Sometimes, silence is more of a statement than actually speaking.
A few weeks removed from the Dallas Cowboys’ NFC East championship and playoff loss to the Super Bowl-bound Rams, Jerry Jones and company have been noticeably quiet in regard to their coaching staff. Jon Kitna was reportedly hired as the quarterbacks coach, leaving former QB coach Kellen Moore with a likely promotion to offensive coordinator after Dallas fired former OC Scott Linehan. But no official announcements have been made.
Nor has Jones made any announcement about head coach Jason Garrett. The veteran coach’s status in Dallas has been the subject of speculation for what seems like an eternity; at midseason, when the Cowboys were 3-5, many thought Garrett would be fired. Then, when Dallas rebounded to win the division, rumors (and an NFL.com report) suggested he may get an extension instead.
But nearly a month later, there has been nothing from Jones, who loves publicity more than air. Which has led to even more speculation — so much that Jones felt the need to call into a Dallas radio show and try to squash it.
“The reason that it’s not being talked about is not that Jason is on shaky ground,” Jones said while calling into 105.3 The Fan. “It’s just we’re putting together ideas and didn’t want to necessarily make that a featured topic around the Super Bowl. Everything is as it should be.”
Yes, you heard him correctly: Jerry Jones said he wants to stay out of the limelight. Jerry Jones, owner of “America’s Team.” Jerry Jones, who built a stadium that cost over a billion dollars.
At face value, Jones’ statement is counterintuitive. By not making an announcement about Garrett in the face of swirling rumors, Jones is not tempering the news — he’s creating more of it. Had he extended Garrett after Dallas’ playoff loss — around the time he fired Linehan — the news cycle would have moved past it by now.
But if Jones’ silence means he has decided not to extend Garrett, it could mean another prove-it season for the embattled coach as he approaches the final year of his contract. With just two playoff wins over eight-plus seasons, patience could be running thin in Dallas. Rumors also have linked Saints head coach Sean Payton to the Cowboys.
Jones has been as big of a Garrett supporter as anyone and offered another show of affirmation in his radio appearance.
“We’ve got a coach that basically now has a lot of experience,” he said. “We want to benefit from it. He is a great safety net for everything that we’re going to do with a young staff like we’ve got. I think we’re in an ideal position.”
Still, with no extension yet, Garrett doesn’t exactly seem like he’s on solid ground. And there’s no reason to expect the speculation to die down until Garrett actually signs a contract.