Owner Jerry Jones backtracked on a couple critical comments he made about Jason Garrett and the Cowboys coaching staff following Monday night’s 19-16 victory over the Washington Redskins.
After the game, Jones said that the Cowboys “won on will, not tactical mastery,” and added that he would have thought the team could have won at least a couple games without starting quarterback Tony Romo.
“I would have thought that we could have coached it up enough, and put it together enough, that we would not have lost those games without Romo early,” Jones said. “We would be in better shape than we are right now.”
During a radio interview Friday on 105.3 The Fan (KRLD-FM), though, Jones clarified his comments. Jones said he “respects” the coaching staff and Garrett’s ability to get his players to compete at their highest level.
Over the seven-game losing streak without Romo, five of them were one-possession losses, which is a credit to the coaching staff.
“That’s coaching and that creates the kind of will and the kind of competitiveness that we’re seeing on this team and that we saw the other night against Washington,” Jones said. “But you would have thought that the edge gives you an opportunity to win at least half of those games that were just right at the wire and that marginal. And, so, I think I used the word ‘hope.’ But I would have hoped, thought. I’m disappointed. I hate to use the word ‘flip of the coin,’ ‘luck,’ those kinds of things.
“But I have a lot of respect for this coaching staff.”
Jones went on to praise defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli’s game plan against the Redskins on Monday night, when Marinelli blitzed more than he normally does.
“It just really was impressive and executed impressively,” Jones said. “… So, the point is that you would have thought that we would have been able, even though we were short handed with our talent on the field, you would have thought that we could get some of those losses we had with wins.”
Part of the blame, Jones added, should be on the front office. The Cowboys went into the season with Brandon Weeden as their backup quarterback, something that they clearly whiffed on and addressed soon after Romo went down by trading for Matt Cassel.
Weeden went 0-3 in three starts in place of Romo, and the Cowboys turned to Cassel. Cassel went 0-4 in four starts before Romo returned.
Once Romo re-injured his left collarbone, Cassel re-assumed starting duties and was the winning quarterback against the Redskins. It marked the first time the Cowboys had won without Romo since the 2010 season finale.
“If you want to look at any aspect of this team, you can say, well, if we had been in better shape, had you had Matt Cassel in the spring rather than Weeden, and it is but I’m not trying to knock Weeden, but if we had had a guy like Cassel in here then we might have made a difference there,” Jones said. “So put that one ultimately on my shoulders for sure. So, it’s a joint effort when we are basically talking about anything that has to do with winning a football game.”