Cumberland Times-News

Local Sports

July 20, 2013

‘Armageddon year’ for Garrett? Jerry Jones says no

OXNARD, Calif. — Jerry Jones opened his 25th training camp as owner of the Dallas Cowboys sounding as if coach Jason Garrett would be around for 25 more.

The first vote of confidence came even before someone could ask Saturday in the annual “State of the Cowboys” address that Jones gives on the eve of camp.

The words got stronger after the questions started. Jones said it was a “mistake” to consider this a make-or-break year for Garrett, who missed the playoffs with 8-8 records in each of his two full seasons. Both ended with losses in finales to NFC East rivals with a playoff berth on the line.

The owner and his coach shared a concert-like stage for nearly 40 minutes in what has become something of a summer tradition for Jones since he bought the team in 1989. Garrett had to duck out for the first team meeting of camp, and as he was walking off the stage, Jones was asked if it was fair to say Garrett’s job was on the line.

Jones leaned into the microphone, said “no” in several ways and even suggested that he was looking beyond the two years remaining on Garrett’s contract.

“I look to the future with Jason and not just through his contract that we’re sitting here with right now,” Jones said. “But it is not what is implied when you say, ‘Well, this is an Armageddon year for him.’ It is not that with me.”

The questions started as soon as the Cowboys overhauled their defensive staff a few weeks into the offseason, and not long after Jones said he was going to make things “uncomfortable” at team headquarters.

Fueled by the comment, speculation centered on Garrett being a rubber stamp for the firing of defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, the hiring of replacement Monte Kiffin and the decision to move play-calling duties from Garrett to Bill Callahan.

Kiffin might not have helped things when he said his first phone calls were from the owner and his son, executive vice president Stephen Jones.

Garrett had a stock answer for the “hot seat” issue all offseason: Everyone in the NFL is on it. The question for him Saturday was getting out of his personal .500 rut — and the team’s. The Cowboys are 128-128 going back to the start of the 1997 season.

“We are what we are to this point,” Garrett said. “But at some point in your life, you have to let the past go, whether it’s been great, good, mediocre or not so good. And you focus on learning from those experiences and getting better and take advantage of the opportunity in front of you.”

Garrett and Jones think the Cowboys are better because they’re healthier than they were after a 28-18 loss to Washington that kept them out of the playoffs.

The optimism has mostly to do with a defense that was missing six key players by the end of the season: linebackers Sean Lee and Bruce Carter, linemen Jay Ratliff and Kenyon Coleman, safety Barry Church and cornerback Orlando Scandrick.

DeMarcus Ware didn’t miss any games but had offseason surgery on a shoulder that limited him late in the year.

Tony Romo has been cleared for Sunday’s opening practice after missing offseason workouts to have a cyst removed from his back.

“That was a pretty tough hand,” Jones said of last season’s injury issues on defense. “I said the other day that we are a better team. I probably should have said the better team now than when we finished up last year. We had a healthy Romo, but apart from that, we were pretty banged up.”

The newcomers with the strongest chance to start are first-round pick Travis Frederick, who will get most of his work at center, and 10-year veteran Will Allen at safety. Second-year player Matt Johnson, who missed last season with a hamstring injury, is competing with Allen.

“I like how we worked in the offseason,” Garrett said. “I like our personnel. I like how our staff has come together. I think we’ve done a good job as an organization getting younger. We feel good about the decisions we made from a personnel standpoint the last couple of years.”

And as Jones reiterated Saturday, he feels good about his head coach.

 

1
Text Only
Local Sports
  • Miners win 57 in a row

    Mountain Ridge made it 57 wins in a row, scoring multiple runs in four of the five innings Thursday afternoon in defeating Keyser, 14-4, in an Appalachian Mountain Athletic Conference game at Mountain Ridge.

    April 17, 2014

  • Allegany hammers Hawks

    The bats have begun to click for the Allegany College of Maryland Trojans as a two-run first-inning home run by Tanner Klein got the ball, and the runs, rolling as the Trojans pounded out 14 hits in defeating Hagerstown Community College, 10-7, in a Maryland JUCO game Thursday at The Rock.

    April 17, 2014

  • Duncan helps ACM split two with Cecil

    Parris Duncan doubled home two runs in the top of the fourth to help Allegany College to a 2-1 victory over Cecil College in the first game of a doubleheader split Thursday afternoon.

    April 17, 2014

  • Unbeaten Alco beats Hyndman

    Undefeated Allegany took a five-inning 14-4 win at Hope for Hyndman Charter School Thursday, scoring five runs in the second inning and eight in the third.

    April 17, 2014

  • Ken Ayers hits ace

    Ken Ayers hit a hole-in-one Thursday on the No. 3 hole at Mill Creek Country Club during an MGA scramble.

    April 17, 2014

  • Sports Calendar - 04/18/2014

    April 17, 2014

  • Duke freshman Jabari Parker declares for NBA draft Duke freshman Jabari Parker declares for NBA draft

    Jabari Parker is hoping to become Duke’s latest one-and-done star to become the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Can Spurs get back at Heat? Can they survive West? Can Spurs get back at Heat? Can they survive West?

    To get another shot at LeBron James, the San Antonio Spurs may have to go through Dirk Nowitzki, then Dwight Howard and James Harden, and finally Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Kuchar builds on Masters momentum Kuchar builds on Masters momentum

    There were no major letdowns for Masters contenders Matt Kuchar and Jordan Spieth at the RBC Heritage on Thursday.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Alco beats Northern Alco beats Northern

    CRESAPTOWN — Ashleigh Eisentrout knocked in four runs to lead Allegany to an 11-2 win over Northern in Appalachian Mountain Athletic Conference action Wednesday at Carl Belt Field, marking the 200th victory in the Camper head coaching career of Rick Twigg.

    April 17, 2014 2 Photos