Jason Garrett

Jason Garrett Tried To Convince Jason Witten To Unretire

The 7-5 Cowboys have put together a four-game winning streak and now sit atop the NFC East standings, though the 6-6 Eagles are hot on their heels. Dallas hosts Philadelphia in a critical divisional matchup this afternoon, and according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com, Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett has reached out to an old friend to give his club a boost.

Per Schefter, Garrett has made multiple attempts this season to convince former Cowboys tight end Jason Witten to come out of retirement and rejoin the team. Witten, of course, announced his retirement back in May, and he has served as a color commentator for ESPN’s Monday Night Football broadcasts this year (which have not gone nearly as well for him as his on-field career did). Even though Witten is now 36, he did put up 63 catches for 560 yards and five scores last season, and Dallas would kill to have that kind of production from its tight end corps this year.

The Cowboys’ have gotten next to nothing from their tight ends in 2018 thanks to injury and poor performance, and Garrett was convinced that Witten could step out of the broadcast booth and back onto the field without missing a beat. The team’s offense has come alive since adding Amari Cooper prior to the trade deadline, and Garrett believed Witten’s presence would further bolster the unit. However, Witten has firmly resisted Garrett’s overtures and is committed to honing his new craft.

The Cowboys drafted Witten out of Tennessee in the third round of the 2003 draft, and he never suited up for anyone else. He piled up 11 Pro Bowl nods and two First Team All-Pro selections in a remarkable career that places him near the top of all major statistical categories for tight ends.

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Cowboys Mulled Firing Scott Linehan During Bye Week; Latest On Jason Garrett

The Cowboys’ offense has been anemic all season long, and the unit ranks 26th in the league in points per game (19.3) and 27th in yards per game (317.1). Offensive coordinator Scott Linehan was “thoroughly evaluated” at the end of the 2017 campaign, and Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network reiterated today that head coach Jason Garrett strongly considered moving on from Linehan at that time (video link).

And while Garrett elected to keep Linehan on board and went along with Linehan’s overhaul of the wide receivers room, Rapoport says Garrett again considered firing Linehan during the team’s bye week at the end of October. Indeed, Rapoport said that he thought Linehan was going to be shown the door, but Dallas reversed course and elected to fire offensive line coach Paul Alexander instead. But unless the 3-5 Cowboys are able to make a surge in the second half of the season, the entire coaching staff could be on its way out.

Indeed, Rapoport confirmed today that the Cowboys are not planning to fire Garrett before the end of the season, which we heard earlier this week. But his job security is tenuous at best, and if owner Jerry Jones ultimately decides to ax Garrett, Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley is one name to keep an eye on. The Jones family is fond of Riley, who has also been mentioned as a potential candidate for the Browns’ head coaching job, so if Cleveland wants to reunite Baker Mayfield with his collegiate coach, it may have to battle Dallas, and perhaps other clubs, for the privilege.

In the interview with Rapoport linked above, Mike Garafolo of the NFL Network briefly mentioned the possibility that Garrett could take control of offensive play-calling duties in an effort to save the Cowboys’ season and his job, but there does not appear to be anything concrete on that front at the moment.

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Cowboys Won’t Fire Garrett During Season

On Monday night, the Cowboys were held scoreless in the second half and lost 28-14 to the Titans. It marked the Cowboys’ second straight loss and dragged the team down to 3-5, leading many to question Jason Garrett‘s job security. However, owner Jerry Jones says he will not make an in-season head coaching change (via Todd Archer of ESPN.com). 

Whether Garrett is the biggest problem in Dallas is up for debate, but something was clearly amiss with the Cowboys’ game plan on Monday night. Star running back Ezekiel Elliott ripped off 96 total yards in the first half, but had just six touches in the entire second half. Meanwhile, quarterback Dak Prescott didn’t do them any favors by throwing an ill-advised end zone interception early in the game and giving up a costly fumble in the second half.

Many are concerned about Prescott’s development in the midst of his third season, but Jones reaffirmed his commitment to the former fourth-round pick.

“Listen,” Jones said on 105.3 The Fan (Twitter link). “Dak is the quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys. He’s young and he’s going to get extended.”

The Cowboys – with Garrett on the sidelines and Prescott under center – will travel to Philadelphia this week to take on the defending champs.

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Cowboys Haven’t Considered Extension For Jason Garrett

The Cowboys haven’t pondered an extension for head coach Jason Garrett, owner Jerry Jones says (Twitter link via Jon Machota of the Dallas Morning News). Jones’ comments caused a stir, particularly with speculation about Garrett’s job security, but it’s not necessarily huge news since Garrett is already signed through the 2019 season. 

[RELATED: Who Will Be The First Coach To Get Fired?]

Frankly, it would be shocking if the 3-3 Cowboys approached Garrett about a new contract with 26 regular season games to go on his deal. Garrett has had some successful campaigns in Dallas, but the Cowboys missed the playoffs last season and have just one playoff victory in his past seven full years at the helm.

After a disappointing overtime loss to the Texans, the Cowboys bounced back on Sunday with a 40-7 blowout of the Jaguars. With a win over the Redskins in D.C. this weekend, the Cowboys can move past the .500 mark for the first time in 2018. And, if the Cowboys continue to win, Garrett could have an extension offer early next year.

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NFC Notes: Manning, Giants, Cowboys, Packers, Redskins

Plenty of people criticized the Giants’ decision to take Saquon Barkley with the second overall pick. While Barkley has been electric, many people thought the opportunity to take one of this year’s class of quarterback prospects was too good to pass up. Eli Manning has struggled mightily this year, and the Giants now have no clear succession plan. Despite not drafting a quarterback early this year, New York “believed that somehow, some way, they’d find their heir apparent somewhere down the line”, according to Ralph Vacchiano of SNY.

Now that they might have to find that heir apparent earlier than expected, Vacchiano went through all the Giants’ options to find a quarterback of the future, including a trade before the deadline this year, free agency, and the draft. They have fourth round rookie Kyle Lauletta on the roster, and Vacchiano writes they must “absolutely take a look at him in a game this year.” One way or another, it looks like Manning’s days as the Giants’ starter are numbered.

Here’s more from the NFC:

  • There’s been growing frustration with Jason Garrett as coach of the Cowboys, especially after his decision to punt the ball away on 4th & 1 in overtime last week. While owner Jerry Jones and his son Stephen have insisted, Garret’s job isn’t in danger, “there’s been buzz in league circles indicating that the Joneses may eventually set their sights on Oklahoma’s Lincoln Riley”, according to Albert Breer of SI.com.
  • Aaron Rodgers recently suffered a setback with his injured knee, but is looking to avoid going back to the bulky brace he had to wear initially, according to Rob Demovsky of ESPN. Rodgers re-injured the knee on a hit he took early in the Packers’ loss to the Lions last week. The game against Detroit was his first game without the large brace that made it harder for him to move around.
  • Josh Norman was benched to start the second half of the Redskins’ loss to the Saints on Monday night, and it apparently wasn’t about his play. “It was definitely something between Gruden and Norman that got a little heated and definitely not because of him getting beat in coverage”, according to John Keim of ESPN (Twitter link). Apparently Norman and coach Jay Gruden got into an altercation at halftime, and this will be an interesting situation to monitor going forward.

Josh Gordon Fallout: Browns, Pats, Cowboys

While Josh Gordon reportedly went through an MRI that didn’t reveal substantial hamstring trouble, he did suffer an injury while filming a promotional video Friday night, Zac Jackson of The Athletic reports. The Browns lost patience with Gordon not because of an injury, per Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com but because of his off-field issues. The latest in that long line of incidents appears to have taken place in the Cleveland area Friday night. Gordon misled the Browns by saying he was participating in a photo shoot for his clothing line at the team’s facility, when in actuality he was doing drills for a hype video, Jackson reports.

Gordon participated in the filming of this video for up to 90 minutes, per Jackson, who adds a 40-yard dash was involved. But the final shoot was called off after he grabbed his hamstring while doing drills. This occurred just before midnight Friday. Gordon then missed a team meeting Saturday morning and after arriving 10 minutes late went into the training room, Jackson adds. He did participate in the portion of the Browns’ Saturday-morning workout open to the media, Cabot reports, running myriad routes, further complicating this saga. For what it’s worth, Yahoo’s Charles Robinson (via Elaine Benes GIF) expresses the prevailing league sentiment on Gordon’s recent injury (Twitter link).

Here’s the latest fallout from this major September trade:

  • The Patriots did this because they are “desperate” for another playmaker on offense, Robinson notes. Both Tom Brady and Josh McDaniels have become “acutely aware” the team lacks a viable deep threat, Robinson writes. New England has made 28 transactions at wide receiver since the start of this league year, the headliner being a trade of Brandin Cooks to the Rams for a first-round pick — which became a player (offensive lineman Isaiah Wynn) who can’t contribute until at least 2019. The Jaguars muzzled the Pats’ attack for much of the teams’ AFC championship game rematch Sunday.
  • Robinson also debunks the notion the Cowboys were pursuing Gordon. Both Robinson and the Fort Worth Star-Telegram’s Clarence Hill (Twitter link) report the Cowboys had “no interest” in the 27-year-old receiver. Although Dallas is thinner at wide receiver (in terms of reliable producers) than just about any franchise, the team was not exploring a Gordon deal — contrary to a previous report that indicated it was. Perhaps brief conversations involved Gordon, per Clarence Hill of The Athletic (on Twitter), but the front office didn’t approach Jason Garrett about that prospect.
  • The 49ers did not bid what the Patriots did for Gordon, Kyle Shanahan said, via Nick Wagoner of ESPN.com (on Twitter). John Lynch confirmed the 49ers’ interest in Gordon, but the Browns — as they have with many trades in recent years — chose a Patriots offer instead.
  • Gordon is not believed to be doing especially well financially, per Cabot, who reports the wideout who is making $790K this season “owes people money.” Gordon’s involved in a child-support battle with the mother of his 3-year-old daughter and has not received much NFL money since the 2013 season. Cabot wondered if this turn of events was a way for Gordon to get to free agency early, but after the subsequent trade to the Patriots, he’s still attached to that 2012 rookie contract. She argued, prior to the trade, for the Browns to exercise more patience here unless a much better offer came along. But they cut the cord for a fifth-round pick.
  • Gordon’s contract being non-guaranteed breaks the Patriots’ payments down into $46K increments, Ben Volin of the Boston Globe notes. The Pats can cut Gordon free of any dead-money charges. A second-round RFA tender in 2019 would cost about $3MM, but Volin argues the team might be better served to give Gordon an original-round tender since the Patriots would still receive a second-round pick in return from a team that signs Gordon to an offer sheet (because he was a second-round pick). The low-end tender should be worth approximately $2MM in 2019.

Poll: Who Will Be The First Coach To Get Fired This Season?

It’s a new year for every coach in the NFL, but not every coach will survive the year. Already, there’s speculation about which coaches could be on the hot seat in 2018. Some coaches with shaky job security may include:

  • Hue Jackson, Browns: Jackson is the oddsmaker’s favorite to lose his job first. After compiling a 1-31 record in his two seasons at the helm in Cleveland, it’s hard to argue with the professionals. Jackson certainly has more talent to work with thanks to the arrivals of running back Carlos Hyde, wide receiver Jarvis Landry, and a vastly improved secondary, but along with that comes raised expectations. When also considering that Jackson is a holdover from the previous regime and not necessarily the preferred choice of new GM John Dorsey, it’s quite possible that Jackson could be ousted with another bad start.
  • Adam Gase, Dolphins: When Gase was hired in 2016, he was the league’s youngest head coach at the age of 38. He earned a playoff appearance in his first year on the sidelines, but last year turned ugly after quarterback Ryan Tannehill was lost for the season and replaced by Jay Cutler. Tannehill’s return should help matters, but it’s fair to wonder whether this team has improved much at all after losing Ndamukong Suh on the other side of the ball. The Dolphins’ early schedule may also hurt Gase as they open against the Titans, Jets, Raiders, and Patriots. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see the Dolphins split those games, like they did in 2017, but it’s also conceivable that they could open the year 0-4. As you can probably guess, an 0-4 start is historically difficult to climb out from. Of the 117 teams that have started 0-4 in the 16-game era, the ’92 Chargers are the ones to have reached the postseason with with an 11-win campaign. The 2004 Bills and the 2017 Chargers both rallied to win nine games, but neither club reached the playoffs.
  • Marvin Lewis, Bengals: The Lewis saga took some weird twists and turns last season. In the midst of a second-straight season without a playoff appearance, there was speculation about Lewis’ job security. Then, in December, we started hearing rumblings that Lewis might leave the Bengals to pursue opportunities elsewhere. Ultimately, Lewis was signed to a two-year extension to, theoretically, keep him under contract for his 16th and 17th seasons in Cincinnati. Lewis has avoided lame duck status for 2018, but there’s no guarantee that he’ll survive the year if the Bengals falter.
  • Vance Joseph, Broncos: Joseph was nearly axed after the 2017 season before John Elway ultimately decided to retain him. The Broncos’ defense is still jam-packed with talent and they have a capable quarterback in Case Keenum, so anything short of a playoff appearance will be a disappointment in Denver. This will be Joseph’s second season at the helm in Denver, but it’s clear that he is under pressure it win.
  • Dirk Koetter, Buccaneers: Koetter was already believed to be on the hot seat but he was placed squarely behind the 8-ball last week when quarterback Jameis Winston was suspended for the first three games of the season. Even if the Bucs come out of September unscathed, they’ll be up against an overall schedule that is the fourth-toughest in the NFL, based on the combined win percentage of opponents in 2017.

The list goes on from there. Jay Gruden (Redskins), Todd Bowles (Jets), Bill O’Brien (Texans), Jason Garrett (Cowboys), John Harbaugh (Ravens), and Ron Rivera (Panthers) could also be in varying degrees of jeopardy with disappointing seasons. We’d be surprised to see a quick hook for Garrett, Harbaugh, or Rivera no matter what happens, but you may feel differently.

Click below to make your pick for who will be the first to get the axe. Then, you can head to the comment section to back up your choice.

[RELATED: The Average Age Of NFL Head Coaches In 2018]

Cowboys Want To Keep Linehan, Marinelli

There will be some coaching changes in Dallas, but it sounds like the main coaches will be staying in place. In a radio interview on Wednesday, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said that the team wants to retain offensive coordinator Scott Linehan and defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli for 2018 (link via Kate Hairopoulos of the Dallas Morning News). Scott Linehan

Starting this week, the team will evaluate the futures of assistants such as running backs coach Gary Brown, wide receivers coach Derek Dooley, and linebackers coach Matt Eberflus, who are on expiring deals. Quarterbacks coach Wade Wilson and secondary coach Joe Baker have already been fired, according to Mac Engel of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram (Twitter link).

Both Marinelli and Linehand signed extensions with the team last March. The length of Marinelli’s contract is unknown, but we do know that Linehan is under contract through 2019.

Meanwhile, Jones says that he has given no consideration to replacing Jason Garrett as head coach.

It’s not even a thought for me,” Jones said. “I do like the fact that we’ve invested, if you will. We’ve got several years of Jason evolving in this profession in the NFL. There’s no question the familiarity with teams that we’re playing, especially in our division, is a big plus. You pay a big price when you make a change at the head coach. You pay some price when you make a change at any position coach situation. On the other hand, freshness we’re talking about, new ideas, nothing set in stone, that’s a plus too. But I think that Jason’s in a good spot. We’re in a good spot with Jason. He certainly has the mentality of doing things differently, again not just to be doing them differently, but basically recognizing that we’ve got some things we do need to do differently. We’ll make that happen through our assistant coaches.”

While several jobs are up in the air, there is one confirmed vacancy on the Cowboys’ staff following the retirement of tight ends coach Steve Loney.

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Jerry Jones “Feels Good” About Jason Garrett

The Cowboys 2017 season was one of major ups and downs. Though, in the end, America’s team will not be in the postseason after losing to the Seahawks at home on Sunday afternoon. However, that doesn’t mean that owner Jerry Jones has soured on his head coach. Jones made sure to give Jason Garrett a vote of confidence during his postgame comments, reports Todd Archer of ESPN.com.

Jason Garrett (Vertical)

“Just so we’re clear about it, I do understand frustration right after you lose a game that has as much meaningfulness as this ballgame, but I get to look at a lot of different things and have been around a lot of head coaches and coordinators,” Jones said. “I feel good about our head coach.”

Garrett, 51, has been the head coach of the Cowboys since 2010, accumulating a record of 67-55 during his tenure. But on the other hand, he only has two playoff appearances to show for his efforts. In addition, Garrett has not led the team past the divisional round, despite being the number one overall seed in the NFC last year.

However, Garrett was without his star running back Ezekiel Elliott for six games during the stretch run of the season. So while the loss does hurt, especially considering that the team had rallied for three straight wins in the weeks prior, the team is still young and returns many of its key players in 2018.

It would seem like Jones is intent on keeping Garrett at the helm for at least another year, but the pressure will be on if the Cowboys continue to underperform with him at the controls.

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Jerry Jones Says Jason Garrett’s Job Is Safe

Mired in a season-defining swoon since Ezekiel Elliott‘s suspension went into effect, the Cowboys are on the verge of slinking out of the NFC race. It would mark the fifth time in Jason Garrett‘s seven seasons the team missed the playoffs.

But Jerry Jones did not mince words when asked about his head coach’s job security. The owner said the HC spot is not being evaluated despite the three consecutive blowout losses — two of those on national television.

Again, I don’t step out of the dressing room and evaluate the coaching position at all,” Jones said, via Jon Machota of the Dallas Morning News (on Twitter). “Candidly, and I don’t even want to say it so that somebody might repeat it. Absolutely not.”

Jones had a closed-door meeting with the team after its 28-6 loss to the Chargers

Garrett is the longest-tenured coach in Jones’ 28-year tenure running the franchise, having taken over during the 2010 season. He’s 63-52 in charge of the Cowboys. Wade Phillips received 3 1/2 seasons despite two of those ending in the playoffs. Jimmy Johnson coached five, although that run would have obviously been extended based solely on the team’s on-field performance.

Garrett’s teams, though, have won more playoff games (two) than any Cowboys coach since Barry Switzer. And they finished with fewer than eight wins in a season just once, the 2015 slate when Tony Romo went down, under Garrett’s guidance.

While Garrett’s status could certainly change if this run of routs persists, the eighth-year Dallas coach looks to be safe from a late-season firing.

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