As we listened to a very sober Jerry Jones explaining the firing of Wade Phillips and replacing him with Jason Garrett, certain words and phrases kept getting repeated. "Play in a winning way", "effort", and "change of culture". We also got a very candid admission that the Dallas Cowboys GM, that would be Jerry Jones, was in denial. For the last couple of games, he thought the defense would turn it around. And that, more than anything else, seemed to be at the core of Jerry's thinking. He said as much when he equated Phillips' stature as a head coach as equivalent with his defense being successful. Once the defense tanked, Wade had no credibility as head coach.
Jerry talked briefly with the team earlier today and told them they have eight games remaining and the goal was to win them. The evaluation process will begin with guys who want give the most effort. Winning players and winning games will be the criteria moving forward. Jerry then went on to talk about playing in winning ways. He never quite explained what he meant, but he did talk about playing smart football, being prepared to play, things like that. In other words, quit being an undisciplined mess.
While not directly calling out the players for lack of effort, Jerry made it clear they weren't giving the top effort they could. He used phrases like extraordinary effort as what they were looking for, and super-work effort.
The other main area was around the culture. Jerry believes Jason Garrett has the style and ability to implement a culture change. He listed Garrett's talents around organization, his leadership skills and his intelligence. Jerry was hinting that Garrett is a tougher coach, but didn't quite say it. He also mentioned Paul Pasqualoni's demeanor as part of the effort. Underlying this was obviously his thoughts that the team wasn't listening to Wade anymore, that he was too soft, even though he didn't actually come out and say it.
Finally, Jerry proclaims that Jason Garrett has a real chance to earn the job, but he is definitely an interim coach. He needs to produce winning football, both in effort and actually winning games.