Tuesday, December 13, 2011
Updated: December 14, 10:43 AM ET
Jerry Jones: Jason Garrett's job is safe
By Calvin Watkins
IRVING, Texas -- The Dallas Cowboys have blown five fourth-quarter leads, the coach was criticized for his late-game management leading to a loss at Arizona, there have been issues with the secondary and fourth-quarter penalties, but coach Jason Garrett's job status isn't a concern.
Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones was asked if the rookie head coach is in danger of losing his job if the team doesn't make the playoffs.
"No, not at all," Jones told ESPN's Hannah Storm on Tuesday. "It's really not even something worth discussion. We are really just getting started. We've made the first half step out of the blocks in Jason's career as coach of the Dallas Cowboys. I do intend, if there are mistakes made, then, I want to be around for the rewards when they're corrected. And he's the guy that can correct them."
Jones does like what Garrett has done around Valley Ranch.
Garrett, in the first year of a four-year contract, makes players more accountable than before, and even he must answer for mistakes. Garrett admitted to the team that he didn't handle the end of the Arizona loss well.
Garrett also boosts his players, for instance, praising special teams players by placing their names on a poster board outside the locker room.
"I can't speak for everyone, but I'm a pretty good judge of our locker room and where my guys are. I feel like we're 100 percent in with Jason," veteran linebacker Keith Brooking said Tuesday. "I think he's done everything in his power as a head coach to put us in position to be successful. He inspires the hell out of me.
"I think that Jason's going to be here for a very long time. We've let him down. We've let our coaches down. And we're not making the plays we need to make when we've needed them. That's the bottom line. I don't think that has anything to do with Jason Garrett."
By all accounts, Garrett has this team playing harder than the first eight games of the 2010 season under then-coach Wade Phillips.
Yet the potential of a two-game lead in the NFC East is gone thanks to a two-game losing streak that has the Cowboys tied with the New York Giants with three games to play.
"I would have liked to have been closed out right now," Jones said Tuesday morning on KRLD-FM. "If we had won the last two games, that would have happened."
Jones said certain factors have been outside the Cowboys' control.
"It shouldn't surprise us, here we are leading the league, and I'm not being facetious, but leading our division, but we got to fight it out, right down to the wire," he said.
But the Cowboys do control their own destiny in some ways because winning two of the next three could get them into the postseason, and a sweep assures them of the NFC East title. The regular-season finale at MetLife Stadium against the Giants could determine the playoff berth.
The past two weeks have been difficult for the Cowboys because they've lost on field goals.
Dan Bailey missed a 49-yarder at the end of regulation, which eventually led to an overtime loss at Arizona on Dec. 4. Garrett nullified a made field goal by calling timeout. He was criticized widely when Bailey missed the next attempt.
Bailey had a 47-yard kick blocked Sunday night that would have tied the game against the Giants.
Jones was asked about fans' concerns that the team is not finishing games, something Garrett from the first day of training camp has preached to his team they must do.
"I do understand they're concerned and I would agree we've had a difficult time this year closing out," Jones said on on KRLD-FM. "And we've had some games we should have, if you look back at it from that prospective, won."
Calvin Watkins covers the Cowboys for ESPNDallas.com. Todd Archer of ESPNDallas.com contributed to this report.
[Jason Garrett] inspires the hell out of me. I think that Jason's going to be here for a very long time. We've let him down. We've let our coaches down. And we're not making the plays we need to make when we've needed them. That's the bottom line. I don't think that has anything to do with Jason Garrett.
-- Veteran linebacker Keith Brooking,
on coach Jason Garrett's job security