You ever wonder why Jason Garrett's hair is red? It's because he is always sitting on the hot seat. At least according to almost every NFL article outside of the Cowboys media that discusses the Cowboys organization as a whole. We've gotten used to two pieces of "conventional wisdom" concerning the Cowboys overall, Jerry Jones doesn't know what he's doing and the Cowboys coach is on the hot seat 90% of the time.
I won't deny that Garrett's tenure as coach is definitely in question, three consecutive years of 8-8 records and missing the playoffs will do that to you. Most everybody wonders if Garrett has to make the playoffs to keep his job in 2014. The answer from anybody who does not follow the Cowboys on a daily basis is a resounding yes, because of the meme that Jerry Jones has no patience. Take this blurb from The Boston Globe.
Cowboys - Is this Jason Garrett’s last chance? Garrett has finished 8-8 and out of the playoffs in each of his three full seasons as Cowboys head coach. Team owner Jerry Jones said Garrett doesn’t necessarily have to earn a playoff berth to be back again in 2015. Well, maybe if Dallas finishes 11-5 and misses out on the playoffs due to a tough-luck tiebreaker. But does anyone really believe Jones will tolerate a fifth straight season without a playoff berth and not make changes? So the pressure is on Garrett more than ever. But it’s hard to see how his roster improved. Two of his best defenders are gone (Jason Hatcher in Washington and DeMarcus Ware in Denver) while another was lost for what’s likely a season-ending injury (Sean Lee, ACL). The Cowboys added depth to the offensive line in top draft pick Zack Martin, but there are still concerns about the back injury that ended Tony Romo’s season last year. Bottom line: there’s a lot of uncertainty and a lot of aging core pieces. So it’s hard to justify optimism that this might be the year the Cowboys emerge as a real threat.
I'd take exception to the idea that a lot of Dallas' core pieces are aging. Outside of Tony Romo and Jason Witten, the Cowboys are actually pretty young. That is something Garrett has made a priority, turning over an aging roster with young talent. The offensive line is one of the youngest around but is already highly-ranked. Dez Bryant and Terrance Williams are certainly no grey-beards. On defense, it's almost entirely young talent with a few guys like Anthony Spencer in the mix.
The Cowboys have been re-made without going entirely into the tank. Whether that re-make will bear fruit this year or not is the question. And that's the question for Jerry Jones about Jason Garrett.
Does he give Garrett time to follow-through on what he has started, or is the 2014 season the demarcation line? Win or go home?