I spent most of yesterday talking fans off the proverbial ledge on the BTB twitter account (@BloggingTheBoys), as I've been known to do. It's no secret that I'd be considered an optimist, as I hold a firm belief that... well... it must really suck to be negative all the time. I hope that my rational thinking prevents me from being "homerific" in my analysis of what has transpired in past events. When looking forward though, I would much rather hope for the needle to turn upwards then be able to say "I told you" when things go wrong. I don't need to be right in those situations.
Now, this isn't to belittle the point of view of those that lean towards negativity. I'm not saying they aren't real fans or anything remotely close to that. They are. Often times, the negative fans force me to add a different perspective to my opinions.
So when I hear all of the complaints about Jason Garrett's schemes and the like, I do pay attention and give them credence.
Do I agree with everything that JG has done while at the helm? Of course not. There have been several decisions that I second guess just like everyone else. OK, maybe not as vehemently as others, but I still think some incorrect decisions have been made. However there's no one knocking down my door offering me to coach in Pop Warner, much less in the NFL. I see folks opining that he needs to bring in an offensive coordinator to help with the play calling, and even some suggest Dallas will be in the market for a new coach this coming off-season. I have Sunday Ticket, I know for a fact that "great" coaches also make questionable decisions.
I have to wonder, where is the patience for this first-year head coach?
This past Sunday's game saw Garrett lose a chess match to Eagles head coach Andy Reid, as BTB member CotySaxman pointed out in his eloquent FanPost. I'd recommend taking the time to read it and the ongoing discussion in the comments section.
Garrett will be coaching the 16th game of his career this coming Sunday, when the Seattle Seahawks come into town. With a win, he will sport a 9-7 record in his first full 'season'. From a distance, 9-7 is a record good enough to compete for a playoff berth, but more importantly, it's a huge jump from the 1-7 start to the 2010 campaign. Even adding the last eight games of the '09 season, Wade Phillips was 6-10 in his last 16 games with the Cowboys. Aren't three-game improvements supposed to be signs of a team trending upwards?
As anyone that has ever climbed a career ladder can tell you, there is always a learning curve when elevated to a new position. Some things you can fix immediately. Then there are other things that you thought you would do differently but don't work out the way you planned it; you learn and adapt.
There's a transition as you weed out the employees on your staff that haven't performed up to expectations; you can't do them all right away because sometimes you don't have a better option. See Martellus Bennett. Sometimes, you even have to cut off your nose to spite your face... witness the offensive line purge.
Look at any job requisition. Most of them include language about where you should be on the learning curve after 'x' number of months. Does Garrett not warrant that? All the discussion about him needing to bring in an offensive coordinator 15 games into his NFL career seem just a bit knee-jerk to me. He deserves the opportunity to figure out how to do his job correctly.
Here's a look at some prominent, well-tenured NFL head coaches and how their careers started out, to try and lend some perspective to why Jason Garrett deserves more time before we throw the baby out with the bath water.
|Head Coach||Team||Record Thru 16 games||Team's prior 16 game record||Improvement/ Regression
|Jason Garrett||Dallas Cowboys('10-'11)||8-7*||6-10||+2-3 wins|
|Andy Reid||Philadelphia Eagles ('99)||5-11||3-13||+2 wins||Longest Tenured Coach in NFL, 5 championship game appearances, 1 SB appearance|
|Bill Belichick||Cleveland Browns ('91)||6-10||3-13||+3 wins|
|Bill Belichick||New England Patriots ('00)||5-11||8-8||-3 wins|| Following season, enter Tom Brady.
|Mike Shanahan||Denver Broncos ('95)||8-8||7-9||+1 win||Took over for Wade Phillips, had established stats QB and brought in Terrell Davis|
|Bill Parcells||NY Giants ('83)||3-12-1||7-9 ('82 strike season 9 games)||-4 wins||The result was a disastrous 3–12–1 season during which the Giants seriously considered bringing in University of Miami head coach Howard Schnellenberger to replace Parcells.|
|Joe Gibbs||Washington Redskins ('81)||8-8||6-10||+2 wins||Lost first five games of the season, by scores of 26-10, 17-7, 40-30, 36-13, 30-17|
|Bill Cowher||Pittsburgh Steelers ('92)||11-5||7-9||+4 wins||Took over for legendary coach Chuck Noll.|
|Jeff Fisher||Houston Oilers ('94-'95)||5-11||7-9||-2 wins||In 1993, Oilers went 12-4 but lost in the divisional round. They then tanked in 1994, resulting in the firing of head coach Jack Pardee who was replaced by Jeff Fisher. Sound familiar?|