Cowboys' Jones undermining Garrett with coaching hires

Pro Football Weekly

Jerry Jones should just fire Jason Garrett already.

Isn’t it obvious what Jones is doing here? He has assembled Jon Gruden’s staff on Garrett’s team — Monte Kiffin as defensive coordinator, Rod Marinelli as the defensive line coach and Bill Callahan as offensive coordinator.

Yes, Callahan held that role a year ago — in name. But it was Garrett who called plays. No longer, it appears, with Jones stripping Garrett of those duties and (likely) giving them to Callahan, Gruden’s good buddy from the Oakland days and beyond.

Hey, if Tim Brown basically can suggest that Callahan threw the Super Bowl years ago to give Gruden a ring, farcical or not, we know just how close Callahan and Gruden are.

So Garrett’s not calling plays. His brother, John, the former tight ends coach in Dallas, was shipped out of town. And now it appears that Jones is trying to shove one of his former good old boys, Houston Nutt, down Garrett’s throat as the running backs coach.

Calllahan, Marinelli and Nutt — all were former head coaches. When Jones has been asked about Garrett’s game-management decisions, he has had a hard time not suggesting that he’s not fond of them in a lot of cases. And to be fair, Jones’ criticism of the erudite but also mechanical Garrett is often spot on: Too often, he overthinks and mishandles crucial game-clock situations.

But by pussyfooting around the obvious, that Jones craves having another head coach, he’s undermining Garrett badly. He’s basically hoping Garrett quits so that Jones can save a few million dollars of his salary.

It’s obvious. Painfully. And instead of just offing the guy, Jones allows him to go about his job down at the Senior Bowl with the threat looming over him that any day Jones — or Gruden — could have a change of heart and fire his head coach.

It’s weak. Maybe Jones is waiting until he knows he can get a settlement with Garrett. Maybe the owner isn’t sure Gruden wants the job. Maybe Gruden is asking too much in salary.

Heck, I have zero proof whatsoever that the two men (or their henchmen) have spoken about the Cowboys’ job. But if you can’t see what’s going on here, it’s because you’re choosing not to.

Jones needs to make a decision. Back Garrett, support him in the ways he needs or go with someone else. Now. The other NFL head-coaching jobs are dried up. The offensive coordinator spots are pretty much set in stone, league-wide. Garrett would have trouble getting a job that doesn’t already exist, save for a retirement, illness or another flip-floppy owner.

It’s embarrassing that Garrett, who despite all the guff he has taken, has won more than half his games as Cowboys coach and still gets treated this way. Garrett also rallied this team down the stretch, despite myriad injuries on both sides of the ball, and guided the ship very well following the DWI manslaughter charges against Josh Brent and the resulting death of teammate Jerry Brown.

Garrett has grown as a leader despite the often difficult circumstances working with Jones. Garrett might not be a perfect coach, but he has dealt with some tough things.

And now comes this. Will Garrett survive? Who knows? You get the feeling it’s either now in the next month or two that Jones makes a change or next season.

If Jones were man enough, he’d dip into his cash reserves and end the misery now. He already has done enough damage to his team and his coach’s career as it is.