Jerry Jones: Garrett will return, Romo’s back OK
Jerry Jones has another long offseason to ponder what the Dallas
owner called ”unthinkable” – three straight season-ending losses
that left the Cowboys at 8-8 and out of the playoffs.
Here are his quick takes: Jason Garrett will return, Tony Romo’s
back is going to be fine and another shuffling of the defensive
coaching staff could be coming.
Jones has been saying emphatically for more than a month that
Garrett will be back for a fourth full season. The latest
declaration came after Sunday night’s 24-22 loss to Philadelphia
that sewed up the coach’s third break-even record in three full
seasons, and his 0-3 record in finales with the NFC East title on
”We’ve put a lot of effort in training as a franchise into
Jason Garrett, and I want to take advantage of that,” Jones told
reporters after the game. ”If we don’t have him, we don’t get
payback for all the miscues and losses and criticism of sideline
management. We don’t get a chance to benefit from the one way you
learn, and that is the mistakes you make.”
Romo, the loser in the first two win-or-go-home games, had back
surgery Friday after getting hurt in a season-saving victory at
Washington. He missed the loss to the Eagles, with Kyle Orton
throwing the game-clinching interception this time.
After two back surgeries in eight months, Romo will be 34 when
he takes another snap for the Cowboys. Notice the ”when” instead
of the ”if.” That’s Jones talking.
”The nature of his injury was not alarming,” Jones said. ”It
was not complicated.”
Jones figures Romo will be ready for offseason workouts this
spring. Tight end Jason Witten doesn’t have any doubt, and will
welcome him back even though he had season highs of 12 catches for
135 yards with Orton throwing to him on Sunday.
”Obviously it’s been a tough eight months for him physically,”
Witten said of Romo, who walked gingerly while attending exit
meetings at team headquarters Monday. ”I know how he works. I know
how he competes. I know how he trains, that he’ll bounce back and
be even better next year.”
There might not be a next year for defensive coordinator Monte
Kiffin, whose first season in charge of the Dallas defense ended
with the most yards allowed in franchise history – by almost
The Cowboys were competitive defensively in the last games
against the Redskins and Eagles. But there were many unsightly
moments in the first year of a four-man defensive front after
nearly a decade with three linemen and four linebackers.
Dallas gave up the first two 600-yard games in franchise
history, the first 40-first down game in league history and
couldn’t stop a pair of backup quarterbacks when it mattered most
late in the season. The Cowboys were last in total defense in
Kiffin’s 27th NFL season, a career marked by a Super Bowl-winning
defense in Tampa Bay that led the league in yards allowed, points
allowed and interceptions.
Dallas did finish the season without defensive leader Sean Lee,
who missed five of the last six games with hamstring and neck
injuries. The defensive line was a mad scramble all season because
”I wouldn’t evaluate Monte Kiffin without taking in
consideration our circumstances this year with injuries, his
ability to put in place guys coming in and out on a weekly basis,”
Jones said. ”One thing about having the career that he’s had is
you get to look at the whole career when you’re looking at
The most troubling development with the new scheme was how much
DeMarcus Ware struggled in it. The franchise sacks leader had a
career-low six and missed games for the first time in his nine
seasons because of a thigh injury. He’s also been dealing with back
and elbow issues.
The Cowboys might even end up releasing Ware to save salary cap
space if he doesn’t agree to a pay cut. He says he’s willing to
restructure his contract, but not reduce his salary.
”I’ve got to think about how I started training camp,” Ware
said. ”I wasn’t hurt then and I felt like I couldn’t be stopped.
I’ve got to figure now how to get through the whole season without
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