- Tim MacMahon, ESPN Staff Writer
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OXNARD, Calif. -- Dallas Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones declared this is not an "Armageddon year" for head coach Jason Garrett, insisting the coach's job security isn't in jeopardy even if the Cowboys have another disappointing season.
"Everything I'm thinking about is not only about how to beat the Giants when we open up [the season], but also about what our future is in a plus manner or in a positive way with Jason," Jones said during a news conference to open training camp. "I look to the future with Jason, not just through his contract that we're sitting here with right now. I think he has a couple of years left on his contract, but that's not a thought.
"It is not what is implied when you say, 'This is an Armaggedon year for him.' It's not that with me."
The Cowboys are 21-19 and have not qualified for the playoffs during Garrett's tenure as head coach. They had 8-8 records in each of Garrett's two full seasons as a head coach, losing to NFC East rivals in regular-season finales with division titles at stake.
Jones has called the past two seasons two of the most disappointing during his tenure because the Cowboys failed to make the playoffs despite having a healthy, in-his-prime franchise quarterback in Tony Romo.
After last season, Jones followed through on his vow to make it an "uncomfortable" offseason at the team's Valley Ranch facility by initiating several changes to the coaching staff. Those included firing defensive coordinator Rob Ryan and strongly encouraging Garrett's brother, John -- the former Cowboys tight ends coach/passing coordinator who left to become the Tampa Bay Buccaneers receivers coach -- to search for another job.
Jason Garrett also gave up play-calling responsibilities to offensive coordinator Bill Callahan, though he declined to acknowledge the change was made until a week after Jones not-so-coyly advised questioning reporters to notice that Callahan was calling plays during offseason team workouts.
However, Jones insisted the perception that missing the playoffs for a fourth consecutive season would cost Garrett his job is inaccurate.
"It's a mistake. That's not right," said Jones, who has hired seven head coaches during his 24-season ownership tenure, none of whom held the position for more than five years. "He's been directly involved in the coaching of Romo for six years. When he got here, Romo had never had the same guy two years in a row. We've got to take advantage of that. His safety-net presence for what we're doing not only as a team but on offense is a big part of the plan. It gives us a real advantage.
"Romo has the kind of skills, by everyone that has ever been around him, to do what we're asking him to do. I don't mind telling you, it'd be tough to go there if you didn't have Jason who has been involved and right there as quote, if you will, 'the safety net' as to how we're going to not only put the team together, but what we're doing offensively, make no mistake about it.
"To answer your question specifically, one of the neatest things about not only this year but a positive about this year is that, if you're in close here, you see how Jason is responding to obviously unsatisfactory times. And I can tell you firsthand that's impressive, so I like that looking ahead at the future. It is very good."
As Garrett sat immediately to his right, Jones expressed "great confidence in the head coach and direction of the team" before being asked any questions.
"I can tell you that it's very comforting to have Jason as our head coach," Jones said.
12hBy Ian O'Connor