The Dallas Cowboys are sticking with head coach Jason Garrett for the remainder of the 2018 season. Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones says he will not make an in-season coaching change.
When asked if there was any scenario in which he would make an in-season firing, Jones simply said, “no.” This means Garrett will lead the charge for the second half of the season for Dallas, which fell to 3-5 after an ugly loss to the Tennessee Titans on Monday Night Football.
Despite being fresh off the bye week, the Cowboys did not look sharp against the Titans, who also had a bye the previous week. Dallas did not score the entire second half and blew a golden opportunity to break the game wide open in the first quarter. Up 7-0 after recovering a Titans’ fumble for the second straight drive, quarterback Dak Prescott tossed an interception in the red zone on a pass thrown into double coverage.
Jones traded for wide receiver Amari Cooper during the bye. He dealt a 2019 first-round pick to the Oakland Raiders to acquire the former No. 4 overall pick, a high price to pay for a player who has disappointed (relative to his raw talent and expectations) in each of the past two seasons. Cooper played well in his Cowboys debut, catching five passes for 58 yards and a touchdown.
Trading for Cooper reeked of desperation and is a move Jones may regret in the long-term. Despite his willingness to make a drastic roster move, Jones shut down the idea of making a coaching change before season’s end. But Jones was clearly frustrated after the loss.
I very candidly didn't see this coming," Jones said after the Cowboys lost at home for the first time this season. "I thought we would be sitting here with a positive result. This is a surprise to me and is a setback. Now when you're halfway through the season, losing a ballgame in the NFL, if that causes you to be deterred or to not think that there's a future ahead of you, then you've picked the wrong world to operate in. That's not the life we've chosen.
Garrett’s job may be secure for now, but he likely needs a strong finish to the year to retain his job in 2019 and beyond. He has made the playoffs just twice since taking over for the Cowboys in 2010—then as the interim coach before being elevated the following year to his current head coach status—and has won only one postseason contest.
Garrett has made some questionable moves this season, most notably punting on a 4th-and-1 in overtime with the ball at the opposing 42-yard line in a loss to the Houston Texans in Week 5. He opted to punt despite having a top-tier offensive line and Ezekiel Elliott, one of the best running backs in football, at his disposal. In Monday’s loss, Elliot received only six second-half carries, leading to more criticism for Garrett.
Jones was not pleased with the performance of the Garrett-led Cowboys, who fell two games behind the Washington Redskins (5-3) for first place in the NFC East and now trail the defending-champion Philadelphia Eagles (4-4) by a full game in the standings.
“I don't like the way we played tonight,” Jones said. “Had we played a lot better tonight and had the loss, then I would be more positive about that. We've got to play better. We're not in anything if we don't play better. We have to play better. We did not play good for whatever reason after that first spurt of energy in the early part of the game. We just didn't play very well.”