The Jason Garrett era officially begins in Dallas on Sunday as he takes the Dallas Cowboys into the New Meadowlands Stadium to take on the rival New York Giants.
Garrett is taking over on an interim basis for fired head coach Wade Phillips who was relieved of his duties following Dallas' 45-7 loss on Sunday night in Green Bay. He has served as the offensive coordinator for the Dallas Cowboys since the 2007 season where the Cowboys were an NFC-best 13-3.
Garret will be faced with a tough opening assignment as the 1-7 Cowboys will be taking on the NFC East leading 6-2 New York football Giants. The Giants beat the Cowboys earlier this season on Monday Night Football 41-35 and knocked starting quarterback Tony Romo out for the season in the process. The Giants have the second best pass and rush defense in the league, so the offensive minded Garrett will have to devise a very good gameplan if the Cowboys are going to score another 35 points against the Giants.
Dallas will be without Marcus Spears and Akwasi Owusu-Ansah, both of whom were placed on the injured reserve list on Wednesday, ending their seasons. Neither had a severe injury with Spears suffering a strained calf and Owusu-Ansah suffering a high ankle sprain, but Garret and the Cowboys staff decided they needed the roster spots.
The Cowboys may look to get Tashard Choice more involved in the offensive gameplan this week. Choice was slated for an increased role in Week 9 but received only three carries in the blowout loss to Green Bay. The Cowboys rank 31st in the NFL in rushing yards, so Garrett may opt to give Choice an extensive look on Sunday.
While the Cowboys have no realistic chance of making the playoffs, Garrett and the players will be auditioning for 2011 roles and roster spots. The team has displayed a lackluster effort in recent weeks. If Garrett can get the team to play well and respond to his coaching, he may become head coach on a permanent basis going forward. Personal performance from individual players will likely play into owner and general manager Jerry Jones' evaluation of their spot on the 2011 roster.
Kickoff is slated for 4:15 EST in New Jersey. Televised coverage can be found on FOX.