Irving (AP)—Jason Garrett has never been a head coach before at any
level. Yet the new leader of the Dallas Cowboys sure seemed ready for the
challenge, judging by the confidence he displayed at his introductory news
“Wade is no longer the coach. I am the coach and what we’re going to do
going forward (is) get ready to have a great meeting, a great walkthrough and a
great practice on Wednesday and give ourselves a chance to beat the Giants on
Sunday,” Garrett said.
Coach Wade Phillips was fired Monday and Garrett was promoted from offensive
coordinator to interim coach in hopes of salvaging a season headed toward
becoming the worst in franchise history. Dallas is 1-7, its worst start since
1989 and a huge collapse for a team that won its division and a playoff game
last season. The Cowboys were considered preseason favorites to make the Super
Bowl, which happens to be coming to their new home stadium.
Owner-general manager Jerry Jones steadfastly supported Phillips throughout
the team’s tailspin, even saying late last week that he wouldn’t make a coaching
change this season. He said Monday he’d been “in denial” about how bad the
club really is.
Jones decided enough was enough following a 45-7 loss to the Green Bay Packers on Sunday night. It was the Cowboys’ fifth straight loss and the third
in a row that wasn’t even close. The defense has been mostly to blame, and that
was Phillips’ specialty. Defensive line coach Paul Pasqualoni was promoted to
replace Phillips as defensive coordinator.
“I told (players) they should not think this an admission of defeat or
finality in this season,” Jones said. “We have eight games left and we have
one goal—to win.”
This is the first time Dallas has made an in-season coaching change. Garrett
also becomes the first former Cowboys player to take over the job previously
held by the likes of Tom Landry, Jimmy Johnson and Bill Parcells.