Jason Garrett nailed his audition. He gets to remain coach of the Dallas Cowboys.
Team owner Jerry Jones peeled the interim label off Garrett and made him – officially – the eighth head coach in franchise history. He’s the first head coach who also played for the Cowboys. He was a backup to Troy Aikman in the 1990s.
Garrett, who was given a four-year contract, made the choice easy for Jones by going 5-3 during his half-season in charge. He took over a club that had been 1-7 and was asked to merely make them competitive. He not only compiled a winning record, but his losses were by a total of seven points.
Having seen what Garrett could do, Jones didn’t even interview him.
But Jones didn’t just change coaches. He changed his way of doing business. He ceded power and declared the start of a new era, one that could last for a while.
“Jason will have the final say on any person that leaves the coaching staff or comes to the coaching staff,” Jones said. “There won’t be a player on this team that Jason does not want on the team. That’s the way we’re going to operate.”
Garrett avoided directly answering whether he requested such decision-making power. Jones said it is not written into the contract.
“Ultimately, we’re going to feel good about the decisions we make as an organization,” Garrett said. “We’ll communicate, we have very similar football values and we’ll come to the right conclusions together.”
Garrett already has made one executive decision: He will remain the offensive coordinator.
HARBAUGH STILL HOT
Jim Harbaugh remained a red-hot coaching prospect. He had a confidential meeting with Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross in the San Francisco area about the Dolphins’ coaching job, even while Tony Sparano remained Miami’s coach. A late-season collapse by the Dolphins left Sparano’s job in jeopardy.
Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey canceled his interview with the Denver Broncos to talk about their head coaching job.
He was set to interview today, but ESPN reported that Mularkey wants to focus on the playoffs. He will still interview with the Cleveland Browns on Saturday because they called him first. The network also said Mularkey would be open to an interview with the Broncos if the job is still open after the Falcons’ season is over.
Buffalo Bills defensive tackle Kyle Williams has been added to the AFC Pro Bowl roster as an injury replacement for Oakland’s Richard Seymour. Williams had 51/2 sacks this season, second-most among players at his position. St. Louis Rams offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur, 45, will interview today with Cleveland for its coaching position. The NFL and ESPN are negotiating an extension of their rights deal that would significantly increase the network’s payments – to about $2 billion a year, up from $1.1 billion – and also could include new media rights. Arizona fired defensive coordinator Bill Davis, a member of the Cardinals’ staff since Ken Whisenhunt became coach in 2007. Arizona finished 29th out of 32 teams in total defense, 22nd in passing defense and 30th in run defense. Only Denver (471) and Dallas (436) allowed more points than the Cardinals’ 434.