Jason Garrett's relationship with the Dallas Cowboys fanbase has been up and down. For a while, he was riding a crest of popularity as the Cowboys offense under Tony Romo was racking up yards and putting up points. Garrett was the wunderkind, the Red-Headed Genius...he was the next hot thing in the NFL. Other teams came knocking to see if they could lure him away from Dallas and he was offered two head coaching positions. Incredibly, he turned them down and came back home to Dallas with a little extra cash in his pocket thanks to owner Jerry Jones. Then, the offense started having some problems. Redzone efficiency was becoming a problem, the ground game sputtered and eventually ground to a halt. Garrett's play-calling came into question, and finally he was tainted with the stink of a 1-7 start to the 2010 season.
Now, after a spirited start to his interim era - including a shocker over the Giants and a near-miss against the Saints - Garrett has reclaimed his reputation, and then some. Organized, efficient, hard-working, intelligent; these are the compliments being tossed around about Garrett nowadays. When Garrett was hired, there was a lot of pessimism about his chances of succeeding. We were stuck at the bottom of one of the Cowboys worst seasons in a long time, hope and optimism were out of fashion. Flash forward a few weeks, and Cowboys fans everywhere are experiencing a new hope, they have a reason to get excited again. The Cowboys are playing pretty good football. Winning (or sometimes near-wins) really is the best deodorant. I don't think anybody is totally sold on Garrett yet, but admittedly many are window shopping very intently.
In the end, though, it really is up to one guy to make the purchase. Jerry Jones is the only person Jason Garrett has to convince. Garrett already had a head-start in that area; Jerry likes to be right, and he would like for nothing more than to be vindicated for his faith (and financial commitment) in Garrett. Jerry also likes to win, and the Cowboys are looking like a team that can probably get a few more of those before the year is out. Jerry went into this wanting Garrett to succeed, Garrett just had to close the sell.
From Jerry's recent comments, it sounds like Garrett is getting closer and closer.
"I'm not looking, really, as much as you might think, at what he's doing in these games," Jones said on 105.3 FM (The Fan) on Tuesday. "I just know him so well and have known him for years and years and know the things that he could bring to the table as a head coach. Certainly as we move through these games that will add, and I think it will, almost assuredly, add credibility. It would be shocking to me if he didn't really continue to do a great job. I know how hard he's working at it. That's never been an issue of how hard he's working.
"But again, I'm not hanging on so much what we did or didn't do relative to the score. I think we would all agree that the team gave the kind of effort against an opponent there, against the Saints, that give him a plus."
Now, Garrett can't afford to go into an extended losing streak. Jerry talks about looking at what Garrett does during the week, in practices, in meetings, etc., and the effort the Cowboys give week to week. But if the losses start coming, he'll become very concerned about what Jason is doing during the games.
As long as the Cowboys continue to be competitive, and sprinkle in some wins along the way, Garrett looks like a good bet for 2011 (if there is a 2011).