There are actually TWO problems that extend above and beyond just Jason Garrett and the Dallas coaching staff. But before we get to those, let’s actually start with talking about Jason Garrett.
Garrett has been the Cowboys head coach for nearly 8 years. As head coach, Garrett has an overall record of 70-58 with the Cowboys. As a matter of fact, the past two seasons he actually has a 22-10 record as head coach; which includes that 13-3 season in 2016.
The Cowboys currently sit at 3-5 and are third place in the NFC East. You want to know how many seasons the Cowboys had a losing record under Garrett?
It was one season, when the Cowboys went 4-12 in 2015. But remember, that was the season Tony Romo suffered his broken collarbone in Week 2 and missed 13 weeks; leaving QB responsibility to Matt Cassel, Brandon Weeden, and Kellen Moore.
Did you know NONE of those three quarterbacks posted a TD/INT ratio better than 1/1? Those three quarterbacks collectively posted an average rating of 77.9 and just 195 passing yards per game.
And if you recall, the Cowboys schedule was pretty rough that year. They faced the 15-1 Panthers who went to the Super Bowl and Cam Newton was playing with his pants on fire. They also faced Brady and the 12-4 Patriots, Rodgers and the 10-6 Packers, and Russell Wilson and the 10-6 Seahawks who, at the time, still had their Legion of Boom. The Cowboys’ opponents that season finished the year with a cumulative winning percentage of .548.
You tell me how many head coaches in the league can takeKellen Moore, Brandon Weeden, and Matt Cassel and win those types of games. AndDarren McFadden is your RB1? Maybe Bill Belichick, but that’s about it.
Garrett started his NFL coaching career with the MiamiDolphins in 2005 as the quarterback coach. He took Gus Frerotte (remember him?) who was an 11-year veteran at the time and turned his game around ultimately resulting in Frerotte’s best season of his career since his lone ProBowl season in 1996 with the Redskins. Garrett helped Frerotte come out of the shadows that season. Also, fun fact: the head coach of the Dolphins that season? Nick Saban.
The next season, Frerotte went to the Rams and the Dolphins were left trying to figure out their QB situation. The Dolphins started Joey Harrington, who ended his NFL career with a 26-50 record as a QB. Harrington was just…not a good quarterback. Garrett did not have much to work with there.
In 2007, Jason Garrett became the Cowboys
In 2010, Garrett became the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys and in the first few seasons, he led a .500-esque Cowboys team. As a matter of fact, the first three seasons under Garrett, the Cowboys finished each and every one of those seasons at 8-8. Heck, Garrett even has a 4-4 career record following a bye week as head coach of the Cowboys.
Mediocrity was the epitome of the Dallas Cowboys under Jason Garrett in his first few seasons, and quite frankly, it has been the epitome of Jason Garrett’s entire head coaching career.
The 2016 season came along, and after a plethora of Tony Romo injuries and setbacks, the Cowboys struck gold with Dak Prescott as a backup quarterback who would have one of the better rookie quarterback seasons in recent memory. Another quarterback with immediate success under Jason Garrett. The Cowboys would finish the season 13-3 and win the NFC East. Last season, if it wasn’t for Ezekiel Elliott missing six games, the Cowboys probably would have made the playoffs again. They still finished 9-7.
While enduring some misfortune with his star players in recent history, throughout his career, Garrett always seemed to find success in his tutelage at the quarterback position (which makes sense because he was a quarterback himself) and engineered one of the best Cowboys offenses in franchise history in 2007. Currently, he has a .547 career winning percentage as the Cowboys head coach.
The bottom line is that Jason Garrett is not a bad coach. He never really was. He’s just not the kind of coach the Cowboys need right now.
It’s time for the Cowboys to move in a different direction;which means moving on from Jason Garrett.
Garrett has always been smart, who has learned from some great mentors and has surrounded himself with good coaching. He has always certainly been offensive-minded. But the problem with Garrett is that he’s not a motivator. The Cowboys need someone who can light a fire under their butts.
Think like a Sean Payton or Mike Tomlin type coach. Someone who can get your players going and wanting to lay their hearts out on the 50-yard line. They need a jumpstart and they need to find their identity. With Garrett, their identity is lost, and It needs to be found…by someone else.
When you are the Dallas Cowboys – America’s Team – mediocrity and being “not bad” is simply not good enough. Garrett has found success as a head coach, but not so much in the playoffs, as he has a 1-2 career playoff record. The Cowboys are tired of being just Ok. They have been bland and boring and that is something that Cowboys fans have been losing sleep over.
The thing is, however, is that Jason Garrett is not the biggest problem the Cowboys have. Scott Linehan is not either. I’m not sure how much blame we can really shift to Linehan. After all, the Cowboys offense hung 40 on the Jaguars defense, and at home, the offense has averaged 25 points per game this season.
What’s an even bigger problem is this: What if I told you the Cowboys are just…not a good team?
Sorry Cowboys fans, but your team is just not that good.
I mean think about it. When looking at this Dallas team, you have Dak at QB, who I think is very average. He’s certainly not bad, but he’s really not good either. After his stellar rookie season, Prescott has a 12-12 record under center, with 32 TD passes and 18 interceptions through 32 games. That’s just one TD per game, and since his rookie year, Prescott’s QBR has dropped nearly 18%. Last season he averaged just 207.8 passing yards per game. This year? Practically identical. He’s averaging 207.5 passing yards per game. Again, very pedestrian.
Ezekiel Elliott is great when he’s on the field. I think we can all agree to that. But if you look around the rest of the Cowboys offense, there really aren’t any playmakers. Allen Hurns?
Again, in summary, the Cowboys are mediocre. They aren’t that good of a team. They have a tremendous lack of talent and playmaking capability.
Bob Ryan said it best on Around the Horn this week: “The Cowboys are JAT – Just Another Team.” It is the absolute essence of the Cowboys – I couldn’t agree more with Mr. Ryan.
Coaching aside, the Cowboys are just not a good team. But there’s one more major issue with the Cowboys, and it could be the biggest problem of them all: Jerry Jones.
In Gary Myers’ book How ‘Bout Them Cowboys?, Myers highlights a moment from the 2014 NFL Draft, where Jerry Jones had his eyes set on drafting Johnny Manziel. Jones insisted that the team select Manziel with the 16th overall pick in the draft and even tried to push Cowboys President Stephen Jones to select Manziel. But many of the other Cowboys management and personnel were concerned about Manziel’s off-field history, and rightfully so.
The Cowboys did not take Manziel, and instead, they took Notre Dame offensive lineman, Zach Martin. Myers describes in his book that Jerry Jones was very upset with the decision and questioned the draft room, “So no one in this room wants to take Johnny Manziel?”
According to Cowboys President Stephen Jones, Jerry Jones told Stephen after taking Zach Martin, “Son, I hope you’re happy. But let me tell you something: You don’t get to own the Cowboys, you don’t get to do special things in life, by making major decisions going right down the middle.”
It was like someone pissed in Jerry’s cereal, and his salivating desire to take Johnny Football over Zach Martin is a microcosm of his ideologies revolving around the identification and recruitment of talent. Not to mention, NO ONE in that draft room was on Jerry’s side. This is the kind of leader theCowboys need right now? No, and it’s long overdue.
Jerry wants to “extend” Dak. But Dak is on the downward trend. Dak won’t have much leverage (that’s for sure) but what good is extending him if you don’t have the right pieces around him? Then I remembered…the Cowboys won’t even have a first round pick in the next draft. But often times, some of the best quarterbacks to play this game are found in later rounds. But how confident would you feel about drafting a quarterback and developing him under Jerry’s regime? Ask yourself that question, Cowboys fans.
You see, the difference between the Cowboys and the New York Giants is that the Giants know what they have to do. They know that Eli Manning’s days are numbered, and that they need to build their offensive line; especially with someone as talented as Saquon Barkley. But what about the Cowboys? What do they have to do? I think we are smart enough to know what they have to do, but the problem is the organization’s leadership appears to not know. And that’s the major issue. You have a GM who doesn’t even recognize what the organization’s problems are. It makes me think of Sean Connery’s line from the movie, The Untouchables, when he asks Kevin Costner’s character, “What are you prepared to do?”
What are the Cowboys prepared to do?
Extend Dak? Why? Is that going to solve anything? Retain Garrett and his coaching staff? Why? Is that going to solve anything?
Dallas is spinning their wheels. They may be better than their divisional foe, Giants, but they don’t know what needs to be done. For that, it must start with the tone at the top.
I wouldn’t be opposed to the Cowboys firing Jason Garrett and/or Scott Linehan. I mean, quite frankly, I don’t really care (again, I hate the Cowboys). But the bottom line is that the Cowboys have bigger problems than just Garrett and Linehan, and they don’t even realize it.
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