- Tim MacMahon, ESPN Staff Writer
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ARLINGTON, Texas -- Owner and general manager Jerry Jones bristled when asked about Jason Garrett's job security after the Dallas Cowboys blew a 23-point lead in the second half of Sunday's loss to the Green Bay Packers, saying it was "not appropriate" to discuss the issue after one of the "hardest losses that I've experienced."
Jones added that it'd be a "bad mistake" to leap to any conclusions based on his unwillingness to directly address the subject on Sunday, when the Cowboys blew a chance to reclaim possession of first place in the NFC East.
Jones gave Garrett a vote of confidence during the Cowboys' bye week last month, guaranteeing his head coach's return in 2014. He expressed displeasure when asked if that commitment had wavered in the wake of two straight losses that dropped Dallas to 7-7.
"Let me just say this: I'm clear and I don't choose to talk about that or talk about several things about the franchise right now," Jones said. "This is not appropriate to talk about it right now. We've just had a loss.
"Are you going to be back? Are you going to be back? Are you going to be back? Each one of you guys going to be back?" Jones added, pointing to individual reporters. "I'm going to be back. So will everybody else be back that's in [the Cowboys' locker room]? Everybody that's eligible and has got a contract."
The Cowboys are 28-26 during Garrett's tenure as coach, which began when Wade Phillips was fired midway through the 2010 season. Dallas went 8-8 the last two seasons and is in jeopardy of missing the playoffs for the fourth consecutive year, which would be the franchise's longest postseason drought since 1986-90.
Jones, who has hired seven head coaches since buying the Cowboys in 1989, has changed his mind on a coach's job security in the recent past. He was adamant that he wouldn't fire Phillips in midseason but reversed course after the Cowboys were blown out by the Packers to fall to 1-7.
Yet, Jones indicated Sunday that he didn't feel a need to state that his long-term commitment to Garrett remained firm.
"I was firm for one night at that time and that doesn't call for me having to be firm every morning I get up," Jones said. "So I was real firm then, so take that to the bank. Just take that to the bank. I'm not going to sit here and every time I see you guys ask whether I'm firm or not. We can all play that game."
Jones acknowledged that the Cowboys' 37-36 loss to the Packers on Sunday, when Green Bay scored 20 points in the fourth quarter and Dallas quarterback Tony Romo was intercepted twice in the final three minutes, was one of the "hardest losses that I've experienced." This came on the heels of a 45-28 blowout loss to the Chicago Bears on Monday night, when the Dallas defense didn't force one punt.
"It is at those particular times that you ask that," Jones said, referring to questions about Garrett's job security. "Don't in any way interpret in any way my refusal to get involved in that kind of discussion here tonight with anything different about me and Jason's future. That'd be a bad mistake to think anything is different."
Told that he was being given a chance to slam the door on speculation, Jones said that wasn't necessary.
"I don't need a chance," Jones said. "I slammed that door back here, when was it, four weeks ago. That door was slammed. I don't need another chance. And y'all shouldn't ask for one every time you see me under any circumstances, whether we've had a bad practice or whether we've had, as we had today, a real disappointment. That's not accurate, that's not accurate at all.
"And we've got a lot of work to do here as you can see. We've got a real challenge ahead of us. This is a bitter, bitter disappointment to lose this game right here in our stadium, and we've got an opportunity to sweep the East by playing the Redskins and by playing the Philadelphia Eagles [in the final two weeks]. We'll start with the Redskins, and if we do we'll win the East. That was our first goal.
"Then y'all will be seeing me and asking me if I'm giving him a raise, an extension."
11hEric D. Williams