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Cowboys coach pads his frequent-flier miles

On a list of what's not to like about the brief head-coaching portfolio of Jason Garrett, is there really that much?

Everybody -- players, fans, media and Mr. Jones -- keeps a scorecard, but from here, the limp-wrist approach in a couple of instances involving me-me-me Marion Barber were the lone major irritants.

Granted, a public display of toughness is not mandatory, but it sure helps the perception, particularly since the lack of head-coaching muscle constantly became an issue for the last guy who had the second-largest office at Valley Ranch. Second, of course, to the owner.

For the most part, however, Garrett aced his "tryout" as head coach in those final eight games of the Dallas Cowboys' football sin that was 2010.

So Garrett got what he deserved and Jerry wanted, meaning a promotion to full-time status.

His first major assignment from that point was the hiring of a coaching staff, and Red J's performance in that area will remain a mystery until live ammo is being fired whenever the 2011 season actually begins.

Count me as still baffled that only one staff member was fired by Garrett. Speaking of baffled, let's assume Ray Sherman, the lone guy who got the ax, also fits in that category.

Then again, Garrett as offensive coordinator was as much to blame as anyone else for the Cowboys 1-7 start last season. If he was given a second chance of a promotion, why not everyone else keeping his job, except, of course, Sherman? Call it a fairness thing, except, of course, for Sherman.

But with the NFL now in a shutdown mode over the labor dispute, Garrett stays away from the local media by choice, but that also doesn't mean he's exactly in hiding.

The guy gets around.

Just in the last few days, the itinerary for Jason Garrett has been far-flung with some interesting ports of call.

Today, he's off to Indianapolis, where all NFL head coaches need to be for the Scouting Combine.

On Monday, he was in downtown Fort Worth, maybe -- I said maybe -- on another kind of football scouting trip.

Last weekend, he was in Durham, N.C., to watch No. 1-ranked Duke play basketball.

Basketball?

Yes, Garrett did attend a Blue Devils' game, but that wasn't the purpose of his Durham visit. Red J asked for and was granted a few days of one-on-one time with Duke head coach Mike the K.

What you have to really like about Garrett is he's a young head coach constantly searching for answers, which indicates he doesn't think he's got all of them.

Mainly, this quest for answers involves his football contacts, from a Jimmy Johnson to a Nick Saban to many other names.

As the Jimster once said, "Jason comes down to visit [in the Florida Keys] for a couple of days, and I want to go fishing while he wants to talk football nonstop. Jason will wear you out on football."

But this time, Garrett ventured into the land of college basketball because of the immense success of Mike Krzyzewski.

For note-taking purposes, the Valley Ranch word is Garrett took a new 150-page, full-size binder. When he got back to town, 147 pages were crammed full of notes.

Mike the K gave Red J full access to him, his practices and his meetings.

Based on reputation, Tony Romo already has a good 15-foot jumper, but Krzyzewski also has one of the most successful head-coaching careers in any sport. Mike the K is doing something right. Garrett wanted to learn why.

Then there was the Fort Worth visit on Monday night.

At the Davey O'Brien Awards dinner, one Cam Newton was being honored.

By all reports, Newton did well in his acceptance speech, and I bring this up because he's the best player on the board for the draft in late April, meaning football is not the question with Cam.

It's the other "stuff."

I'm just saying Garrett was here in Fort Worth, representing the Cowboys, and so was Cam.

If I dare suggest it was a "scouting trip," then here come the e-mails again.

Five weeks ago, I wrote the Cowboys should use the ninth pick in the first round to take Newton, and from the reaction you'd have thought I'd endorsed the Gadhafi regime.

Let there be no mistake, so I'll say it again:

The Cowboys would be flat wrong to pass up Newton, except his draft stock has since soared, and he now headed toward being a top five pick, if not the first pick overall.

A lot will depend on how Newton handles his interviews this week in Indy, and although I couldn't get a confirmation Wednesday, I'm assuming the Cowboys will be one of the clubs interviewing Cam.

Although Garrett mainly shuns the media -- not necessarily a bad thing and, by the way, he will be answering reporters questions today in Indy -- his approach to being a successful NFL head coach doesn't have boundaries.

I just hope that in those 147 pages of handwritten notes, Mike the K explained how Marion Barber should have been handled.

Randy Galloway can be heard 3-6 p.m. weekdays on Galloway & Co. on ESPN/103.3 FM.

Randy Galloway,

817-390-7697

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