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Cowboys pick Jason Garrett as 8th head coach
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“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.
Garrett becomes the eighth coach in club history and the first to also have played for the Cowboys. He was a backup to Troy Aikman in the 1990s, then played for the Giants and Dolphins. Jones joked that he “stayed mad about him for about two years because he wouldn’t let me sell him on quit playing and start coaching now when he went to the Giants.”
Garrett got into coaching with Miami. In 2007, Jones interviewed him to become head coach and was so smitten he hired him to an undisclosed position. It turned out to be offensive coordinator under Wade Phillips.
Since then, Garrett had chances to become head coach of other teams. He turned them down, making it clear this was where he wanted to be. Jones rewarded him with the title of assistant head coach and one of the top-paying contracts in the league.
He took over as if he owned the place.
He started the workday earlier, added hitting to midweek practices, required players to jog between drills and cracked down on rules, including ones he added. He had huge digital clocks installed around the locker room to avoid any excuses about being late to a meeting. He was constantly upbeat, talking about stacking good days.
The Cowboys responded, cutting down on turnovers and penalties, and began forcing other teams into mistakes. They went 5-3, winning four games with 38-year-old backup quarterback Jon Kitna and another with third-stringer Stephen McGee making his first career start. Their losses were by a total of seven points.
“I learned a ton,” Garrett said.
Jones probably would’ve hired him during the season, but had to wait because of a league rule requiring him to consider minority candidates. The only two people he interviewed were black: receivers coach Ray Sherman and Miami assistant head coach Todd Bowles.
“Easy is not the right word, but there wasn’t a big decision here for me,” Jones said.
“I said, ‘Some day, somehow, you’re going to walk through that front door broad-shouldered, reach over there and grab it just like it was yours from the very beginning,’” Jones said. “Well, we had a little visit the other day and I said, ‘Jason, we’re walking through the front door when we announce this. You deserve this. You’ve earned it.’”
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