It’s official: Cowboys remove interim tag from Jason Garrett

Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett and Jon Kitna stand on the field before the game against the New York Giants at New Meadowlands Stadium in week 10 of the NFL in East Rutherford, New Jersey on November 14, 2010. The Cowboys defeated the Giants 33-20. UPI /John Angelillo is reporting that the Cowboys will officially hire Jason Garrett to be their next head coach.

Terms of the deal were not available, but Garrett had one year remaining on his contract as the assistant head coach that paid him $3.5 million annually.

Considered the favorite all along, Garrett is the eighth coach in franchise history and owner/general manager Jerry Jones did not feel the need for an exhaustive search. He interviewed wide receivers coach Ray Sherman to comply with the NFL’s Rooney Rule, which states a team must talk with at least one minority coach during the process.

Jones wanted to finalize the deal quickly because he didn’t want other teams with vacancies getting their hands on Garrett.

It’s a matter of opinion as to whether or not this was the right hire for the Cowboys. But there’s no doubt that this was the right hire for Jerry Jones. He handpicked Garrett himself when he made him offensive coordinator in 2007. Making Garrett the full-time head coach was Jones’ plan all along and now it’s come to fruition.

The fact that he went 5-3 with Jon Kitna as his quarterback proved that Garrett’s offense can succeed. But he and Jones better pick a decent defensive coordinator because the Cowboys took a major step backwards on that side of the ball this year.

It’ll also be interesting to see if this group of players will work hard for Garrett now that he’s the full-time guy. One would think they will, seeing as how they finished 5-3 under his guidance. But these were the same players who openly said how much they loved Wade Phillips only to mail it in when his job was on the line.

We’ll just have to wait and see.

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Firing Phillips the right decision for Cowboys

Whether it’s Wade Phillips or Jason Garrett that finishes out the rest of the season as head coach of the Dallas Cowboys, the team isn’t going to the playoffs. But Jerry Jones’ decision to fire Phillips on Monday isn’t about making the playoffs.

Jones needed to send a message to those that will be around past this year that the lack of effort and execution that the Cowboys have displayed this year won’t be tolerated. Not all of the team’s problems are because of Phillips, but the head coach is always the first one on the chopping block when things fall apart.

You always hear about how Phillips is a players’ coach, but most of his players stopped playing for him weeks ago. I don’t think there’s any question that Phillips can coach in this league, but obviously the players stopped responding to his methods and Jones had no choice but to let him go after the embarrassing 45-7 loss in Green Bay on Sunday night.

Without Tony Romo, Garrett’s chances of succeeding are fairly slim. But he won’t be measured on wins and losses over the next eight weeks – he’ll be measured on how the players respond. If they quit on him like they quit on Phillips, then Garrett may be searching for a job after the season as well.

Bill Cowher and Jon Gruden’s names will be brought up repeatedly over the next two months in connection with the Dallas job, but consider this: No head coach has ever won the Super Bowl with his second team. Bill Parcells (Giants/Patriots), Dan Reeves (Broncos/Falcons) and Mike Holmgren (Packers/Seahawks) all got close, but they couldn’t pull the feat off. That’s not to say that Cowher or Gruden would be bad choices to replace Phillips, but Jones needs to at least consider bringing in someone fresh.

It’ll be interesting to see not only whom Dallas hires at the end of the season, but also whether or not Phillips will get another head coaching job next year. He may have to settle for a defensive coordinator position after what transpired with the Cowboys this season.

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