IRVING, Texas – During the course of his season-ending media session, Tony Romo uttered a soundbite that rings all too true with the Cowboys' struggles this year.
"I know no one wants to hear anything positive, because when you're 4-12 there's not a lot -- because ultimately we're defined by our record and how we played," Romo said.
That much is painfully obvious. The Cowboys just finished their worst season since 1989, and they lost 12 of 14 games after Romo broke his collarbone for the first time back on Sept. 20. Positives are hard to come by, and few people will want to hear them.
Having said that, it didn't stop Romo from giving quite the vote of confidence to Cowboys coach Jason Garrett following a difficult campaign.
"He was really incredible in getting our football team to play consistently at a very, very high level as far as effort, energy, just week to week," Romo said. "He really has the pulse of the team and it was a great thing to watch."
Again, that doesn't amount to a lot when faced with 12 losses on the season. But amid a steady flow of criticisms of Garrett's coaching job this season, the Cowboys' competitiveness throughout the season can't be discounted.
In 12 losses, the Cowboys were outscored by an average of just 11 points – a composite score of 26-15. Despite a stretch that included seven-straight losses at one point, the Cowboys had six losses by just one possession.
"As you lose that many games in a row, it can be very difficult to continue to get great effort by a lot of proud professionals," Romo said. "I think that Coach Garett just did an incredible job of allowing us to have a chance as the weeks went on through his ability to just motivate, connect and really drive the team in that direction."
Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones seems to agree with that assessment, as he emphatically ensured Garrett's job security on Sunday evening following the loss to the Redskins. Jones has long maintained that the Cowboy's competitiveness, coupled with the unavoidable issue of injuries – particularly to Romo – has helped Garrett's cause.
"I've seen this staff work together in principle, most of them, and I've seen them do it and have a lot of success," Jones said on Sunday night. "There's no reason if you factor in any creditability at all that injuries hurt us this year, there's no reason at all not to give this general staff the opportunity to do it again and repeat '14."
That statement, coming from the owner and general manager, is more than enough to secure Garrett heading into 2016. But for his part, such a strong vote of confidence coming from Romo speaks loudly in its own right – even if its muted by the disappointed of this past season.
"Like I said, we lost so ultimately nothing was good enough," Romo said. "But at the same time I thought that it was inspiring just by the way he really held this team together and had the guys fight week in week out regardless of the environment and regardless of the record."