Jason Garrett Driving Force Behind Cowboys Cutting Jay Ratliff?

The head coach of your Dallas Cowboys - Wesley Hitt

A couple of Blogging The Boys writers discuss just how much this confirms that the head coach is firmly in charge.

Joey Ickes was the one who pointed the article out.

Stop listening to Jason Garrett's words. Instead, pay attention to what he does.

His actions tell you everything you need to know about the Dallas Cowboys' head coach.

Since Garrett took the job, the Cowboys have either released or chosen not to re-sign veterans Andre Gurode, Leonard Davis, Kyle Kosier, Marion Barber, Terence Newman, Marc Colombo, Bradie James, Mike Jenkins, Felix Jones, Marcus Spears, Nate Livings and Gerald Sensabaugh.

Now, we can add defensive tackle Jay Ratliff to the list. -- Jean-Jacques Taylor, ESPN Dallas

That led to Rabblerousr mentioning that he has noticed for the past few weeks that, despite the .500 record the Cowboys have, there has been no more talk about a hot seat for Jason Garrett.

It was something that neither Dawn Macelli or I could leave alone. So we had a little virtual conversation this afternoon, and thought it would be worth sharing.

Tom: It is interesting how the perception of Jason Garrett has totally reversed itself in the past few months. As Rabblerousr and Joey Ickes were remarking, this is a completely opposite take of the head coach.

Dawn: I agree completely. The times, they are a changin' around Valley Ranch, far from being a puppet, Jason Garrett is building his Cowboys according to a well thought out blueprint and the Jones family has fully bought in to what Garrett envisions.

Tom: And it is not just this particular writer that is seeing this. The discussions about hot seats and who would come in to replace the red-haired one have completely disappeared. In reading through JTT's article, I completely understand so much of what he says.

I especially identify with this line from the piece, about Garrett:

"He judges players by their contribution."

Dawn: For any coach to achieve long term success in the NFL, he must do exactly that. The league is a "what have you done for me lately" business. There is no doubt in my mind that a guy like Jay Ratliff, who was an overachieving warrior for Dallas, is exactly the type of player whom Garrett wants on his roster, but he also understands that, for every athlete, there comes a time when he can no longer add to the on the field product. The team has to move on. As Jean-Jacques Taylor stated:

"Garrett loves Ratliff's passion for the game. And his relentless spirit. And his work ethic and attitude.But none of that matters if you can't make plays. While releasing Ratliff was probably a difficult decision for Garrett to make emotionally, it should have been easy from a practical standpoint."

Tom: And another subtext is how different this is from the way things used to be. No more aging veterans being kept because of past achievements. The team may still pay players for their past overperformance, the way they did Ratliff (as explained so well by KD in his article on the cap impact of the cut), but the finance guys (like Stephen Jones) better be paying attention and making sure that it is not too costly to cut someone loose. Because Jason Garrett doesn't care. All that matters to him is having the best 53 players he can to work with each week.

This looks like more evidence that, somewhere along the way, Jerry Jones really did turn the personnel decisions over to his head coach.

Dawn: I've said all along that I felt that Jason Garrett was ideally suited to be a very successful general manager in the NFL. He has a strategic vision for where he would like the Dallas Cowboys to be in, say the next five seasons, and he is able to balance the short and long term priorities in a way that allows the team to put a decent product on the field right now while also placing a greater emphasis on building for the future. That is a difficult task to accomplish, but as Jason Witten once said of Garrett, "He could be President of the United States if he put his mind to it."

Tom: From all indications, he also has the one thing that you must have to succeed in Dallas, and that is Jerry Jones' trust. This is one more example of how the owner/GM is putting it in the hands of his coach, because everyone is listening more closely to what Garrett is saying. As Mike Fisher put in a tweet, Jerry's comments are just Jerryesque. Garrett doesn't impart a lot of information, but when he does say something, it is meaningful.

Dawn: It certainly is. If you will listen closely to what Garrett says, there are some pretty good clues as to what is going on in his mind, and as Taylor said his actions are where things are truly revealed. From where I sit, the release of Jay Ratliff is just one more confirmation that Jason Garrett is the man who is firmly in control of the football side of the operation.

Tom: Agreed, Dawn. If there was still any doubt, this seems to have killed the last bit. Of course, things could change if the rest of the season goes badly. The "Garrett has to go" crowd would probably be back. And we really don't want to see the team stumble just to find out how secure the job is.

The hope, of course, is that Garrett will finally start getting some results. Now if they can just keep a few Rushmen healthy.

Dawn: With the "getting results" statement you have brought everything full circle, Tom. It comes down to being able to get things done on the playing field; that applies as much to Jason Garrett as it does to Jay Ratliff. There is not a doubt in my mind that Jerry and Stephen Jones will give the coach an opportunity to get the pieces he needs in place before deciding that he is in a "must win" situation. Positive moves are taking place, but they are not fully there yet. As you stated the rushmen situation is not optimal. They will allow for that, but once these issues are addressed, if he cannot win, Jason Garrett will in fact be on the hot seat.

Tom: When he was first hired, I thought this (2013, his third full season) was the decision year. However, the way the team has come so close two years running, and the odd distribution of injuries last season and again this year, may have pushed the decision back at least a year. And if the Cowboys make the playoffs (which, of course, we fully expect), then Garrett has at least a couple more years, I think. And that kind of stability may be the thing that does the most good for the franchise.

Dawn: My time table was just a little more flexible. I have said all along that 2014 was the target year. That would allow for two good drafts for each side of the ball. Otherwise, I fully agree with your line of thinking.


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