ATLANTA – The day started with a full plate of rumors involving a former assistant coach being linked to the Cowboys.
It ended with another fourth-quarter loss that has the Cowboys now reeling at 3-5 on the season.
But after the 19-13 loss to the Falcons, Cowboys' owner/GM Jerry Jones all but stiff-armed any talk about Sean Payton possibly becoming a coaching free agent after the season.
What he focused on was his current head coach, Jason Garrett.
"I have a lot of faith in Jason," Jones said after the game. "Jason's future is ahead of him. I know how hard he works. I like his philosophy. I have a lot of confidence that one of the bright spots of this team is our head coaching."
Sunday's game marked Garrett's 32nd game as head coach, equivalent to two full seasons, although he took over for the final eight games in 2010. Garrett is now an even 16-16 after watching his team drop to 3-5 this season.
Earlier in the day, the Cowboys were linked to the news centering on Payton, who's suspended for the entire season for his involvement in the Saints' bounty system scandal. Payton's contract could be voided out, making him free to leave New Orleans and coach another team. However, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, who was at the game Sunday night, also said Payton could sign a new deal with the Saints at any point if it's approved, even before his suspension is up.
Jones said after the game he was unaware of those circumstances and events regarding Payton.
"I had no idea about that," Jones said. "I had no understanding of anything that had to do with his or the Saints' business or their contracts. That was news to me."
But while Jones hasn't changed his tune regarding his faith and support for Garrett, he did backtrack some Sunday night when asked about his comments from this week when he said he liked the direction his team was headed.
"I liked our direction when I said it," Jones said Sunday night. "I'm just saying I don't like our direction when we're sitting here having lost tonight. I liked our direction when I said it before. It had to do with the timing when I said I liked our direction. I like some of the things that we do. But we certainly made more mistakes than they did and they made bigger plays than we did."