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IRVING, Texas – With the Dallas Cowboys fighting for their playoffs lives here in the final six-game stretch of the season, owner Jerry Jones didn’t make it sound like his head coach is actually fighting for his job.
In fact, he has said that in the past and reiterated it again to reporters at today’s Valley Ranch practice.
Jones said Jason Garrett returning as head coach in 2014 does not hinge on making the playoffs this year.
And when asked directly if Garrett would be the coach next year, Jones emphatically said, “yes.”
“It’s not that (an Armageddon year) for Jason, and I’m disappointed that we don’t have a better record,” Jones said. “But he has got us in position to win the division and got a team here that I firmly believe has the ability to be one of the better-playing teams at the end and in position to get in the playoffs. We see logically how to get in the playoffs, we have that, for all practical purposes, in our control. Now that’s a pretty good spot to be in after 10 games. And so a lot of this story is to be played out. It does not have a bearing on whether or not he will be our coach next year.”
Jason Garrett, who joined the Cowboys in 2007 as the offensive coordinator, took over Wade Phillips in the middle of the 2010 season when the Cowboys were 1-7. As interim head coach, Garrett led the Cowboys to a 5-3 finish before being named the official head coach in 2011.
The injury laden Dallas Cowboys have finished 8-8 the last two years and have lost the season finale both seasons with the NFC East title and a playoff spot on the line.
Jason Garrett is 26-24 including the eight games as interim head coach in 2010.
DALLAS COWBOYS OWNER JERRY JONES: Jason Garrett safe in 2014 (4:14)
FRISCO, Texas — The Dallas Cowboys formally announced Tuesday they are moving their headquarters from suburban Irving to suburban Frisco after winning overwhelming approval for a $115 million development that includes an indoor stadium for practice and use by area prep teams.
Accompanied by cheerleaders and city officials, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and his son, executive vice president Stephen Jones, made a quick trip home from training camp in Oxnard, Calif., to celebrate Frisco officials. The multi-use sports facilities, which will be shared with Frisco Independent School District’s sports teams, are expected to open in 2016.
“Frisco is a city (that) they think big and they act bold. They have a vision and they act on it,” Stephen Jones said. “It gives us great comfort to do business with people who think like this.”
The stadium will be paid for mostly through a city sales tax, with the school district funding part of the construction. The deal, which was approved late Monday, calls for the Cowboys to manage the facilities and pay operating costs.
School district officials said they already were planning on building a football stadium before singing onto this private-public deal.
“We could in no way duplicate a stadium of this caliber on our own, spending the same amount for construction,” said Jeremy Lyon, Frisco ISD’s superintendent.
Lyon said the partnership will save taxpayers money in the long run by splitting costs after the stadium is open.
Frisco is already the home of the FC Dallas of Major League Soccer, a minor league affiliate of baseball’s Texas Rangers and the training facility for hockey’s Dallas Stars. It is about 30 miles north of Dallas and about 45 miles from AT&T Stadium in Arlington.
John Classe, a board member with the city who voted for the deal, said FC Dallas had a similar deal to what the Cowboys are getting, with the city funding its stadium but leaving leasing and management costs to the team.
“Just like that deal, it’s anticipated that the Cowboys will put more money into the facility above and beyond the city’s commitment,” Classe said. “Therefore we will end up with a nicer facility.”
The 91-acre development includes 25 acres for the Cowboys’ facilities, while the remaining 66 acres will be used for stores, restaurants and a luxury hotel. According to city officials, the development will generate $1.26 billion in tax revenue with an estimated economic impact of $23.4 billion over the next 30 years.
This deal ends a four-decade relationship between the Cowboys and the City of Irving.
IRVING – Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said Friday he’s recovering nicely from recent surgery to repair his left retina.
Jones, 70, had the surgery Wednesday.
“It’s fine, it went very well,” Jones said while wearing dark glasses as he spoke with reporters at the team’s rookie camp (click HERE or on the photo above to watch video).
“I just had a little surgery and I got that done Wednesday so it’s going to work good. It’s more retina work. Actually don’t know when it was injured, but probably could have been as much as 10 to 15 years ago. It had me where I wasn’t hitting the curveball like I know I can.”
It’s the second time in three years Jones has said publicly he’s undergone surgery. In 2010, he underwent surgery for an undisclosed illness he said wasn’t life threatening.
Jerry Jones talks about the teams situation with Doug Free, and also Tony Romo’s expanded role in the Dallas Cowboys offense.
RELATED TO ABOVE VIDEO: Jerry Jones would like to keep Doug Free
The Dallas Cowboys want right tackle Doug Free back, but it will have to be at the right price.
“I’d like to keep him,” Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said Friday. “We think that Doug Free can be an important part of the team. He’s been here. We know him. We think that with what we’re doing in other parts of our offense, certainly in the offensive line, that this will bode well for him. So we think he can really be an asset to us.”
Free would not talk about the Cowboys’ request for a renegotiation at a team charity event Wednesday. But Jones confirmed the Cowboys have asked Free to take a pay cut from the $7 million salary he is scheduled to make. (Free currently is slated to count $10 million against the salary cap.)
“It’s no secret that we’re trying to renegotiate the contract,” Jones said. “But I think it’s a wrong assessment to say that anybody’s saying ‘take it or leave it’ or we’re at our wit’s end or those kinds of things. That’s just not the way I see it going.”
Though Jones said the sides still are talking, the ball is in Free’s court to decide his future.
Free had a team-leading 13 penalties, including five holds, and allowed seven sacks. He played better late in the season when he played in a rotation with Jermey Parnell.
Although the Cowboys likely would go after a veteran tackle — Eric Winston is the biggest name still on the free-agency market — if they move on from Free, Jones said Parnell is ready to take the next step.
“When you say the next step, if that implies is he getting better, yes,” Jones said. “I think he is getting better. I think his arrow so to speak is going up. I feel good about where he is and the ideal place for the Cowboys is on the right basis is have them both.”
RELATED TO ABOVE VIDEO: Jerry Jones clear about Travis Frederick
Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is not hiding his wishes for first-round pick Travis Frederick.
He wants him to start. He expects him to start.
“We want him to come in here and contribute immediately,” Jones said Friday as the Dallas Cowboys started a three-day rookie minicamp. “Jason says it right when he says there is competition, but certainly, there ought to be a spot for him on that offensive line. We think he has the combination of skill and mental to play immediately.”
It makes sense Jones wants Frederick to play immediately. The Cowboys were criticized for not getting enough in return in a swap of first-round picks with that eventually resulted in the selection of Frederick with the 31st pick.
And, Jones does not often burn first-round picks on linemen. But this is the second time in three years the Cowboys have done it – they selected tackle Tyron Smith in 2011, and he started from the first game.
“One of his No.1 traits and assets was his ability to mentally cover a lot of ground,” Jones said of Frederick. “We should get him ready to give us some position flex between guard and center.”
Jerry Jones discussed his confidence in the safeties on the Dallas Cowboys’ roster during last week’s conference call with season-ticket holders.
“I think we’re in good shape at safety,” Jones said.
Yes, Jones is well aware that the projected starting safeties have a combined four NFL starts. Those are all by Barry Church, who was thought highly enough of at Valley Ranch to receive a four-year, $9 million deal (plus $3.4 million in incentives).
The team also has Matt Johnson, who missed all of his rookie season due to hamstring problems and other injuries.
“I don’t know when I’ve ever seen a player impress our staff without having played in a ballgame any more than Matt Johnson,” Jones stated.
The Cowboys’ other alternatives at safety: third-round pick J.J. Wilcox; nine-year veteran Will Allen; and three-year vet Danny McCray.
“I think we’ve really given ourselves a lot of potential,” Jones said. “The coaches told me (with) the scheme, ‘Don’t worry as much about range.’ I said, ‘What? Don’t worry as much about range?’
“(Kiffin) said, ‘No, our scheme gives them the angles. It gives them the angles. Get us somebody that is young. Don’t worry as much about experience as you have in the past. Get us some young players with instincts and let us go from there with them.’”
Believe it or not, that actually passes the smell test, given Kiffin’s Tampa Bay track record.
When Kiffin arrived in Tampa in 1996, the Bucs had precious little experience at safety. Their strong safety had six starts in the previous three seasons of his NFL career. Their free safety started three games as a rookie the previous year.
John Lynch, a third-round pick in 1993, ended up establishing himself as one of the elite strong safeties in NFL history, playing in nine Pro Bowls. The Bucs filled free safety with a handful of mid-round picks and low-priced free agents during Lynch’s Tampa Bay tenure, finishing top 10 in both major defensive categories every year but Lynch’s first full season as a starter, when they were 11th in yards allowed.
Kiffin’s history of making the most out of medium-level investments at safety offers no guarantees, of course. It does, however, provide legitimate proof for those inside Valley Ranch who insist that there’s no need to panic about the Cowboys’ safety situation.
See (or hear) what Jerry Jones, Jason Garrett, and Stephen Jones had to say about the Dallas Cowboys 2013 Draft class
RELATED: Cowboys considered moving up, but players went in Top-10
The Dallas Cowboys were bound and determined to improve the offensive line in the 2013 NFL Draft. They believe they did so with Wisconsin center/guard Travis Frederick with the 31st overall pick in the first round.
But there were two other players the Cowboys were eyeing earlier in the draft that they would have moved up from the 18th pick to get but both went in the top ten, according to Jones.
Clearly, Jones was talking about North Carolina guard Jonathan Cooper, who went seventh to the Arizona Cardinals and Alabama guard Chance Warmack, who went 10th to the Tennessee Titans. Both had been linked to the Cowboys in many mocked drafts leading up to the draft.
With those two gone and then Texas safety Kenny Vaccaro and Missouri defensive tackle Sheldon Richarsdon also gone by the time the Cowboys were ready to pick at 18, Jones decided to pull the trigger on a trade with the San Francisco 49ers that moved them back 31 and netted them an extra third round pick. In the end, Jones was satisfied with getting Frederick and the extra pick.
“We had two players but that was over by the time we got to the eighth pick, ninth pick, that we might have considered moving up for,” Jones said. “We ended up getting a player that I don’t know if I would’ve wanted to give up a three rather than to have the player we might have moved up for and had Frederick and gained a three. We’re two threes better off by having not moved up and picked another guard to move up and go get him.”
But there is no doubt the focus was on getting quarterback Tony Romo some help by improving the offensive line. The Cowboys believe they did that with Frederick.
“What is the very best thing we can do for this team? We’re in pretty good shape with defensive personnel,” Jones said. “Buy [Tony] Romo a half a second. Better than a ‘wow’ receiver to add to our receivers. Better than a ‘wow’ tight end, have a lot of three tight end, two tight end sets. Candidly, our consensus was after everything we’ve done in this draft, the best thing we could do to help us win football games is to get him another half a second. I’m talking about for the next 36 months, 48 months. That’s really the meat of where we are.”
RELATED: Frederick’s 40 time and low reps don’t show ability, game tape does
The Cowboys’ first-round draft pick, center Travis Frederick, had a very slow 40 time and low reps on the bench at the combine, and it may have caused his stock to drop.
But he said neither says anything about his playing ability.
“I think the film really shows how I play,” he said Thursday night in a conference call with reporters. “I’m a tough player who run blocks really well … I think that I do a good job of anchoring in against a bull rush or even somebody that’s a zero nose technique.”
Frederick said Wisconsin does not stress high rep numbers in its lifting.
“Wisconsin is not known for doing well at the reps because we’ve always been trained to do low reps, high intensity,” he said. “So we do single reps or double reps, and I do very well on those areas. So I don’t think the 21 reps on the bench was truly indicative of my strength.”
He also said he could have run another 40 at his pro day and might have improved it a little.
Frederick confessed that he thought he would be an early second-round pick, but he knew the Cowboys needed help at guard and center and that they had talked to him a lot.
“I do feel very comfortable at both positions, so I think that’s what helps me out, is being able to play both positions,” he said. “I’m sure that they have some sort of idea for me, but I’m looking forward to getting down there and just seeing where I fit in.”
He said the Cowboys liked his toughness and intelligence.
“I’m a tough player, a tenacious player. I’m also a player who plays with a high football IQ,” he said. “I think that I’m able to pick up on the offense very quickly, and I’m going to be able to make adjustments at the line and be able to help direct everybody, and I think that those are things that they really liked.”
He said he is proud of Wisconsin’s tradition of turning out offensive linemen.
“That tradition is one of the reasons why I chose to go to Wisconsin, just knowing that such great offensive linemen have come out of there and would probably or hopefully give me the opportunity if I worked as hard as I could, to be in the situation that I’m in today,” he said. “I’m excited to join that long line.”