Cowboys owner Jerry Jones clearly didn’t want to fire coach Wade Phillips during the season. Jones admitted Monday that he wasn’t sure what direction Phillips’ future would be as recently as Saturday.
At times on Monday, Jones still seemed to be in denial of where his team stood. “I think you can look at our team and see real effort,” he said.
Still, Jones made it clear he knows things things had to change. He largely pinned his decision on the failure of Phillips’ defense.
“I always felt [Phillips'] head coaching would greatly benefit from how well
his defense is doing,” Jones said. “There was a lot of me in denial for at
least couple of ball games, but where we’re at right now. . . . We gotta
get a defense that can slow them down.”
Paul Pasqualoni will take over the Cowboys defense, while Jason Garrett takes over the entire team. Jones thinks Garrett can change how things are done in Dallas.
“Jason has certainly been a part of long-term thinking for the Dallas
Cowboys and for me,” Jones said. “I do believe that Jason as the
temperment, the disposition to affect a culture change. I think this is
important. We all know men’s styles are different. His style is one I
think could be real effective.” (Whether the players “like” Garrett or not.)
Garrett looks like a longshot to A) turn the Cowboys season around or B) get the Cowboys coaching job in 2011. Still, Jones has plenty of reasons to hope Garrett could beat the odds.
The Cowboys owner has already made a huge investment in Garrett because he paid him so much to stay away from other head coaching jobs. A failure by Garrett is ultimately a failure of Jones’ ability to spot coaching talent.
In Garrett, Jones also would have another head coach like Phillips that wouldn’t require personnel control.
“[Garrett] has the opportunity to get the job long term,” Jones said. “If we do outstanding as a team, if we have very visible, very tangible success. Then certainly that’s doing your job, if you will, in a crisis situation. That kind of action goes beyond the resume. Especially when you’re in the foxhole with him.”
Crisis is the right word. Garrett has his work cut out for him.