Do the Dallas Cowboys need a shock to the system? The team is having serious problems with turnovers and not being able to make the one play they need at the end to win games that are almost within their grasp. At 3-4, they are not out of the race for a playoff spot, but with the unbeaten Atlanta Falcons coming up, they need a win to keep the odds from getting too long.
From the outside, Jerry Jones and Jason Garrett appear to be trying to stay the course and let the changes that Garrett has been implementing take hold. But the current course has not led to the expected success, and the rumbles are starting in the media and the fanbase about something needing to change.
What could the team do? One thing would be some personnel moves, with the trade deadline coming at 3 pm EDT on Thursday. The team does not seem to be in a buyer's market, so this would have to involve something like a trade for Mike Jenkins, which I have mentioned earlier this week. He is one player with some value that the team could likely afford to move. Stephen Jones has downplayed the idea of making a trade, but that is pretty much to be expected even if something is in the works.
There is another possibility for a move that would certainly have a large impact, and that would directly address some of the criticisms that have been leveled at the team lately. KD talked in his 9 Random Thoughts post about the fact that Jason Garrett had suggested having Bill Callahan take over the play calling duties one day. KD sees this as a move that would likely happen for next season, but that was the outlook back in the offseason. At the time, it is fairly certain that Garrett felt he was the best option for running the offense. He may still have that attitude, but there are many who now differ with him.
Perhaps it is time for the head coach to take a long, hard look at himself and ask if he should hand over that part of his load to his offensive coordinator. I know from reading various comments on articles here at BTB that there is support for the move, but of course we don't really matter. Either Garrett would have to come to this conclusion himself, or he would have to get a push from the owner and general manager. JG feels he has Jerry Jones' support, but this would not be a move that says Garrett is not a good head coach, just that he has a bit too much on his plate. It would also be something that could be done without having to bring anyone new in or otherwise disrupt the team or the system in place. It would have a big impact on the team, in my opinion, in that it would be seen as a major move, and it would show that no one, not even the head coach, is above it all. It would be a major sign of real accountability.
Just the impact of the decision might be enough to get the players, particularly on the offense, to do more about taking care of their responsibilities. Callahan has experience, and if he was brought in with an eye towards having him call the games in the future, this is just making the move earlier than planned. The biggest reason for it not to happen is probably Garrett's own ego. I fully understand how he would see this as at least a partial admission of failure.
In all likelihood, nothing radical will be done this week, and the team will go into Atlanta and try to win doing the same things they have been doing, only better. I do think this is a winnable game, although I do not see that as likely. I just wonder if it might not be a very good time to make a move or two to show that the Cowboys are serious about making this season a success while they still have the opportunity.