Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones didn’t like what he saw Monday night, but that doesn’t mean that he’s contemplating a coaching change at the season’s midpoint.
“I think we realize we have eight games to go, we’ve got a long way to go in this season,” Jones told reporters after a 28-14 loss to the Titans. “We want to play better than we played tonight, so I certainly think each individual and coach and front-office person is going to have to do better, including me.”
That means that Jason Garrett, who is 70-58 with only two playoff appearances and one playoff win since taking over midway through the 2010 season, probably isn’t going anywhere, even though Jones admitted he “didn’t like the way” the team played.
“Had we played a lot better tonight and had the loss, then I would be more positive about that. We’ve got to play better. We’re not in anything if we don’t play better,” he said. “We have to play better. We did not play good for whatever reason after that first spurt of energy in the early part of the game. We just didn’t play very well.”
The only changes the team has been inclined to make have revolved around personnel and a positional coach. The Cowboys sent their first-round 2019 draft pick to Oakland for wide receiver Amari Cooper, and Garrett dumped offensive line coach Paul Alexander, replacing him with Marc Colombo. The job of offensive coordinator Scott Linehan appears safe.
“I’m not anticipating any more coaching changes,” Jones said.
Cooper was targeted eight times Monday night, catching five passes for 58 yards and a touchdown. As for the offensive line, it allowed five sacks and six quarterback hits as it struggled to plow the road for Ezekiel Elliott (61 yards on 17 carries). The Cowboys failed to score in the second half and now sit at 3-5 as they prepare to face the Eagles on Sunday night in Philadelphia. After that, they play the Falcons in Atlanta, then Washington and New Orleans at home on consecutive Thursdays.
A make-or-break streak in front of mostly national TV audiences might change Jones’s thinking. After all, eight years ago to the day, he said he wouldn’t make an in-season coaching change. As Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio points out, he fired Wade Phillips three days later. With Jerry Jones, anything can happen.
“I very candidly didn’t see this coming,” he admitted Monday night. “I thought we would be sitting here with a positive result. This is a surprise to me and is a setback. Now when you’re halfway through the season, losing a ballgame in the NFL, if that causes you to be deterred or to not think that there’s a future ahead of you, then you’ve picked the wrong world to operate in. That’s not the life we’ve chosen.”
This much is certain: He isn’t going to fire the guy who has been the team’s real general manager for more than 20 years.
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