The constant barrage of rumors and speculation about replacing head coach Jason Garrett with (fill in the blank with any former current NFL coach looking for a job) has prompted Dallas Cowboys owner and GM Jerry Jones to make a spirited defense of Garrett. In an interview taped for DallasCowboys.com, Jones was unequivocal about his support for his head coach, and stressed that Garrett is in charge of the search for candidates to fill the remaining vacancies.
Asked first about the controversy over Garrett giving up the play-calling duties, Jones looked emphatic.
I must say this: It has never been an issue with Jason Garrett. Never. That was the GM.
He goes on to stress that he was insistent on Garrett calling plays when he first took over the head coaching job, and then says, again with some emphasis, that Garrett was not only open about stepping away from the play calling, but also part of the impetus to make the move.
Jones stresses that he sees this as a positive move that will let his head coach have increased control over the team, not less. He frames the argument in terms of how time-consuming it is to be the man putting together the offensive scheme each week, and how that takes away from making sure that the defense and special teams are doing what you want as head coach. He also is trying to make clear that Garrett is in charge of what the coaching staff is going to be next season.
We got the right man (Garrett) putting this together.
That phrase about "putting this together" comes up again and again. Jones is clearly hammering home the point that Garrett is putting together the staff, and it is HIS staff. While he does not try to step away from responsibility for initiating or pushing for the changes to the coaching staff, he clearly is trying to make it known that he has given the job of rebuilding it to Garrett, and he feels very good about what is being accomplished.
This is clearly a planned strategy. The interview uses his house organ to get it out, but with the Super Bowl in New Orleans, which he will be attending, he will have other opportunities to get this message transmitted. He did confess to feeling defensive about the idea he was "cutting his legs out from under him" in reference to Garrett and the whole emasculation meme.
I don't have any doubt this is a Jerry Jones sales job, and have been told it is actually part of an orchestrated move headed-up by Rich Dalrymple, the team director of public relations. He wants to "Napalm the media with the truth". I also believe Jones is selling something he truly believes. Every statement he made regarding his head coach was positive and supportive. I think the he holds a firm conviction that Garrett is the head coach he wants running this team.
There were problems with the coaching staff, both in terms of whether the incumbents were the right people to mesh with Garrett and in the results. However the decision was made on who to let go, Jones is announcing to the world that he has turned over the job of how to rebuild things to Garrett.
It will be interesting to see how the world receives the announcement.
There was a lighter note that came in the first half of the interview, before things got serious. Jerry was reminiscing about the first Super Bowl after he bought the team. He talked about taking a helicopter flight to a ceremony away from the stadium with his wife and, for some reason, center Mark Stepnoski. After landing at a venue that apparently involved some kind of football field, Jerry said he hoped no one saw him when he grabbed a football and "skipped" into the end zone, pretending to score a touchdown.
Now, given Stepnoski's history as a member of NORML and his admitted recreational use of pot . . .
Hey, dots is dots. You connect them any way you see fit.