The longest pre-season in recent Cowboys history got an official start this afternoon.
Jerry Jones played the only tool in his box. In a measured, carefully-worded 23-minute press conference this afternoon, Jerry Jones confirmed the change of the coaching guard and admitted the need to create a ''winning culture'' at Valley Ranch. Jones did not commit to the interim duo of Jason Garrett and Paul Pasqualoni beyond the '10, but felt they gave the Cowboys the best chance to remake the organization from within.
Of Garrett, Jones admitted, "Jason has certainly been a part of the long-term thinking for the Dallas Cowboys and for me, but what we're addressing on an imterim basis is to maximize how we're playing right now..."
Jones claimed Pasqualoni was elevated from a veteran defensive staff because he, like Garrett, "has the disposition to bring about a culture change..."
When asked to describe what a coaching change entailed, Jones stressed effort and dedication, and consistency among his roster and staff.
He further admitted being in denial about the team's performance and said the defense's breakdowns, despite having a coordinator of Phillips' reputation, compounded the problems the offense faced without Tony Romo, and pushed him to change his mind and change the organization's direction.
Jones' delivery trembled when he spoke of the accountability and how the breakdowns cost Phillips his job. Jones on more than one occasion expressed his care and regard for Phillips.
Jones sidestepped the question of Garrett's agency and his authority to hire and fire, saying he "could not quantify it.''
Jones repeatedly used the term, ''winning football'' to describe the missing element on his team, primarily on the defensive side. The organization will look for winning effort, game-by-game, above winning and losing. That desire seems well placed. Jones' emphasis on defensive leadership understands the offense, with a crumbling line and a backup quarterback at starter, will need a lower bar than one led by Tony Romo. In this context, winning effort may be the only expectation we can realistically have.