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Eight-game audition for Jason Garrett

IRVING, Texas -- Jerry Jones hasn’t given up on Jason Garrett as the Cowboys’ head coach of the future.

It’s far from the slam dunk it seemed to be when Jones gave Garrett a $3 million per year contract while convincing him to turn down a head coaching offer from the Baltimore Ravens a few years ago. There will be plenty of other candidates, including those on ESPN.com NFL scribe John Clayton’s list of frontrunners.

But Jones considers this to be an eight-game audition for his interim head coach to prove he deserves the job on a permanent basis.

“He does have the opportunity to get the job long-term,” Jones said. “That opportunity would be obvious if you stepped back and looked at it and we do outstanding as a team and we have very visible, very tangible success then certainly that’s doing your job, if you will, in a crisis situation and that kind of action goes beyond a resume, especially when you’re in the foxhole with him.”

What exactly is “very tangible success”? In classic Jerry fashion, he first mentions intangible things that he’ll use to judge Garrett.

“I want to see the kind of effort that is incorporating into playing to win,” Jones said. “I’m not overusing it, but playing to win. That in my definition could be extraordinary effort, the kind of effort that you might not expect to see on a team this is 1-7 right now and not in the playoffs or perceived to not be in the playoffs. Then an inordinate effort under those circumstances would be a big plus as a team and as a player. That would be a big plus.

“I’m not and shouldn’t get into the number of games we’ll win or what the record will be. That will be a factor if you’re playing as a winning team.”

The hunch here is that it’d take at least a 5-3 mark in the second half of the season to keep Jones from going outside the organization in his coaching search.