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Thursday, January 10, 2013
Updated: January 11, 2:29 PM ET
Jason Garrett needs a commitment

By Jean-Jacques Taylor
ESPNDallas.com

IRVING, Texas -- The sun should not set again with Jason Garrett as coach if Jerry Jones isn't committed to him beyond next season, regardless of whether the Dallas Cowboys make the playoffs.

Either ride with Garrett or get rid of him. Anything else is a colossal waste of time.

Jerry Jones, Jason Garrett
Jerry Jones is already turning over the Cowboys' defensive staff and might yank play-calling duties from Jason Garrett.

Hey, the Jacksonville Jaguars fired coach Mike Mularkey on Thursday after one season, so it's not like there's some statute of limitations on firing coaches once the season ends.

Jerry made it clear he's the person calling all the shots with his soliloquy about the factors that led to defensive coordinator Rob Ryan's dismissal while taping his weekly TV show.

Monte Kiffin is considered the leading candidate to replace Ryan. Kiffin spent the past three seasons at Southern Cal coaching with his son, Lane, the head coach.

Kiffin's claim to fame is creating the Tampa 2 defensive scheme that involves playing the safeties deep and limiting big plays, forcing an opponent to drive methodically down the field.

The Cowboys' defensive assistants already have been told they will have to interview with the new defensive coordinator. If he chooses to keep them, fine. If not, they'll be unemployed.

There's also a possibility Jerry will yank the play-calling duties away from Garrett and hire someone else to call plays. Norv Turner, fired by San Diego, would be near the top of the wish list.

Whether Jerry hires Turner or someone else, that person will get an opportunity to add assistants familiar with his offense and philosophical approach.

Now, we're talking about the potential addition of two coaches who have considerable more loyalty to the owner than the head coach.

How dumb is that?

Disaster lurks in that scenario. The only question is how long it takes before the back-stabbing and infighting begin, especially on a staff led by a dude who's not confrontational.

If Jerry is essentially going to replace the offensive and defensive staffs this offseason, he should just get rid of Garrett and hire a coach he trusts. It's the only move that makes sense, if two losses to end the season have made Jerry question whether Garrett can do the job.

If the Cowboys miss the playoffs for the fifth time in six seasons, we all know Garrett's reign will end. Jerry, though, isn't making next season easy for Garrett.

The general manager, no matter who it is, should never ever publicly talk about hiring and firing assistant coaches because it usurps the head coach's power in the locker room. Players must know the coach controls every aspect of their existence on the roster, from playing time to their spot on the depth chart.

Anything else neuters the coach.

Ask any player and he'll tell you that, as will any coach. It's a fundamental tenet of running a professional sports team.

But Jerry has never respected the position of head coach, and it has been that way since he uttered the famous words during a rant about Jimmy Johnson that any one of 500 coaches could coach the Cowboys.

At the time, we thought it was hyperbole. Clearly, it's not. No team in the NFC has had more coaches since 1997 than the six Jerry has employed -- and it still hasn't made a positive impact on the franchise's win-loss record.

Ridiculous.

Jerry has already made the biggest mistake in years. Keeping Garrett will simply compound it, if he no longer believes completely in him.

As much as Garrett intrigues me as a coach, Jerry should have money-whipped Sean Payton when he had the chance, no matter how tiny the sliver of hope Payton would actually leave the New Orleans Saints.

Say what you want, but Payton was a free agent for a little while. While there's no guarantee Payton would have taken the job, Jerry should have dumped suitcases full of cash in front of him and forced Payton to make a tough decision.

The worst possible scenario would be for Jerry not to make a play for Payton and then fire Garrett the next season.

But it looks like that's what we're going to get if the Cowboys miss the playoffs next season.

All you can do is shake your head. Over and over again.