Dallas Cowboys executive Stephen Jones heaped more pressure onto head coach Jason Garrett heading into the 2019 season, the final one on Garrett's contract.
"No one wants Jason to be around here for the long term more than the Jones family," Jones said Tuesday. "No one thinks more of him than we do. But at the same time, everybody's back is against the wall right now."
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones—Stephen's father—appeared on 105.3 The Fan in Dallas after the Cowboys' divisional-round exit in January and publicly backed Garrett. "If Jason Garrett had been out on the market two weeks ago, he would've had five offers on the table for head coaching," he said. "I know that."
However, two weeks later, reports surfaced that the Cowboys are "unlikely" to extend Garrett's contract.
Stephen Jones, per Machota, noted that it's not just Garrett under pressure to perform: "We've got high expectations for this young team. Everybody, from Jason [Garrett] to his staff to our players to ownership to the organization feels the pressure to take the next step. Our fans deserve that. We haven't done it in a long time."
Garrett has been serving as the Cowboys head coach since transitioning from offensive coordinator to head coach during the 2010 season. Garrett has posted a 77-56 record and led Dallas to the postseason in 2014, 2016 and 2018—winning the NFC East in those first two appearances.
Each of those Cowboys' playoff runs ended in the divisional round, but claiming the division in 2014 helped earn Garrett a contract extension. He will need to duplicate that—at least—in order to stay in Dallas.
Garrett is coming off an up-and-down 2018 campaign. Before winning five games in a row, the Cowboys started an uninspiring 3-5. The turnaround wasn't enough to save the job of offensive coordinator Scott Linehan, who was fired Jan. 18 after four seasons with the organization.
The Cowboys have to consider the size of their window with quarterback Dak Prescott, running back Ezekiel Elliott and wide receiver Amari Cooper, and the Joneses may prioritize the potential of their talent on the field over any loyalty to Garrett on the sideline.