IRVING, Texas -- The Dallas Cowboys’ new assistant coaches deserve a lot of credit for the team’s 2-1 start.
Owner/general manager Jerry Jones eagerly gushes about the work being done by defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin, defensive line coach Rod Marinelli and other newcomers on the coaching staff.
“It’s exceeded anything that I might have expected, my expectations, both from the standpoint of the enthusiasm, the overall aura around the team as well as the technical aspects of it,” Jones said Friday on KRLD-FM.
Jones just wants to make sure the job being done by one longtime Valley Ranch resident doesn’t get overlooked. He goes out of his way to give head coach Jason Garrett his due.
“The guy that I want to point out that is the one that is the leader and is basically really a motivator that might surprise a lot of people is Jason Garrett,” Jones said. “Jason really has a way of communicating. He has a way of setting expectations. He certainly can use the fact that he’s new, it’s fresh for him as far as his career is concerned. He’s not that far removed from having played. All of that is a plus for us.
“This team is getting a big gain from Jason Garrett’s motivational ability.”
Jones stripping his head coach of power and play-calling duties dominated the offseason discussion about the Cowboys. He pushed Garrett into a “walk-around” head coach role after saying for years how important it was for a head coach to be in charge on one side of the ball.
A widespread assumption was that Garrett entered the season on the hot seat, although Jones has insisted that wasn’t the case.
However, Garrett has thrived thus far with his revamped responsibilities. And it’s important to Jones, who is sensitive about the perception that he wants his head coach to be a puppet, to publicly praise Garrett when appropriate.
At this point, although it’s early, it seems more likely that the offseason discussion about Garrett will focus on his getting a contract extension, not being fired.