Sphere of Control/Influence

Much has been written about the 'change' in Dallas Cowboy Offensive philosophy since Jason Garrett's appointment to HC. The running game has been embraced, desired balance has been restored. Statistics cited, Run/Pass ratios quantified - all citing empirical evidence of a trend we can readily see. Call it, this seasons Blinding Flash of Obviousness(BFO for future ref).

This has lead to an outgrowth of a much more speculative conspiracy-theory - that Garrett deliberately sub-optimized playcalling to ensure his bosses demise and his own ascension. This subjectivity stands in  stark contrast to the detailed and thoughtful analysis that preceded it in this and many other circumstance. But the issue is legit, even if the speculation is, well fantastical - why the dramatic shift in tactics?

Using a theme of earlier posters, let's apply some lessons learned from business to discern root causes. I've spent a career in Supply Chain/Logistics, so that is my frame of Reference. Not to make this a primer on that industry, but suffice to say strategies and tactics that make one aspect of an operation efficient can make another wildly the opposite. Take for example a Distribution Center that routinely fails to fill orders on time, because it won't authorize overtime for labor as a cost containment measure. Works well for them, but plays havoc for the Transportation group. Expedite now must be used - team drivers, express parcel, airfreight/charter now has to make up the slack to achieve on-time performance. All at great expense - direct and indirect. The optimization of one silo-based unit completely sub-optimized performance of the other.

Jason Garrett's span of control dictated he optimize the performance, productivity and efficiency of the Offense. It's performance impact on the other units was within his influence, but specifically outside his control. The fact that the manager in control, the HC, did not direct him to optimize it further for the good of the whole, cannot be JG's responsibility. Interestingly, we've seen this done to the extreme the other way - Parcell's almost maddening refusal to deploy the full arsenal of Offensive weapons to protect what he felt was a fragile D.

Plenty of Wade's issues are self-imposed - principally his non-confrontational personality, inability to recognize or develop talent in younger payers and his all-or-nothing Defensive philosophy. If something didn't work - either do it to the extreme or abandon it altogether. No nuance, no subtlety to keep the opposition guessing, off-balance. But in this area, Wade's limitation was imposed by above - JJ's insistence he act as his own DC. I believe literally limited his principal duties of oversight, and in combination with his personality - caused him not to rectify flaws in overall approach, specific performance. How else does the imbalance get explained? As has been pointed out, it's not necessarily the effectiveness of the running game, it's the uncertainty of whether will they or won't they? How else do you explain an impossible Hail-Mary pass call at the end of the 1st half in WAS? Can anyone imagine Parcells or Jimmy not grabbing N Turner/S Payton by the lapels and telling him very directly anything but kneel down and live to fight another day?

Now JG has the perspective of oversight. It's not that he understands it any better, but he's directly responsible for it now. Before he was tasked with oversight of his units performance, and lacking feedback to the contrary from his direct superior(s), what other conclusion could he draw than it was acceptable? We've all had to overcome the handicap of ineffective/incompetent bosses, but it is not a sustainable.

I'll conclude with another popular misnomer being touted that can draw on business for perspective as well - the contention that JG should have argued more forcefully for OL talent in the draft and through FA. This sounds too much like a conclusion in search of a theory. Simply stated - a Manager cannot have responsibility without authority. It is literally a self-defeating proposition. Sphere of influence - absolutely. Sphere of control? Absolutely not.

Next up in what the Cowboys can learn from Business series ? A review of Dysfunctional Hierarchy. Read the assigned chapter in your textbooks, there may be a quiz.

Another user-created commentary provided by a BTB reader.

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