Only in his second full season as head coach of the Dallas Cowboys -- and the burning spotlight that comes with it -- Jason Garrett is still on a "learning curve," or so his famously impatient team owner Jerry Jones said in a recent radio interview.
The Dallas Morning-News writes that late-game clock management has been a bugaboo of sorts for Garrett, who took over for the fired Wade Phillips during the middle of the 2010 season as head coach of the Cowboys, Garrett's first head-coaching job at any level. The clock issues arose again during the Cowboys' 31-29 loss to the Baltimore Ravens last Sunday, during which the Cowboys recovered an onside kick in the final minute and had a shot at a game-winning field goal as time expired.
Jones has given Garrett the benefit of the doubt since a mostly successful stint as the team's offensive coordinator under Phillips. Growing pains were to be expected for the former Troy Aikman backup, Jones concedes, but the owner wants results now, even if he knows some learning on the job is necessary:
"I didn't say that in any way other than we don't have that luxury. In other words, when you sit here and ask me, is Jason learning, I'm saying Jason doesn't look at it that way. I don't look at it that way. I think he's very qualified to make the kinds of decisions to win ballgames. And we don't have the luxury to create several years here of a learning curve.
"The facts are though that you do have a learning curve. The facts are that even on a learning curve, we can all look back at some of the greatest coaches there's ever been and they've had things that they should've learned two years earlier that they make a bad judgment on. That happens. That's part of this deal."