Let's start with one of the more common complaints about Garrett's offense, the predictability of the playcalling. Say what you will about predictability, but you don't think opposing teams know the ball's going to Gronkowski? Or Arian Foster's getting a hand off? Or Cam Newton's gonna pull it down and run? As you can see, this is turning back around in the usual direction of "execution". The standard comeback for the "playcalling sucks" argument. But look around the league. Predictability is not an issue if the execution is there. Most successful teams in the NFL are run the way Garrett's trying to run this one. The opposition knows what you're gonna do, and they can't stop you. You don't say "We'll throw it to Calvin Johnson, they'll never expect that!" For this team though, the players sometimes don't dominate as Jason Garrett would like them to. And that goes for not only the offensive line, but Dez not beating his man, Witten missing a block, Austin running a wrong route, Romo forcing a throw, penalties, etc. It's much more common to see a successful team in the NFL enforce their will on another team and win games (and championships) that way than to have success by constantly catching defenses off guard. It just doesn't happen as much as fans would like. You don't catch defenses looking pass when you run and looking run when you pass on a consistent enough basis to make a living off of it. At some point it comes down to players executing. And at some point if you can execute well enough, you benefit when you do catch a team off guard, but you also benefit when you don't. But we've seen this team. A lot of times they don't execute, and a lot of times we also don't catch any defenses off guard. So what gives?
This is purely opinion, I'm not digging up too many stats for this, or doing a whole lot more than just laying out what we've got in our head coach and the arguments for and against him that have been raging amongst Dallas fans since he took the helm. A bit of a dead horse I know, but it seems some things should be cleared up a little bit.
Therein lies the real question. Should Garrett be adjusting to the team he has, instead of stubbornly sticking with his philosophy or should the players be executing better so Jason can run his philosophy? Who's really at fault? You could blame either side, and that's what fans are doing.
Think about this, though. If you're constantly adjusting to your own weaknesses, what kind of culture are you building? What kind of franchise are you setting up for future success, and a future dynasty? I don't believe that's any way to compete against the big dogs in the league, and to become a big dog yourself. It might get you a couple cheap wins, but the great teams in the league aren't excellent at covering their weaknesses, they're excellent at enforcing their strengths to make their weaknesses irrelevant. Sure it sounds good to have both, but it doesn't work that way. You can't adjust to your team's weaknesses and win that way until you get better, and then just decide you're going to enforce some sort of philosophy on the league all of a sudden out of thin air. Executing the philosophy the way Jason Garrett wants to do takes building, especially from where he started with this roster, and the "cupcake" culture. The defense is well on its way, and we can all agree that the offensive line (and offense as a whole) aren't quite there yet, but I think it's much wiser to continue that building process, even if it does result in some frustrating games along the way, than to stray from that path and lose your direction altogether.
And let's not kid ourselves. We still have a chance to win with this team. It's not like we're in full rebuilding mode here. This stubborn playcalling and staying the course may result in some flops because the truth is our players don't always play to the level that is required of them to enforce our will on other teams. But sometimes they do. Sometimes we do beat good teams, and the players do play to the level required of them. We need to get some players in here that can do that on a weekly basis obviously, especially on the offensive line, but in the meantime, these players are good enough to pull it together against any team on any week of the year and give us a chance to beat anybody in the league. Think Jason Garrett might've thought of that already? Like maybe he knows this is gonna be a process to get this team to where he needs it to be, so he stacked the defense so we could compete in the meantime? It's almost like he knew the offense would have weeks they could pull it together and weeks they couldn't, but a good defense would give us a chance at a superbowl in the middle of this "rebuilding process" to get the team where he wants it to be. Maybe he is a smart guy after all... If that's the rebuilding process we're in, then I'm all for it.
So how about that personnel? Another point of contention during the offseason. We all knew it was impossible to fix the defense and the offensive line in one offseason, let's be honest. Throw out a scenario that we should've done this offseason that puts us in a better situation right now. Here's the thing: you can have three great offensive linemen, but if you've got two turn styles left over it's not doing you much good. Same problem at corner. You can have two good ones, but if the third is.... Alan Ball.... you get the idea. We needed four linemen and two corners. The math is pretty easy to figure out which one can be fixed and which one can't. Why fix half of each when both are still a problem at the end of the day? Why fix two out of four offensive linemen and both offensive line and corner are still a problem? I'm not just philosophizing here. Sign Nicks instead of Carr? Draft DeCastro instead of Claiborne? The names and the numbers just don't add up. The smartest thing to do is fix the corners and hope the defense can keep us in some games with the knowledge that we're going to have some inconsistencies on offense. I say inconsistencies because we also know that this offense is capable of pulling it together sometimes, and what we're left with is what we're seeing now. Sometimes frustrating, sometimes it doesn't come together on offense, but always a competitive team against anybody in the league. And that was the idea all along.
So that's my view. I do see both sides of the argument with Jason Garrett. I get frustrated when it doesn't work too. But at the end of the day I think the predictable play calling and stubborn direction of this team is for the greater good, compared to the alternative of an ever changing, philosophy lacking, game by game, draft by draft, training camp by training camp definition of what this team is. The team is obviously not where it needs to be for us to consistently have success with Jason Garrett, but it's heading in the right direction, and we're going through the growing pains right now. And who knows, maybe the inconsistent success that we do have will come together just enough for us to make a run in the meantime. Jason Garrett has set the team up to allow for that to happen.