FRISCO - To coach the Dallas Cowboys is to exist on a permanent "hot seat'' of sorts. That was especially true for Jason Garrett entering the 2019 season, as expectations were (and remain) high, and as the 10-year coach is laboring in the final year of his contract.
So when COO Stephen Jones announces on 105.3 The Fan on Monday, in the wake of Dallas 34-24 loss to Green Bay, that RedBall is "absolutely not'' on the hot seat?
The "absolutely not'' is relative.
Garrett is coaching for his job. This is an open secret here inside The Star. Jerry and Stephen Jones harbor great fondness and respect for the coach ... but the Joneses also harboring the belief that the front office has built a true-contention roster and anything shy of that will be unacceptable.
"Absolutely not,'' Stephen said in response to the hot-seat question. "He's done a great job with this team.''
Well, "great'' is also relative. The 3-0 start was "great.'' Two straight losses, by a 12-10 score in New Orleans last week and in what was essentially a blowout by the Packers this week? Not so "great.''
Can Cowboys Defense Contain Herbert?
The Dallas Cowboys look to avoid an 0-2 start to the season.
Cowboys Illness Finalizes New Lineup for Chargers
Second-year undrafted free agent Terence Steele will start Sunday in place of suspended starter La'el Collins - and have to deal with Joey Bosa.
Cowboys at Chargers: The 'Here We Go Again' Trap
Does a dark cloud again hover over The Star?
Stephen defended Garrett by noting that his team didn't quit in the Packers game, and indeed, this is a trademark of the RedBall Era: About as much as any NFL coach not named "Belichick,'' Garrett's players do respond to him. They play hard for him.
Meanwhile, despite criticism of "The Clapper,'' his overall record is now 80-61. From 2016 to the start of this year, his Cowboys had won more games (32) than any team in the NFC. He's been an important contributor to the beginning of the roster. ... and again, the members of the roster obey his "FIGHT!'' demands.
"As you saw yesterday,'' Stephen said, "he had this team playing hard and guys playing hard when that game could have gotten real ugly. He's got them playing hard and we just have to correct a few things and we'll be back in line. I totally believe that and I know Jerry believes it."
They will continue to do that "FIGHT!'' thing this season, I bet, just as they did last year, when the Joneses fought off "hot-seat'' questions while Dallas was 3-5 ... then engineered the go-for-it trade for Amari Cooper .. and then watched Garrett guide the club to an about-face playoff berth and a playoff victory. (Oddsmakers apparently aren't buying it, as Garrett is inching up the odds-to-get-fired list. ... But I can tell you there is no plan for an in-season change and there is generally little logic in it, either.)
(TUESDAY UPDATE: Jerry this morning tells 105.3 The Fan, “Don’t bet any money (on) that happening,” Jones said. “You’ll lose it.”)
Jerry began this summer's opening news conference of training camp in Oxnard with an obvious confidence that Dallas will do the same again this year. But he also opened the briefing by playfully deflecting a question about what Garrett needed to accomplish to keep his job.
"What did you say?" Jones replied to a reporter, grinning his sideways grin while cupping his hand around the back of his ear. "I really didn't hear you. ... Got a damn (construction-site) drill back over there."
Two straight losses mean the noise is getting louder. And the hot seat? Premium success for the Dallas Cowboys is the only way Jason Garrett will keep it from getting hotter.