FRISCO, Texas -- Since Dallas Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones did not speak after Sunday’s 6-0 win against the Philadelphia Eagles, all we can go on regarding Jason Garrett's future as head coach is what Jones said last week.
“I feel good about our head coach,” Jones said after the Cowboys were eliminated from playoff contention with the Week 16 loss to the Seattle Seahawks.
But Jones did not rule out changes on the coaching staff going into 2018.
Quarterbacks coach Wade Wilson, wide receivers coach Derek Dooley, running backs coach Gary Brown, linebackers coach Matt Eberflus and secondary coach Joe Baker have expiring contracts. Tight ends coach Steve Loney could retire.
Garrett would not get into potential moves on his staff after the game Sunday.
“I have no considerations about that right now,” the head coach said. “We’ll certainly look at everything.”
Could that include offensive coordinator Scott Linehan and defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli?
After last season's 13-3 finish, Linehan and Marinelli, as well as special-teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia, signed contract extensions.
But no one was able to replicate the success in 2017.
The offense fell off in part because of Ezekiel Elliott's six-game suspension, but the passing game was stagnated. Dak Prescott had eight games, including the season finale, without throwing for 200 yards. His yard-per-attempt fell from 8 yards in 2016 to 6.8 in 2017. He also had two fewer touchdown passes and nine more interceptions.
In four of the last eight games, the Cowboys failed to score 10 points.
“I have 120 percent belief in him, 200 percent belief in him,” Prescott said of Linehan. “He (deserves) a lot of credit for my success in this league, everything that I’ve done, teaching the game, breaking the game down. I’m not into all the speculation and things like that. I hope he’s here. I hope we figure it out. He means a lot to me.”
Marinelli said last week that he intends to continue coaching. He just finished his 22nd year in the NFL, his fifth season with the Cowboys and fourth as the defensive coordinator. The Cowboys finished 11th in yards and 16th in points per game. They had two more sacks in 2017 (38) than in 2016 and one more interception (10).
But the Cowboys also lost back-to-back games in October despite the offense scoring 30 and 31 points, and they were lost without Sean Lee for five games.
“I think Rod’s a Hall of Fame coach, who we have thrived under when we play his system the right way,” Lee said. “And he’s a guy that we love. He’s a guy that has taught me a ton of football. I think we are as a defense, if you look at the last four games, when we have had everybody, we have a defense that can be a championship defense.”
But Garrett is the key to the staff. If the Cowboys were to change coordinators hand-picked by Garrett, then why would he be back in 2018? He is signed through 2019 after receiving a five-year deal after the Cowboys’ 12-4 finish in 2014.
Since taking over midway through the 2010 season, Garrett has a 67-53 record. Only Tom Landry has won and coached more games for the Cowboys than Garrett, but he has just one playoff win in two playoff appearances.