Of course, in reading all of the stories, some here at BTB, about the success of the Seahawks and their phenomenal blueprint for building their once in a lifetime team and all the geniuses involved in doing it that I start to wonder about the hometown team and how they are doing things. Well, I have a few points I wanted to put out there as to how the Cowboys mediocre holding pattern might hold more than meets the eye.
First off, the coach in Seattle came in with a bottom dweller and inherited some decent talent and also inherited a bunch of ammunition to gain more picks in the draft. Much like what Jimmy Johnson stepped into with Dallas back in the 90’s. Sure, Jimmy took the bull by the horns and did some great drafting and brought in some great defensive coaches but he stepped into a situation tailor built for building good things. And he did. And so has Pete in Seattle (Seattle was 4-2 in 2008 and 5-11 in 2009 the year before Pete Carroll came on. That’s some decent draft ammunition, folks.)
Our beloved Jason Garrett did not take that route. He inherited a flawed team that had been mishandled by the previous coach and the owner. Whole drafts were literally thrown away under Jerry and Wade’s tutelage. In order for Jason Garret to mold a team into his liking he had to first un-mold the junk he got mid-season his first half-year and begin the process of remolding it into a winner.
Sure, he got some good players to build around but the state of the offensive line alone was a major rebuilding task and he did not have the luxury of super high draft picks like Pete in Seattle did, those picks that can be traded for more picks, etc etc. So, what Garrett has done to remold this team into a young hungry team in three years has been nothing short of impressive. Instead of starting from the bottom with nowhere to go but up, he had to start from the unenviable position of starting from the middle with a franchise headed down and players who didn’t want to play (Rat anyone??)
So, what has he done in those three full years?
1. He changed the culture. The team (and even the owner!) talks like him, they act like him, they play hard but they flash their inexperience now and then but you can see the potential. You really can.
2. He has had three decent drafts in the past three years and gotten players in all rounds of the draft to help out. Tyron Smith. Fred beard. Sean Lee. Carter, etc etc., all solid players that can be coached. He had a great draft last year which suggests they are starting to get some mojo going in this new age of the draft.
3. He has diplomatically dealt with Jerry Jones (possibly through Jones Jr.) and slowly gotten the coaches he wants. I really like the people he was allowed to bring in this offseason because it tells me that Jason is getting the opportunity to do it his way which hasn’t happened since Jimmy and maybe the Tuna a bit. (a Herculean task by the way in dealing with Jerry.)
4. He brought in good defensive coaches with reputations for building great defenses. And the driving force of those hires is now in charge of the defense. I mean, what Marinelli did with guys off the street last year was a thing of beauty to watch even though it didn’t get the results we all want. But his coaching last year was off the hook. Callahan stunk it up but Jason’s guy probably wont next year. It’s HIS guy. C'mon...
There are many more points to make regarding what’s going on in Dallas but my main point is that Dallas seems to be doing good things. Many decisions seem similar to what’s happening in Seattle. Young team building through the draft. Hungry team with a few wiley vets to keep it all together. They have some excitable coaches out there barking and spitting chewed bone particles out of their mouths on the sidelines and in practice. I thought their last game against Philly was a great game given that they had no defense anymore to speak of but still managed to stay in it and their main signal caller was at home laying on his stomach watching it on t.v.
If Jerry can sort of be kept at bay another couple of years, I think Dallas will have something approaching special. Next year HAS TO BE a 9 - 7 or a 10 - 6 or better year for sure but I’m excited about this years draft because the coaches and their recent track record have me excited. I’m excited to see the defense grow another year under coach Marinelli. I’m excited to see Miles Austin leave and another young playmaker come in alongside Terrance Williams and Dez Bryant and Jason Witten.
I like what I’m seeing – except of course the back surgery on Tony Romo – and I want to see more, which hasn’t been said much in the past 17 years or so.