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January 20, 2014

Cowboys keeping both Kiffin -- 'No big debate,' Jerry Jones says -- and Callahan

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said he didn’t have to convince anyone in the organization to give defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin another chance.

“Just the mirror,” Jones said Monday at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala., and smiled. “No, really. I don’t have to do that. Do you discuss and get input about a lot of things? Absolutely. But what we did not do is have a big debate or a big management session regarding Monte Kiffin. We didn’t do that. That decision was made last year.”

Kiffin, hired a year ago to replace Rob Ryan, presided over one of the worst performances in NFL history last year. The Cowboys allowed 6,645 yards in 2013, trailing only the 2012 New Orleans Saints and the 1981 Colts for yards allowed in a season. They also gave up 388 first downs, second-most in league history, and an NFL-record 40 in a game against the Saints.

But Jones said Monday he does not want to walk away from Kiffin, or offensive coordinator Bill Callahan, too soon.

“It’s just the fact that you made a lot of moves last year probably minimizes the need to make them this year,” Jones said.

Jones said part of the problem on defense was that some players simply didn’t play up to standards.

 “We saw some guys that made some improvements across the board – I wouldn’t be specific – but then I saw some guys that basically didn’t play up to our expectation,” he said.

Jones said he doesn’t want to give up too soon on the changes he made a year ago and then regret it. Jones announced at the Senior Bowl last year that Bill Callahan would be the play-caller, taking over for head coach Jason Garrett.

“We all know the adage of the gold miner who walked away and the other one who took one more swing with the pick and found the gold streak, and so you don’t want to quit,” Jones said. “So it’s easier said than done to let your mistakes go short and your good decisions long. You go then further to fundamentals, and you look at the fundamentals of a Monte Kiffin and you look at the fundamentals of his work and what he is and you look at the fact that you’ve decided scheme-wise that you liked that in competing in the NFL today. Then that weighs you from cutting that short, and so the answer is, I didn’t want to cut it short over on defense, and some of the same principles are true with cutting it short on Jason.

“I’ve talked about that. I want to be here for the payday, and this is payday time with Jason.”

-- Carlos Mendez

Twitter @calexmendez

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