Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett
IRVING, Texas – Working for Jerry Jones presents challenges that no other NFL head coaches have to confront.
There aren’t any other NFL owners who hold postgame press conferences and have twice-weekly radio appearances, occasionally questioning his coach’s strategic thinking. There aren’t any other NFL owners who see fit to approach his head coach on the sideline in the middle of a game to pass along information and discuss which players should sit.
It’s a good thing Jason Garrett is uniquely suited for the job.
Garrett has a good relationship with his boss and gives the owner/general manager the proper respect, but he manages to do it without showing any weakness or sacrificing authority. If you don’t think that’s hard to do, just look at Wade Phillips, whose motto was, “Whatever Jerry says.” Or look at Jimmy Johnson, whose inability to get along with his former Arkansas teammate resulted in a mid-dynasty divorce.
Garrett clearly didn’t feel it was necessary for Jones to join him on the sideline in the middle of Saturday’s first quarter. After all, there are plenty of lower-profile people in the organization who are plenty of capable of passing along that Tony Romo’s X-rays were negative and the Giants had beaten the Jets.
But there Jerry was, for all the world to see. Why?
“That’s probably a question you need to ask him,” Garrett said.
Translation: It was totally unnecessary. But Garrett let the world read between the lines without saying anything remotely inflammatory.
This is the second time this season Garrett handled a potential Jerry crisis with aplomb.
Remember Jerry criticizing Garrett’s conservative play-calling late in the loss to the Patriots? Jerry said being conservative “bit us,” basically blaming Garrett for the loss.
You can debate all day whether Jerry was right, but there’s no question that it’s wrong for an owner to be so outspoken against a coach who he’s committed to keeping, something Jones admitted on his radio show a couple of days later.
Garrett managed to compliment his boss while pretty much treating the comments like white noise.
"Anybody who’s ever had the good fortune to work for Jerry Jones understands that he wants to win," Garrett said that Monday. "He’s very passionate about it. And I’ve had that experience as a player, as an assistant coach and now as a head coach.
"Like I said, anybody who’s been around him understands how much he cares about winning. That’s one of the things we love about working for this organization. He’s very passionate about the game and he’s very emotional about the game."
There’s no better way for a head coach to deal with Jerry’s quirks than to respectfully blow them off. Garrett has got that down.