The new leader of the Dallas Cowboys seems ready for the challenge, judging by the confidence he displayed at his introductory news conference.
Jason Garrett to ring the changes
IRVING, TEXAS // Jason Garrett has never been a head coach before at any level. Yet the new leader of the Dallas Cowboys seemed ready for the challenge, judging by the confidence he displayed at his introductory news conference.
“Wade [Phillips] is no longer the coach. I am the coach and what we’re going to do going forward [is] get ready to have a great meeting, a great walkthrough and a great practice [today] and give ourselves a chance to beat the Giants on Sunday,” Garrett said yesterday.
Phillips was fired on Monday and Garrett was promoted from offensive coordinator to interim coach in the hope of salvaging a season headed towards becoming the worst in franchise history.
The Cowboys are 1-7, their worst start since 1989 and a huge collapse for a team that won their division and a play-off game last season. They were considered pre-season favourites to make the Super Bowl, which happens to be coming to their new home stadium.
Jerry Jones, the owner-general manager, steadfastly supported Phillips throughout the team’s tailspin, even saying late last week that he would not make a coaching change this season. He said on Monday he had been “in denial” about how bad the club really was.
Jones decided enough was enough following a 45-7 loss to the Green Bay Packers on Sunday night. It was the Cowboys’ fifth consecutive loss and the third in a row that was not even close.
The defence has been mostly to blame, and that was a speciality of Phillips. Paul Pasqualoni, the defensive line coach, was promoted to replace Phillips as defensive coordinator.
“I told [the players] they should not think this an admission of defeat or finality in this season,” Jones said. “We have eight games left and we have one goal – to win.”
This is the first time the Cowboys have made an in-season coaching change. Garrett also becomes the first former Dallas player to take over the job previously held by the likes of Tom Landry, Jimmy Johnson and Bill Parcells.
Garrett certainly is different from Phillips – younger, offensive-oriented and far more businesslike. He made it clear things will be done his way without giving many specifics.
“There’ll be some changes that I think will be tangible that people in our organisation will notice right from the start,” Garrett said. “I think over time those changes will be implemented into our football team. They won’t be drastic changes. I just think the personality of the leader will come through a little bit.”
Jones was clearly unhappy and uncomfortable during the news conference announcing the change.
It is worth noting that Garrett’s unit has not been much better than Phillips’s, and that goes back to before Tony Romo, the starting quarterback, broke his collarbone on October 25.
However, Garrett was No 2 on the coaching depth chart and Jones has always thought highly of him. He has been viewed as the coach-in-waiting since he was hired – days before Phillips came aboard.
“I do believe Jason has the temperament, he has the disposition to affect a culture change,” Jones said. “His style is one that I feel can be very effective.”
Miles Austin, the wide receiver, said: “I think he’s very consistent, very to the routine. I like him as a coach. Hopefully it changes things for the better.”