Cowboys' Jones: Garrett has strong say in changes

Cowboys' Jones: Garrett has strong say in changes

IRVING, Texas (AP) Dallas owner Jerry Jones apparently hears the criticism that he's calling all the shots for the Cowboys again and undermining coach Jason Garrett as a result.

In an interview for the team's website, Jones said Garrett has a strong voice in an overhaul of the coaching staff and that his third-year coach is ``the right man putting this together.''

Jones, the team's general manager, also said Garrett will decide who calls the offensive plays in 2013. Jones indicated during Senior Bowl workouts that Garrett would no longer run the offense on game days, leading to speculation that the coach was being stripped of those duties at the same time his staff was being dismantled.

As assistants were fired and replacements announced, even former Dallas quarterback Troy Aikman, a three-time Super Bowl winner, joined a chorus saying it looked like Jones was making the decisions after the owner vowed to make things ``uncomfortable'' following consecutive 8-8 seasons with losses in playoffs-or-bust finales under Garrett.

While there's still a strong chance Dallas will have a new play-caller, Jones insists that all the changes come with Garrett's blessing.

``However he comes up with how he wants to design how the offense runs, coupled with the fact that we've made the changes defensively and with special teams, I'm going to be excited about it,'' Jones said. ``We've got the right man putting this together in Jason Garrett.''

Jones has dealt with the perception that his ownership style came at the expense of his head coach's authority since Jimmy Johnson left nearly 20 years ago after consecutive Super Bowl titles in a public spat over who should get credit. The only exception was Bill Parcells, a two-time Super Bowl winner who stayed four years but quit coaching without a playoff win in Dallas after a painful wild-card loss in Seattle.

So far this offseason, the Cowboys have fired defensive coordinator Rob Ryan and running backs coach Skip Peete. They let special teams coach Joe DeCamillis go to Chicago a year after not granting him permission to talk to another team. Garrett's brother, John Garrett, is headed to Tampa Bay as receivers coach after six years with the Cowboys.

The status of receivers coach Jimmy Robinson has been unclear since the team's website reported last week that former Tennessee coach Derek Dooley was taking that job with the Cowboys. Dallas has not announced coaching hires for running backs, tight ends or receivers.

Jones told the team's website there's no rush to complete the offensive staff because of the ``safety net'' with Garrett as head coach.

``Jason is putting together, as he should be, a staff and philosophy on every phase of the team, and allocating his time, relative to allocating the time of his staff, to helping us win a football game now and in the future,'' Jones said.

Former Tampa Bay defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin is replacing Ryan, and two members of his staff there are in Dallas now in defensive line coach Rod Marinelli and special teams coach Rich Bisaccia.

Garrett ``certainly is excited about the changes we've made on defense, relative to how that affects the whole game plan,'' Jones said. ``One of the things I'm happiest about is who we've got putting this together in Jason Garrett.''


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Navy pulls off the Philly Special against Army on the Eagles’ field

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Navy pulls off the Philly Special against Army on the Eagles’ field

The annual Army-Navy game is one of the most historic traditions in college football, dating all the way back to the first contest between the two programs in 1890.

This year, it was held at Lincoln Financial Field, home of the Philadelphia Eagles. The Midshipmen entered the game with the 10th-ranked scoring offense in the country, but Army’s stout defense forced a 7-7 tie heading into the final minute of the first half.

Navy moved the ball down the field and into the red zone, setting up a first and goal with 13 seconds left before halftime. That’s when Navy reached as deep as it could into its playbook, trying the Philly Special to see if it could catch the Black Knights off guard.

Mission achieved. The famous play was executed by the Eagles in Super Bowl LII against the New England Patriots, with tight end Trey Burton unexpectedly throwing a touchdown pass to unlikely receiver Nick Foles.

The Midshipmen paid tribute to the former champs and did them justice by pulling it off for the score. It gave Navy a 14-7 halftime lead over Army in what is always the most important game of the year for the two teams.


Georgetown attempts to move forward from controversy with win over rival Syracuse

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Georgetown attempts to move forward from controversy with win over rival Syracuse

Syracuse-Georgetown is always a matchup circled on college basketball calendars around the country. A historic rivalry that has lived on from the carcass of a former great conference. 

On a dreary Saturday in the nation’s capital, it wasn’t a day to reminisce of slug-em-out contests of the 1980s. Not a contest to brag about teams of old or argue about which program is better. It wasn’t even a day where Georgetown got to celebrate the first win of Patrick Ewing’s coaching career in this famous series.

Rather, it was a day to judge the future of one of college basketball’s storied programs. How Ewing and the Hoyas can salvage the remainder of the 2019-20 season and move forward with nine scholarship players.  

“[Ewing is] a very good coach and I think he’s got seven guys that are as good as anybody,” Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said of the remaining seven scholarship players that played this season. “If we played them, the way they were playing earlier in the year, we would’ve won the game.”

Georgetown won 89-79, but all the anticipation heading into this contest was what was happening off the court. 

Four players had transferred out of the Hoyas program in the past two weeks. Three of those players facing serious allegations and issued restraining orders from a Georgetown student. The other being their starting point guard for an undisclosed reason.

Combined, the four of them had accounted for nearly 30% of the team’s playing time. At this point in the season, with conference play less than a month away, this would be detrimental for any ordinary team. 

But from the outside, Boeheim believes that the exodus of players could benefit the Hoyas. The players that left were not conducive to winning basketball. 

“I think by far this is by far the best team we’ve seen from Georgetown that I’ve seen in the past few years,” Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said. Of the players that left, “two guys weren’t really contributing at all and another guy was throwing the ball up all the time. I know Patrick can’t say that, but I can. I watched [James Akinjo] play three games. He lost three games, two games by himself.”

Still, going from a team of 13 scholarship players to nine is a drastic change. 

At least on the court, the Hoyas answered the challenge of limited depth. The Hoyas went eight-deep in their last big nonconference test of the year. One of the rotation players was the walk-on senior, George Muresan (son of former Washington Bullet Gheorghe Mureșan) who scrounged up six minutes of action. 

They all played clean and held themselves to only 14 personal fouls, tied for their fewest this season. 

“It has been a difficult week. A lot of things have happened, bad things swirling around. But I thought my guys stepped up,” Ewing said. “We still [have] enough on our team to have a very good year.”

To have a good season, one that started with NCAA Tournament aspirations, it will come down to Ewing. Against Syracuse, he was plugged in as ever. Not once did the former Hoya sit during live-ball action. He was barking out orders on the sideline, directing every offensive possession with intricate hand motions and waving players to certain places on the court. Despite leading for over 36 minutes and holding a 10-point lead consistently throughout the contest, not once did he waiver in his urgency. 

He was stoic from the tip to the final buzzer, not moving out of a three-foot area he carved himself in front of the scorer’s table. But once the last horn sounded the tenseness in his shoulders waned. As Ewing walked to the locker room to celebrate his first-ever win as a coach in the Syracuse-Georgetown rivalry, the emotion that has been built up since early December came out.

It was the third-straight game since the legal complaints against the now-former Georgetown players were made public. All three being arguably their most-complete performances of the season and their longest winning streak in nearly a year. 

Through the turmoil, it has been Mac McClung steering the ship for the Hoyas. The sophomore dropped 26 points, 21 of which came in the first half with a dagger buzzer-beater. Since Akinjo’s departure and Terrell Allen stepping in as the point guard, McClung is on fire growing confidence in ever contest. 

As a sophomore, McClung is now the face of the program. Coming in as a touted 6-2 recruit with an innate dunking ability, now the team will turn to him as a leader for the remainder of the season. 

“That’s what happens when you face challenges, you either break apart or come together and I think we’ve came together,” McClung said.