Gil LeBreton

Timing curious for Cowboys owner Jerry Jones to criticize Jason Garrett

Owner Jerry Jones shoulders plenty of the blame for the Cowboys’ poor season, and blaming coach Jason Garrett for calling a poor game after a victory over the Redskins was doubly puzzling.
Owner Jerry Jones shoulders plenty of the blame for the Cowboys’ poor season, and blaming coach Jason Garrett for calling a poor game after a victory over the Redskins was doubly puzzling. Star-Telegram

Tactical mastery?

Really, Owner Jones? You really want to go there?

And why now? Why take head coach Jason Garrett to task, either directly or obliquely, for his “tactical” prowess on a night when, of all things, the Dallas Cowboys won in the final seconds?

Jerry Jones’ postgame criticism of Garrett was largely misdirected. But the timing of it was even worse.

The Cowboys lost seven in a row in quarterback Tony Romo’s absence without so much as a “get well soon” card to Garrett. Why put Jason on double-secret probation now?

Maybe, of course, Jones isn’t. Maybe Jerry was just venting adrenalin like Dez Bryant was during the game. Maybe Johnny Walker Blue advised Jones that Monday was a good night to throw Garrett under the team bus.

Or maybe Owner Jones suddenly has a replacement in mind?

He’s done crazier things before, of course. The infamous Bill Parcells-Teterboro Airport secret rendezvous. Signing Terrell Owens. Drafting Quincy Carter.

At age 73, Jones is now 20 years without his team’s appearing in an NFC championship game. His team is 4-8. He has an aging quarterback who keeps getting hurt.

Internally, Jerry’s patience must be at Defcon 2 — with Defcon 5 being the calm, fondly remembered Jimmy Johnson years.

With just two victories during Romo’s absence, the Cowboys could be poised to run away with the unsightly NFC East.

So, all of a sudden, it is Garrett’s coaching that’s at fault?

I would have thought that we could have coached it up enough . . . that we would not have lost those games without Romo early.

Owner Jerry Jones

After the win at Washington, Jones said that the victory was “won on will, not tactical mastery.”

The owner noted, “I am stunned that we haven’t been able to win more games without Tony. And 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. We would be in better shape than we are right now.”

The math is right. It’s the blame that’s wrong.

It was Owner Jones who had the final say on who Romo’s injury backup would be. He chose Brandon Weeden, previously a washout with the Cleveland Browns. And when Romo did get hurt in Week Two, Jones frugally selected Matt Cassel, who hasn’t had a winning record as a starting quarterback in five years.

Owner Jones also was convinced that a running-back-by-committee system would be the ideal way to replace free agent DeMarco Murray. And indeed, Darren McFadden was a solid pickup, if only it had been eight years ago.

Add in the injuries and suspensions, the disappointing overall play of the offensive line, and the fact that this defense can’t seem to claim turnovers, and even Garrett’s harshest critics might agree that this season deserves a free ride.

Keep in mind that Owner Jones doesn’t seek out a nearby podium and start announcing things after Cowboys games. As the routine goes, Jerry quickly emerges from the locker room, and a battalion of cameras and notepads immediately surrounds him, Donald Trump style.

A replacement for Garrett? I have no idea. Who saw Parcells coming? Or Chan Gailey, for that matter?

But it is curious that on the night when his handpicked Romo fill-in beat the Redskins, Owner Jones decided to sneer at the coaching.

Really, Jerry? Why now?

Gil LeBreton: 817-390-7697, glebreton@star-

telegram.com,@gilebreton

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