Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones did not hesitate when asked if the upcoming season is a playoffs-or-bust year for head coach Jason Garrett.
“No. That’s the best answer I can give, and the fairest,” Jones said on Wednesday.
Garrett has posted a 67-53 record in 7 1/2 seasons as the Cowboys’ coach, albeit with just two playoff appearances. The 52-year-old Garrett, who won coach of the year honors in 2016, is coming off the first back-to-back winning seasons of his coaching career.
“As you well know, you’ve heard me say many times on a personal basis, if I may be so bold, I’d say he’s a lot better coach today than he was last year or the year before that or the year before that. That’s the way it works when you are driven and motivated,” Jones said.
Former Cowboys wide receiver Terrell Owens openly questioned in May why Garrett is still at the helm.
Owens said it was “mind-boggling” that Dallas opted to bring Garrett back after the team finished with a 9-7 mark last season and missed the playoffs.
“It all boils down to players being the scapegoat for (Garrett’s) inability to lead the team as he should,” Owens said in May. “For me it’s mind-boggling. I don’t understand. And I think Jerry — again he’s the owner at the end of the day, he has to feel good with himself about the decisions — but I just don’t understand why this guy still has a job.”
Former Cowboys fullback Daryl Johnston lent support to Garrett this month.
“I think you’ve got to be able to give a head coach time,” Johnston said during an appearance on DFW’s Fox4, per the Dallas Morning News. “It’s one of the great things John Madden said, and this was about the San Francisco 49ers when they moved away from Steve Mariucci, but they had no plan after that. Sometimes you do that and all of a sudden you find yourself in a decade of mediocrity, and in San Francisco’s case, not even mediocrity. That was a tough decade. They made a change for change’s sake and nobody was there.
“Jason Garrett, in my opinion, moving forward gives Dallas the best opportunity. They’ve got that window right now with a quarterback (Dak Prescott) and a very talented running back (Ezekiel Elliott) on rookie contracts. To make a change right now, that would be sabotage to that organization. Keep everything in place, take a run with this window that’s there.”