The last time the Dallas Cowboys took the field, many wondered if it was going to be the beginning of the end for head coach Jason Garrett. The team was coming off three straight losses, including a shocking defeat at the hands of the New York Jets which featured players leaving Garrett hanging when he was offering up a high five. And when a desperate Philadelphia Eagles strolled into town with a confident coach who guaranteed a victory, things were not looking so good for coach.
Then, in an energy-filled AT&T Stadium, Garrett did what he always does - persevered. Amidst all the press conferences where his job security was constantly being questioned, Garrett never flinched. The Cowboys coach remained calm and answered the questions like he does every week with all the focus being put on the current task at hand. He offered no retort to Doug Pederson’s comments. He didn’t fall for any tricks of trying to make excuses for past failures. It was all about what he needed to do right then to get his team prepared to take on the Eagles.
And boy were they prepared. The Cowboys trounced their division rival, and just like that new life surged into the 2019 season. For any other coach, they’d be pretty excited or at least react in some manner that shows they were astounded by their team’s performance. But not Jason. For him, this is what he expected all along. He doesn’t panic because he knows what kind of team he has. He knows what kind of team he’s built - a team that features a slew of professionals with the passion and mental fortitude to make plays.
Garrett gets a lot of criticism and everyone has their own set point as to what it’s going to take for him to continue being the coach of the Cowboys. Most fans would profess that it’s going to take a trip to the NFC Championship to save his job. While it’s easy to acknowledge that Garrett’s had success since becoming the Cowboys head coach, fans are thirsting for more. Winning divisions just doesn’t cut it. It needs to be more.
Garrett is a lot like Al Pacino before he won his first Academy Award - respected among his peers, many years of success, but always came up short in the big moment. Movies like Scarface or The Godfather wasn’t enough to add an Oscar to Pacino’s mantle. But all that ended when he won best actor for A Scent of a Woman, and hoo-ah - he’s finally hoisting the trophy.
That’s what we’re hoping comes down the pike for Garrett. Eventually, all his hard work will translate to the Cowboys winning their sixth Super Bowl.
Just when I thought that I was out they pull me back in
The “hot seat” is nothing new for for Garrett. In 2016, the Cowboys were coming off a 4-12 season and lost Tony Romo when he was injured in the preseason. Many people wrote off the Cowboys that year, but the team finished 13-3 and Garrett won Coach of the Year.
In each of the last three seasons, the Cowboys have gone through stretches where they’ve lost three games over a four-week span. They’ll face adversity, but just when you think the season will be a wash, Garrett gets them back on track again. In 2017, they won four of their last five, and last year they won seven of their last eight. It hasn’t always been easy, but with Garrett, this team always has a fighting chance. Even with a three-game losing streak this season, the Cowboys are still primed for good fight and have the chance to do something that hasn’t been done in 15 years - repeat as NFC East champs.
It can be an emotional roller coaster at times, but it’s a ride worth taking.
Say hello to my little friend
One thing that you have to appreciate about Garrett’s Cowboys is that under his reign the team does a great job fixing deficiencies from the previous season. Having problems converting on third down one year? It gets fixed the following year. Can’t score in the red zone? That get’s fixed too. Swing tackle got you down, he’ll get right on that. Having trouble with your receiving group and need a precision route runner to strengthen your squad? No problem. Whatever the issue is, they don’t linger.
Last year, it was the Cowboys offense that was holding them back, so Garrett made a change at offensive coordinator with the promotion of Kellen Moore. For years, people have questioned what Garrett saw in Moore to keep him around, whether it was at backup quarterback or quarterback’s coach. But it’s becoming more and more evident why Moore remains with this team. The Cowboys offense is ranked sixth in points scored and first in total yards.
What’s amusing is that people are so enamored with Moore than when things the offense struggle, they are inclined to think that Garrett is somehow behind it. The same Garrett that as a play-caller helped the Cowboys offense put up 455 points during his first year as offensive coordinator, which at the time was the second-most in franchise history. Sources have debunked this narrative as Bryan Broaddus let us in on a little insight about the Cowboys “game plan” (via tweet from Bobby Belt).
We don’t know how this season will play out. And despite the vote of confidence the Joneses give Garrett, there are no guarantees he’s coaching this team at this time next season. In the meantime, Garrett’s going to remain unfazed by all the noise that keeps numbering his days in Dallas. He believes in this team, and last Sunday’s performance against the Eagles shows why.