It’s no secret Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett’s job is in jeopardy, but the team’s former QB, Hall-of-Famer Troy Aikman, thinks Garrett has been undermined by the verbosity of Owner Jerry Jones.
After every game, Jones is the only NFL owner who addresses the media, win or lose, and Aikman believes he sometimes contradicts his coach. For instance, after a recent Dallas loss to Buffalo, featuring two missed field goals by Brett Maher, Garrett said they would “evaluate the kicker” and then Jones said the opposite.
“You’ve got a head coach who comes down and says we’re going to evaluate the kicker, and then [Jones] says right after that — probably in a press conference right outside the locker room — that they weren’t evaluating the kicker,” Aikman said on Dallas’ KTCK Radio. “All those things have an impact, and it slowly trickles down.”
Jones said this week that the Cowboys are still capable of making a Super Bowl run, and Aikman feels this undermines Garrett’s message of focusing on one game at a time.
“We’ve got a head coach who we know for 10 years has been saying, ‘We’re focused on Tuesday. Today. That’s all we’re worried about is having the best practice today that we can possibly have,’” Aikman said. “And that’s been his messaging throughout, and the owner’s talking about getting on a run and winning the Super Bowl.”
Aikman feels that Jones approach lessens the gravitas of Garrett with his players.
“It starts to take away some of the authority of the head coach,” Aikman said. “And it’s been going on for 20 years, and at some level there’s players that start feeling that, ‘Oh, okay. (Jones) is the guy who’s really calling all the shots.’”
Aikman won two Super Bowls as the Cowboys quarterback with Jimmy Johnson as the head coach in the 1990’s, and feels Jones’ more hands off approach back then contributed to the team’s success.
“I think there’s some organizations that truly would do everything possible to win, they just don’t really know where to begin,” Aikman said. “And there’s different ways to do it. And I certainly understand that. But in Dallas, Dallas knows how it was done. I know how it was done. It was done with a really strong head coach who the players knew that that’s who they had to answer to.
“And for some reason that model changed, and it hasn’t been very effective for a while.”
It’s almost a forgone conclusion that Garrett is going to be fired after the season, sans a Super Bowl run. Jones fueled that speculation with a cryptic quote stating: “In my opinion, Jason Garrett will be coaching in the NFL next year.”
He didn’t say it would be with the Cowboys.
Rumor has it that if the New York Giants fire their current coach Pat Shurmur, they have their eyes on Garrett, who played for the Giants from 2000-2003 as a backup QB. Giants Co-Owner John Mara has a strong relationship with the Princeton graduate. Jason Garrett’s late father, Jim, played for the Giants in the 1950’s and later served as an assistant coach.
Jones reportedly has his eyes on some of the top college coaches like Oklahoma’s Lincoln Riley and Ohio State’s Ryan Day if he fires Garrett.
But those kind of coaches likely wouldn’t take the job unless they got total control of the Cowboys’ football operation, and it’s unlikely Jones would cede that.
The Cowboys are currently 6-7, but still have a chance of winning the NFC East and making the playoffs.