Jason Garrett to be named Cowboys’ next head coach?

Clarence E. Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram is reporting that Jason Garrett will likely be named the Cowboys’ head coach on a full-time basis. But the announcement can’t happen now because Dallas must adhere to the Rooney Rule and inteview at least one minority candidate.

With an open process, Super Bowl champion coaching free agents such as Jon Gruden and Bill Cowher and Tennessee Titans coach Jeff Fisher, if he is let go, would certainly be associated with the Cowboys job.

But it’s very clear inside Cowboys headquarters that Garrett is the man for the job.

He has long been a favorite of Jones’ dating to his days as a backup quarterback on the Cowboys’ Super Bowl title teams of the 1990s.

And in guiding the Cowboys to four wins in seven games since taking over for the fired Wade Phillips after Dallas’ 1-7 start, Garrett has proved to Jones that he is more than just a bright offensive mind. He has shown to be an effective leader who can run the team and get players to respond to him.

The hiring of Garrett would also allow Jones to continue business as usual as the general manager and top personnel decision maker on the team.

The smart money was always on Garrett. Because it’s the Cowboys, people assumed that Jones would go out and hire a big name. But don’t forget that Garrett was handpicked by Jones, so the Dallas owner wasn’t going to groom him and let him succeed elsewhere. Plus, as the article points out, Jones wants to remain as general manager of the team. If he hired someone like Cowher, he would likely have to concede a lot of his power when it comes to personnel decisions, which he doesn’t want to do.

Update: The NFL Network’s Michael Lombardi is reporting that it’s a done deal: Garrett will be retained as head coach. The ‘Boys managed to interview wide receiver coach Ray Sherman to comply with the Rooney Rule, so they’re all set.

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Jerry Jones “mad as hell” about Cowboys’ situation

Jason Garrett didn’t help his chances of earning a full-time coaching gig with the Cowboys’ after his team blew a late lead to the Cardinals on Christmas night. The Cowboys had scored a touchdown with under two minutes remaining in the game to make the score 26-24, but the Cardinals managed to get into field goal range and kick a game winner to pull out a 27-26 final

It didn’t help Garrett’s cause that the ‘Boys missed an extra point after their final score or that their defense gave up a 4th-and-long on Arizona’s last possession to help set up the game-winning field goal.

Following the game, Jones was asked whether or not the loss would affect Garrett’s chances of earning the head job on a full-time basis.

“That’s not something that I’m even thinking about right now,” Jones said. “I’m mad as hell and I know all of our fans are. That’s where that is.”

The response isn’t surprising. What do you want Jones to say? That he’s happy his team blew an opportunity to win a game when they came back from a 21-3 deficit? Of course he’s going to be mad. And saying anything definitively either way on Garrett’s future with the team wouldn’t be a prudent move on Jones’ part either. You’re not going to disqualify a guy after one loss and you’re certainly not going to sing his praises either.

Jones will take his time making this decision. He was asked by Deion Sanders on the NFL Network pre-game show whether or not he would consider Bill Cowher or Jon Gruden for the position and Jones point out that (I’m paraphrasing), “No head coach that has won a Super Bowl has ever won another one with his second team.”

Does that mean that Jones isn’t considering Cowher or Gruden? Of course not. But who knows what’s going on in Jones’ head right now. He needs time to digest everything and go from there.

Cowboys smoke Giants in Jason Garrett’s debut

Jerry Jones would have fired Wade Phillips a month ago if he knew the Cowboys would have played as well all season under Jason Garrett as they did in New York on Sunday.

The Cowboys routed the Giants 33-20 in Garrett’s debut. Even though Dallas’ win was only by a 13-point margin, I use the term “routed” because many believed that this New York team was the best in the NFC coming into this game. (Not to mention the Cowboys have looked like an utter train wreck for most of the season.)

There really was no secret to how the Cowboys dismantled the Giants: they stayed balanced offensively, they won the turnover battle and they produced some big plays. The Giants turned the ball over three times, including once at the goal line as Bryan McCann picked off Eli Manning and returned the gift 101 yards for a touchdown. It was the longest interception return for a score in franchise history for the Cowboys.

Jon Kitna, who clearly located a genie sometime this week and cashed in one of his three wishes, threw for 327 yards and three touchdowns. Rookie Dez Bryant caught three passes for 104 yards and a score, while Felix Jones (who saw a lot of playing time after Marion Barber was benched) caught three passes for 85 yards and one touchdown.

Outside of Mario Manningham (10 receptions, 91 yards, 1 TD), it was a day the Giants would like to forget. Dallas punched them in the mouth from the opening bell and New York had no response. They tried to make it close at the end, but a Hakeen Nicks touchdown was wiped off the board because of a holding penalty and then Manning turned the ball over twice on the Giants’ next two possessions to ice the game for the Cowboys. (Although a botched snap was part of the blame for one of Manning’s turnovers.)

It’s not completely shocking that a divisional rival was able to walk into the New Meadowlands (a dark New Meadowlands at that, as the stadium suffered a couple of power outages during the game) and beat the Giants. What’s shocking is that the divisional rival was a Dallas team that had just fired its head coach earlier in the week and had played like crap in its previous three games. If I’m Tom Coughlin, I don’t even watch the reply from this loss. Just pitch the tape in the trash and look ahead to next week.

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.

Should the Cowboys fire Wade Phillips midseason?

ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 31: (L-R) Head coach Wade Phillips and assistant head coach/offensive coordinator Jason Garrett of the Dallas Cowboys looks on against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Cowboys Stadium on October 31, 2010 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

The 2010 version of the Dallas Cowboys are dead and in the spirit of Halloween, there are no Jason-type comebacks on the horizon.

They’re done, finished, caput. At 1-6, they’re tied with the Panthers for having the worst record in the NFC and whether they fire Wade Phillips now or torture him and themselves by waiting until after the season, 2010 is over with.

Thus, what is an owner like Jerry Jones to do? He knows that no matter what he does with his head coaching position, it’s not going to matter for this season. So does he wait it out and then start fresh the second the season is over or does he start making changes now?

The short answer is that he must make changes now. The Dallas Morning News is reporting that Jones is considering making a coaching change, which he should. His team can’t execute game plans, they can’t tackle, they have completely forgotten basic fundamentals, they have no energy and play with zero urgency. They’re a mess.

Jones can’t hire someone from the outside right now because it would wind up being a useless move. Nobody could go to Dallas, install an entirely new system in a week and have the Cowboys – this Cowboys team – competing again this season. There’s just no way.

But that doesn’t mean Jones can’t send a message to his players that this type of play won’t do. If he fires Phillips, he’ll at least be telling his players and fanbase that he’s willing to do something – anything, to right the ship.

Who would replace Phillips? Offensive coordinator Jason Garrett certainly doesn’t deserve a promotion, but Jones once viewed him as Phillips’ replacement so he might as well see what the red head can do over the next nine weeks. If Garrett stabilizes things and gets this team to compete again, maybe Jones can consider making him the full-time head coach when the season is over.

Or, whatever. The end of the season is a long way away. The here and now is what matters and the here and now is ugly with Wade Phillips in charge. Granted, the Cowboys’ problems aren’t all Phillips’ fault but he oversees things and right now he oversees one of the worst teams in football (even though they have more talent than the likes of the Panthers).

Jerry Jones has to do something, even if the 2010 season is a goner.

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