Jason Garrett is the very well-intentioned head coach of the Dallas Cowboys.
He loves his players, fellow coaches, and the game of football. There’s no question that he wants everyone to excel and that he’s willing to do everything within his power for that to happen.
Garrett is entering his eighth season as the leader of America’s Team. Eight years is a long time. When you’ve done something for eight years, you tend to have a legacy, something to show for your work. Eight years is how long doctors go to school, for crying out loud (I think, full disclosure, I’m not a doctor).
Who the Dallas Cowboys are as an organization has evolved considerably throughout Garrett’s tenure. They’ve entered a new era at primary positions, said goodbye to players that will be in the Ring of Honor, and literally moved into a new headquarters to serve as the physical home of the team’s history in The Star.
Again, Jason Garrett is well-intentioned. Let’s be clear about that. Part of this process involves his belief in finding the “right kind of guys.” RKG is a philosophy (if you even want to call it that) that’s been debated here at BTB since dinosaurs roamed the earth. There are still varying opinions on what it exactly means.
Eight years in, we should know what the crux of Jason Garrett’s acquisition scope means. Eight years in, we know that RKG doesn’t mean choir boys, boy scouts, or goodie two-shoes. Eight years in, we know that the Cowboys continue to have significant contributors suspended.
There’s obviously some sort of problem here
David Irving is the latest Cowboys player to be caught by the long arm of the NFL’s law. The defensive tackle was handed a four-game suspension on Friday, and the penalty marks the fifth straight of its kind the Cowboys have faced over the last five seasons.
Cowboys have had at least one defensive starter suspended to begin the season for five years in a row:— RJ Ochoa (@rjochoa) June 15, 2018
2014 - Orlando Scandrick
2015 - Greg Hardy, Rolando McClain
2016 - DeMarcus Lawrence
2017 - David Irving
2018 - David Irving
That's half of a decade.
Defenders of suspended Cowboys have dwindled over the years. Previously people would decree that non-Cowboys NFL players were suspended too, it was just a matter of Dallas being a brighter stage than most.
The thing is, this is a startling trend. It’s not even a trend, it’s a rite of passage. For half of a decade now, the Cowboys have had a defensive starter suspended to begin the season. For perspective, this “streak” began Zack Martin’s rookie season. Yes, that’s the same Zack Martin who has played so long that he just received his long-term extension literally this week.
While some may have felt that raising a red flag here was overreacting, data proves the Cowboys are a significant outlier among NFL teams in this regard. Our own OCC’s tweet speaks for all of us in terms of frustration.
Holy Jumping Jehoshaphats, Batman! pic.twitter.com/lVf7njwRwr— One Cool Customer (@OCC44) June 15, 2018
The Cowboys aren’t an outlier or aberration. They’re the opposite end of the spectrum. There is a real and undeniable pattern here and the common denominators cannot be ignored.
What are the common denominators?
All of these suspensions have taken place under the supervision and coaching of Jason Garrett as head coach and Rod Marinelli as defensive coordinator, in fact the “streak” began when Rod fully took over as DC.
Earlier this week Derek Dooley’s time in Dallas had some shade thrown over it by Cole Beasley. People wondered how Jason Garrett, as head coach, could allow a wide receivers coach that allegedly didn’t teach the art of route running to in fact coach wide receivers.
If “right kind of guys” isn’t necessarily defined as not getting suspended, isn’t it at least defined as doing the basic functions of your job? Shouldn’t it definitely have some sort of definition that involves not getting suspended?
There are definitely right kind of guys on the Cowboys
While the Cowboys certainly seem to lead the league as far as suspensions, they absolutely have great men in their locker room. Names like Sean Lee, Dak Prescott, Byron Jones, Travis Frederick, and many others are constantly heralded for work they do in the community and with their teammates.
Plenty of players in Dallas are utilizing their stages and influence to better those around them. Take Kavon Frazier as just one example, he hosts free youth camps. That’s amazing.
Grand Rapids Get Ready !!!! Dallas Cowboy, Kavon Frazier will Host the Frazier Cares Football Skills Camp— fraziercares (@fraziercares1) June 12, 2018
When: July 13th
Where: Davenport University
Time: 3pm to 6pm
Ages: 13 to 18
Register at https://t.co/YrNTL9Jmyv pic.twitter.com/AijItcH4pZ
Just because the Cowboys have a high rate of suspensions doesn’t mean that they’re a bad football team or that they’re the worst franchise to ever exists. Those are overreactions.
This latest infraction does continue an unfortunate streak, though. To deny what data overwhelmingly proves would not only be irresponsible, but incorrect in general. The Cowboys have a large issue when it comes to players getting suspended.
It’s a great thing that Jason Garrett wants to find the “right kind of guys.” He should want that. He should strive for it.
He’s achieved it, to a great degree. There are a lot of “right kind of guys” in Dallas. Saying it over and over, preaching it as your mantra, just doesn’t necessarily hold up that strongly when you have such a glaring problem in the world of suspensions. That’s all.