IRVING, Texas (AP) — Jason Garrett will start the stretch run in pursuit of his first trip to the playoffs on the same field where he debuted as coach of the Dallas Cowboys three years ago.
His job doesn’t depend on whether he gets that postseason berth. At least that’s what owner Jerry Jones said Thursday.
While saying he was “disappointed” in a 5-5 record that has dropped the Cowboys out of the top spot in the NFC East for the first time this season, Jones said Garrett will return in 2014 regardless of whether the Cowboys end their three-year playoff drought.
“I’m disappointed we don’t have a better record, but he has got us in position to win the division and got a team here I firmly believe has the ability to be one of the better playing teams at the end,” said Jones, addressing about a dozen reporters on the team’s practice field. “A lot of this story is to be played out. It does not have a bearing on whether or not he will be our coach next year. It has no bearing on that.”
Asked if Garrett would be his coach next year, Jones twice said yes.
Phillips responds to Reed’s criticism of Texans: HOUSTON (AP) — Defensive coordinator Wade Phillips believes his scheme with the Texans works just fine, despite what Ed Reed says.
Reed is a nine-time Pro Bowler who was released by the Texans on Nov. 12 and signed with the Jets. He said Wednesday that the Houston defense “is not a good fit for a lot of people who are still down there” and singled out Phillips as a big reason for his departure.
Phillips responded to Reed’s criticism on Wednesday.
“I think a lot of players have fit into it real well,” Phillips said of his defense. “I just let the record speak for itself. We’ve got seven guys on defense that have been here since I’ve been here, and I feel like they’ve played real well within it.”
Houston defensive end Antonio Smith brushed off Reed’s comments.
“You just have to take it for what it is,” he said. “Everybody has their opinion ... I like the scheme.”
Houston is mired in a franchise-record eight-game skid, but the defense is allowing the fewest yards in the NFL.
The 35-year-old Reed was signed to a three-year, $15 million contract in the offseason after he spent his entire 11-year career with Baltimore. The Texans courted him in an effort to beef up what they saw as an elite defensive unit that needed an upgrade in the secondary to make an expected run at the Super Bowl.
But Reed never showed the playmaking ability he had become known for in Baltimore and had just 16 tackles with the Texans.
Brady, Manning meet again in matchup of great QBs: FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — Tom Brady and Peyton Manning have six MVP awards between them in the regular season. They have three more in the Super Bowl.
On Sunday night, two of the NFL’s greatest quarterbacks will meet for the 14th time. But there’s a new twist.
One of them is mired in the middle of the league’s passer ratings instead of being near the top.
Brady and his rebuilt receiving corps have suffered through growing pains while Manning’s deep group of pass catchers helped the Denver Broncos (9-1) become the NFL’s best offense going into the prime-time game against the New England Patriots (7-3).
So Brady must find a way to outscore a team averaging 39.8 points per game.
In Brady’s second start as a pro, the Patriots beat the Indianapolis Colts 44-13 in the third game of 2001.
Now, 12 years later, Brady is 9-4 against Manning with 23 touchdown passes and 12 interceptions. Manning has thrown for 27 touchdowns and 19 interceptions in those games.