive playcaller in as many years in Rod Marinelli and Scott Linehan respectively.
Quarterback Tony Romo, who turned 34 in April, is coming off major back surgery but will do everything when practices begin Thursday.
Jones has often spoken of Super Bowl expectations in the past, but was more tempered on Wednesday.
"We've never had more new faces, yet have the optimism that I have for those new faces, many of them are experienced veterans to some degree," Jones said. "Certainly, we've got our share of rookies and rookie free agents, but still, I'm very optimistic that we have a team that can come together ... It's not about next year. We've gone from possibly being one of the older teams to being one of the younger teams, but I think we've got the fundamentals to compete and compete right now."
Jones has acknowledged in the past that he wants to gain the benefit of Garrett's on-the-job-training from the coach's first three-plus seasons, but has not had discussions about an extension.
Garrett has maintained the same day-at-a-time approach and does not worry about his future.
"We have so much to focus on as coaches to try to build this football team the way we want to build it so that's where our focus is," Garrett said. "That's been my focus since Day 1. It was my focus as a player, just try to be the best player each and every day and I certainly try to do that as the head coach of this team with our staff, with our players, try to provide the leadership and guidance that everybody needs and that's where my attention is, that's where my focus is and that's where it's always been."