OXNARD, Calif. – Jerry Jones is ready to put past seasons of mediocrity in the past, letting everyone know Saturday at the opening training camp press conference he’s “burned the ships” in an attempt to move forward.
One ship he hasn’t burned, though, is that of his head coach, and it doesn’t appear Jones is ready to move on from Jason Garrett any time soon.
Garrett’s remained a constant through all the uncomfortable changes Jones promised in the offseason. When asked if it’s fair to say this is a “win or else” season for Garrett, Jones didn’t hesitate with his quick response.
“I wouldn’t use the word fair,” Jones said. “It’s a mistake. That’s not right.”
Jones continued to reiterate his positive feelings about Garrett and the future of the franchise with his head coach’s influence. The unsuccessful finishes of the past couple seasons haven’t diminished Jones’ faith in his Garrett.
“If you’re in close here, you see how Jason is responding to obviously unsatisfactory times, and I can tell you firsthand, that’s impressive,” Jones said. “So I like that as far as looking ahead at the future, it is very good. So everything I’m thinking about is not only about how to beat the Giants when we open up, but also about what our future is in a plus manner, or in a positive way, with Jason.
“I look to the future with Jason, and not just through his contract that we’re sitting here with right now. I think he’s got a couple years left in his contract, but that’s not a thought. It is not what is implied when you say, ‘Well this is an Armageddon year for him.’ It is not that with me.”
Jones also doesn’t want to separate quarterback
“(Garrett)’s been directly involved in the coaching of Romo for six years,” Jones siad. “When he got here, Romo had never had the same guy two years in a row. We’ve got to take advantage of that. His safety net presence for what we’re doing not only as a team, but on offense, is a big part of the plan. It gives us a real advantage.”
Garrett’s safety net presence provides comfort for Jones and has played a role in how the team’s been put together and what the group is doing offensively.
That presence subsequently makes Jones more open to giving responsibility to young and promising offensive position coaches, including tight ends coach Wes Phillips.
“It’s very comforting to have Jason as our head coach, because he obviously knows that position and other positions like he does his own name,” Jones said. “It’s really good to know we’ve got somebody as fresh on it, fresh within his career, as sensitive to that passing game side of the ball, and if you will, the running game as well. I just would say this, with all the confidence in Phillips that I have, it’s great to know that our head coach is there watching every detail of any of our coaches, as he should be.”
The only real difference for Garrett heading into the 2013 season will be moving away from calling plays and more toward focusing on the overall picture.
“I made a very conscious effort over the last couple years to coach the whole football team,” Garrett said. “I spent time with the defensive guys on their part of the practice field. I spent a lot of times in the defensive meetings and the special teams meetings. I’ve always done that, but just the mechanics of someone else calling the actual plays allows me to maybe take a different view of it.”
Other than that switch, the mediocre seasons of years past haven’t changed anything for the head coach in the eyes of his owner.