Finally, Jerry Jones can smile

The glow from Jerry Jones’ smile could have lit up the New

Meadowlands Stadium.

Six days after Jones fired Wade Phillips as coach, the Dallas

Cowboys showed the kind of emotion and precision that was missing

as they lost seven of their first eight games. They beat the NFC

East-leading New York Giants 33-20 Sunday in Jason Garrett’s debut

as Phillips’ replacement.

Even when the $1.6 billion stadium went dark twice with short

power outages, everything was bright for the Cowboys owner. He saw

his offense come alive with repeated big plays, and the Dallas

players were stoked from the beginning – a stark change from their

five-game losing streak that got Phillips canned.

”It’s great to see the players in here with smiles on their

faces and getting some confidence,” Jones said in a locker room

devoid of the dire tones and defeatism of earlier weeks. ”They

deserved it today.

”Don’t make this bigger than it is, but this is a little step.

I sure am happy the players and Jason have this to work off of.

It’s sure better than the alternative.”

Jones never before made a coaching in midseason, and he was

reluctant to do so this year. But the Cowboys’ rapid spiral and

their lack of competitiveness in the previous two games forced his

hand.

At some point, Jones believed Garrett would become an NFL head

coach, quite possibly for the Cowboys. That timetable went from the

future to the future is now, and Jones was impressed how the

44-year-old Garrett handled it.

”Jason is himself and he knows to be himself,” Jones said

before adding with another huge smile: ”He didn’t have but three

days to be what he could be. I’d say this is a good start.

Certainly, our team was prepared.”

Prepared to make big plays on offense and defense. That included

a team-record 101-yard interception return for a TD by rookie Bryan

McCann; a 71-yard TD jaunt with a screen pass by Felix Jones;

receptions of 46 yards by Dez Bryant, 44 by Miles Austin and 32 by

Martellus Bennett.

”Even if it’s a small consolation,” Jones said, ”I hope it’s

a good feeling for our fans. It’s not a consolation for how we

stunk it up this season, but it’s a step in the right

direction.”