How much longer will Jason Garrett lead the Cowboys?
Some stats: 1) Jerry World has a capacity of 105,000, houses the worlds 24th largest high-def tv screen and cost $1.15billion to construct. 2) Jerry Jones has a net worth of $5.2 billion, is 75 years old and hasn’t seen his team win a Super Bowl since 1995. 3) Jason Garrett is 67-53 (.558) since taking over mid-way through 2010, has just 3 post-season games to his credit (1-2) and has finished 8-8 or worse in 50% of his seasons in charge. To me it appears that one of these three simply doesn’t belong…guess which one it is…
Last year, following a 3 game streak of being outscored 92-22 , Jerry was asked about the head coaches position and whether or not Garrett was on the “hot-seat” (FYI I hate that term, everyone in football is on the hot-seat, one bad performance can always be your last). Jerry replied, “Absolutely not”. He went on to point out that the team was playing poorly but could be a good team. Now, hark back to 2010, the Cowboys are coached by Wade Phillips, who, in his first three seasons had gone 33-15 including an 13-3 season and a playoff win, and they are struggling mightily at 1-7. Jerry had repeatedly backed his head coach, saying that he would stick with Phillips until the end of the season, then wham! Wade Phillips, the coach with the highest regular season winning percentage in Cowboys history (yes-ahead of Landry, .607-.605) was gone. Remember also that back in 1994 Jimmy Johnson had won 2 Super Bowls and had a .875 winning percentage in the post season yet he was out on his ear in contentious circumstances because he reportedly wouldn’t allow Jerry more say in the running of the team. Oh and don’t forget Barry Switzer, Cowboys Super Bowl XXX winning coach who followed that Championship year with a 6-10 campaign over which he felt the need to resign. Much pressure from above there? I think so!
Jason Garrett can’t hold much of a light to any of the 3 coaches mentioned above, instead he compares more favourably (at the cowboys at least) with Bill Parcells (4 years, a regular season record of 34-30 with 2 playoff defeats) and Chan Gailey (2 seasons, 1 NFC East title, an 18-14 regular season record and 2 playoff defeats). Parcells left by mutual consent, whilst Jones reportedly fired Gailey because it was going to take “too much time and energy” to get everyone on the same page”. In other words, Gailey didn’t like Jerry interfering and told him so.
To me it truly appears that Garrett has survived this long because he is comfortable (though not necessarily content) being a puppet and conduit for Jerry the GM to be Jerry the coach. Jones is entitled to say and do what he wants around his own team, but it sure must help having a compliant coach on board. Jimmy Johnson couldn’t hack it, Chan Gailey couldn’t hack it, Wade Phillips wasn’t comfortable with it, and despite saying he resigned because he was “too old” I doubt Bill Parcells appreciated it either. Garrett is clinging on because he doesn’t say what he thinks, doesn’t stand his ground and doesn’t attempt to plough his own furrow. The side effect of that is…the Cowboys aren’t going anywhere fast.
Don’t forget that Garrett has had good players whilst in charge, he certainly got lucky with Dak Prescott stepping into Romos shoes, and there is no doubt that Ezekiel Elliott is a class act at running back, though the coach has repeatedly shown an inability to motivate Elliott when things are not going well. Throughout most of his tenure Garrett was graced with Tony Romo under centre alongside Dez Bryant at his peak and Jason Witten ever present to catch passes, and yet, he didn’t do very much with that. Throw in Pro Bowl performances from DeMarco Murray (twice), Maurice Claybourne and Barry Church and it seems fair to wonder what Garrett has done with all this talent?
For 2018 the Cowboys are tied for the 15th hardest strength-of-schedule and have two games against the Super Bowl champion Eagles to look forward too. The Super Bowl windows are open for the Eagles to repeat, as well as the Vikings, Patriots, Packers, Steelers, Jags, Rams and Saints. The Cowboys are an outsider at best, and teams which are outsiders require excellent coaching, not .500 coaching. Along with the afore mentioned Eagles In the NFC East, The Giants are re-tooling and they will be aiming to be a thorn in the side of all their divisional rivals as they try to right their ship. Competition for the Division will be hot and pinning down a wildcard sport may be too much to gamble on. If Garrett fails to reach the playoffs it seems likely that Jerry Jones will have to pull the trigger if he wants his franchise to get back to the main stage before he is too old to attend! If I’d seen some backbone, some personality traits from Jason Garrett that made me think he could hold Jerry at arms length and impose his will on the team I’d have less of a damning assessment to deliver, but I haven’t seen any such thing. The team will continue to be run as Jerrys plaything and success will continue to be out of reach until a stronger coach takes the reigns. Sure Its too early to predict results but no one is going to pick the Cowboys for a deep playoff run, and with that in mind, Garrett will be gone by this time next year.