It’s been a rough week for the Dallas Cowboys’ legion of fans. It’s been a week of "what ifs" and "why did that happen" since that game on Sunday. I feel like the spurned lover in the Prince-penned, Sinead O’Connor-popularized song, Nothing Compares 2 U.
It's been seven hours and fifteen days
Since you took your love away
I go out every night and sleep all day
Since you took your love away
It hasn’t been fifteen days yet, but the sense of loss still lingers.
Add on to that losing Tony Sparano to the Dolphins and what at first appeared to be the loss of Jason Garrett to the Ravens (I never thought he’d go to the Falcons) and it looked like the start of a dismal offseason to follow on the heels of a dismal playoff loss.
But, take heart fellow Cowboys fanatics, things have turned around over the last couple of days. Jerry Jones managed to hang on to Garrett, providing hope for the future. The last thing Tony Romo needed was yet another offensive system; continuity for a QB is a big thing and the Cowboys have it for at least one more year. Additionally, the players all respect Garrett and like playing for him so that is a bonus that is important and sometimes overlooked. But for me, the big thing is I think Garrett is an excellent coach who has a very bright future in the NFL and I’m hoping that future is with the Cowboys. Whenever Wade’s time is through in Dallas, I would like nothing better than to have Jason Garrett take over the reins.
Now, I know some of you are getting perturbed at the press, and at me, for seemingly throwing Wade under the bus in favor of Garrett. In my case, nothing could be further from the truth. I want Wade to succeed and I want him to succeed on the highest level. I wouldn’t care if Donald Duck was coaching this team as long as he took us to the Super Bowl. But I also can’t ignore certain things that seem readily apparent. Jerry Jones thinks Jason Garrett is the long-term solution at coach for this franchise. There’s no way he talks Garrett out of those other jobs - maybe talked out is too strong a phrase - but he definitely helped Garrett reach the decision of staying in Dallas and he doesn't do that without a long-term plan. Some of that ‘talking out’ had to do with making him the highest-paid assistant in the NFL and a sure sign that Garret is in Jerry’s future plans.
It also creates a unique situation out at Valley Ranch when your head coach and the offensive coordinator are making the same amount of money and the head coach is coming off a stunning and disappointing playoff loss. Playoff losses have been Phillips’ bugaboo his whole career as a head coach. That’s not to minimize the strides this team made in improving as a football team and a 13-3 record coupled with an NFC East crown is a notable achievement. Still, in this business it’s all about the post-season and that’s one area where Wade will have to show marked improvement in the 2008 season or face the possibility of being replaced by the aforementioned Garrett. Don’t think that moving into a new stadium in 2009 won’t also play into that dilemma.
So just to be clear, I’m rooting for Wade with everything I got, his success is tied to the team’s success and there’s nothing I want more than for this team to reach a Super Bowl and win it. Having said that, I can’t ignore the underlying currents set in motion by Garrett remaining in Dallas.
Getting back to the theme of things getting better, it’s being reported that Hudson Houck has signed a contract to be the Cowboys new offensive line coach. Check out kingbillito’s diary on the subject, here. I love this move as Houck is recognized as one of the finest offensive line coaches in the league. He’s had success here in Dallas, then in San Diego and most recently made the Dolphins line respectable on a team that was anything but. Now he’ll work his magic on an offensive line that is full of talent and could be one of the most dominating in the league with a little help. The Cowboys have scheduled a press conference this afternoon to announce the move.
So take heart, Jerry has managed to right the ship somewhat after striking the iceberg that was the playoff loss and things are looking better. If you’re still somewhat bitter over the loss do what I do, quit watching ESPN, they will only drive you insane. I still haven’t watched that station since Sunday except for one 2-hour block when they showed my Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets lose by one point to the undefeated and #1 North Carolina Tar Heels in college basketball. See, nothing good ever comes from ESPN.