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Jerry Jones Is Staying The Course With Jason Garrett

No matter how many times he says it, people still have a hard time believing how much Jerry Jones trusts in his head coach.

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

My time writing for Blogging The Boys began just about three years ago, during Jason Garrett's first year as the full time head coach of the Dallas Cowboys. One of the things I have paid the most attention to has been the relationship Jerry Jones has with his head coach. It was clear, at least to me, that this was a very different relationship than Jones had with Garrett's predecessor, Wade Phillilps. All working relationships have their unique elements, but I thought that from the very beginning the owner had a respect for Garrett that may have exceeded what he felt for any of his other head coaches. And over the years, it has just grown.

Most of the coverage of the opening press conference given by Jones and Garrett in Oxnard to kick off the Cowboys' training camp expressed at least some measure of surprise when Jones stated that 2014 is not a make or break year for Garrett. The article at was probably fairly representative of what most thought.

It's hard to imagine Garrett surviving another season out of the playoffs. Actions speak loudest, and it's rare to see an NFL coach enter a "lame duck" season without a new deal. If Jones really wanted to support Garrett, he'd pay him. Still, Jones has showed unusual patience because of Garrett's long track record with the team.

This has been expressed by many ever since the end of the 2013 season. Everyone expects it is just that simple for Garrett: Get to the playoffs or clean out your office.

I guess they haven't been paying attention. What happens with the head coach is more complex than most seem willing to realize, and the decision on extending Garrett or not past this year depends on other factors than just the won-lost tally. This has been the message Jones has been repeating for at least the last couple of years. It is very consistent with the way Jones has approached Garrett's entire tenure.

A lot of people who cover Jones and the Cowboys listen to Jerry, but don't really hear him. There is a focus on catching him make the next "glory hole" comment, or overconfident claim, and not on what he is saying about the day-to-day operations, or what the team is trying to accomplish. As I have brought up before, Jerry Jones does not lie. He may talk in circles, but if he actually makes a statement, that is what he means. It is sometimes a matter of what he means at the moment, since he is more than capable of reversing his field in a split second. Unusually, he seems to become more flexible as he gets older, more willing to admit a mistake and try to fix it.

Jerry has repeatedly said that he is looking at a bigger picture in evaluating Garrett. He seems to acknowledge that Garrett did not just inherit a roster that was aging and in many cases overpaid, he also had a situation with the salary cap and at least some of the assistant coaches that were both a hindrance and beyond his control. It has taken three seasons to start to get the salary cap situation in order, to get the roster turned around (at least as far as age is concerned), and to get assistant coaches that are on the same page with Garrett and that he feels will give him what he needs.  I also have always suspected that Stephen Jones, the second most influential person in the organization behind his father, is something of an ally and supporter of Garrett, and has been behind many of the changes that have been happening in Dallas.

Now, Jerry has come out and said what he means. He has been consistent about this, but somehow the message is not being received or, more likely, believed. During the first few tumultuous seasons of his ownership of the team, he got a reputation for being impulsive, having little patience with his coaches, meddling, and overriding other members of his staff to impose his own decisions. But that is not the way he has been operating the past few years. He has moved on to a better way of running the organization, while his image has not been rehabilitated for most of the public. This is especially true for those outside the Dallas area and fan base that pay only cursory attention to what is happening with the Cowboys.

So all the people who talk about Garrett's hot seat are surprised when Jones publicly turns the temperature down. By and large, they are the same people who made the same "playoffs or he's gone" predictions last season about Garrett, and they were just as puzzled then when he kept his job after the team went 8-8 and fell in week 17 for the third year in a row. Jones really wants to see his head coach succeed, because he is feeling very good about what is happening with his team right now. He also realizes how many issues Garrett has faced, including injuries and Jones' own missteps, and is willing to give him a lot of slack in trying to fix them.

Jason Garrett could lose his job, but it would take more than just another mediocre record. Jerry Jones will also have to lose faith in him. I'm not going to predict which way it will go. I am just hoping it goes well and this all is rendered moot by a winning season.

Follow me @TomRyleBTB

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