Can we win with Jason Garrett as Head Coach?
I hate to ask this question...
Because as a fan of the Dallas Cowboys (THE Greatest Sports Organization in the World) I should know that we have a coach that is at least competent.
After watching JG for the last 4-5 years... I am beginning to have serious doubts. I know that we can never tell exactly where Jerry Jones ends and the Cowboys' Head Coach begins, so I will give Jason the benefit of the doubt in most cases.
I welcome other readers to make a case for Jason to continue on as Head Coach past this year barring anything except at least 1 win in the playoffs (if we make the playoffs). However, I am going to make the case that Jason Garrett never deserved this year.
Let's start at the beginning... Jerry hired Jason first and then Wade. Not at all Jason's fault. However, Jason has been around football a long time. He knew what he was getting himself into by being hired before his boss. This ain't corporate America where a corporation can get away with hiring a District Manager before hiring the Vice President of Marketing. No, this is football, where a clearly defined hierarchy has to be established and respected. Jason agreed to come on as OC before the HC was hired. I will give him a pass and not question his competence, but I don't think that has ever been done before in the history of the NFL. So to say the least, JG was not smart enough to tell Jerry to hold off on the announcement or wait until the HC was chosen to say yes.
JG as OC... Many were never enamored with JG's playcalling during the Wade era. He often failed to even attempt to establish the run and threw at every possible turn. That is a great formula for racking up passing yards, but bad if you want to win playoff games (or even get to the playoffs). His offense has been called by Ray Lewis as the simplest in the NFL. Garrett is as creative offensively with his playcalling as he is with his interviews. The lack of screens, play action passes, and creativity have made it necessary for Romo to have to play flawless in order to move the ball efficiently. And Romo due to his elite skillset has almost pulled this feat off. But it has produced FGs in the red zone at the most inopportune moments and tons of 3 and outs, and yes... TURNOVERS.
TO... JG did have the run in with the WRs during his tenure here. That cost the Cowboys a Hall of Fame WR. By all accounts, Jerry still wanted TO but was advised against it by his son. Why? Because of the younger son's closeness with the HC? By the way, for all of you who say TO was definitely either A problem or THE problem, the Cowboys have not been to the playoffs since he left. TO's complaint was that there was too much freelancing between Romo and Witten... to be more specific: on plays where Witten was supposed to be blocking, he was releasing and going out on pass routes which meant the WRs were running the deep routes (deep posts, flys, square ins) or crossing patterns for nothing. TO's complaint was that JG was not addressing this with either Romo or Witten and was acting as if it was not happening at all, when everyone in the huddle did. The last part is the part that falls squarely on JG. He talks about being accountable and being a "Right Kind of Guy" and yet he played favorites in front of the entire team.
JG as interim coach... Not much to say here. However, I ask only the diehard Cowboys' fans this? Did the offensive playcalling change when JG became the interim HC that season? Did we begin to run the ball more once JG became HC? So this is not about JG the interim HC but rather what was he doing as OC and why did the playcalling change once he became interim HC that season? Oh, I know what you're thinking! But he was not in charge as OC and maybe, maybe just maybe Wade told him how to run the offense. Ummhh... nice try, but no! Jerry made it clear that Jason was over the offense or was the offensive HC (and paid him as such) and Wade ran the defense. So there would have been no reason to change the way plays were called simply because he became HC.
This will be PART I. We will call this session... Pre-HC Garrett.
PART II to come later in the week with his time as official HC.