Things are really bad in Cowboys Nation. After starting the season 3-0, the team has now lost six of their last nine games and sit with an unimpressive 6-6 record. This team has gone through rough patches before, but in those instances there have always been some extenuating circumstances that have played a big role in their struggles. Maybe a run of injuries, including ones to key plays like a starting quarterback have set them back in the past? Or maybe a bunch of position group shake-ups that take time for players to get acclimated to has slowed them a bit? And then there’s that possibility that the talent on the team just isn’t as good as we think it is.
All of these factors have played a huge role in keeping the Cowboys out of the players during the Jason Garrett era. And for those reasons, some have been a little more understanding of the team’s shortcomings as we hang on to the idea that better days are coming. But none of those factors are the problem now. Dak Prescott is not only healthy, but at times has played like one of the best quarterbacks in the league. There have been no major shake ups anywhere along the roster, and to be quite honest - the depth of the talent on this roster is stronger than it’s been in decades.
So why isn’t this team playing better? The answer is an easy one... Jason Garrett.
This is not to say that Garrett is responsible for Prescott making a ghastly toss right into the arms of a pass rusher. Nor is Garrett responsible for not properly developing his All-Pro left tackle who continues to get called for holding penalties. Even dropped passes, missed tackles, or field goals that go wide right are all execution issues that fall squarely on the shoulders of the players.
But none of that matters because Garrett is 100% responsible for the overall performance of his football team. He hires the assistants who are responsible for making his receivers carry bricks. He’s the one instilling the concentration and discipline to stay in your gaps when diagnosing a play. And he’s the one making the decision of which kicker trots onto the field to attempt the field goals. Garrett is responsible for it all.
With all of these failures this season, why is Garrett still the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys? I have my own reasons why Garrett is the right guy for this Cowboys team, but rather subject you that again, it might be more beneficial to look deeper into the mind of Jerry Jones as to why he continues to show strong support for his head coach. In his most recent interview, an emotional Jerry Jones stuck to his guns and tried to help people understand why he’s not ready to move on from Jason.
A change right now only hurts this team’s chances
While people are really frustrated right now, firing Garrett now makes very little sense unless you believe there is an in-house interim option that gives the team a better chance to finish the season - this season. Many fans believe there is one as Kris Richard’s name has come up on occasion. Of course, the love for Richard is hot and cold as the inconsistencies on defense don’t exactly inspire confidence. But Richard yells at players, so on the surface that looks better than just clapping on the sidelines (don’t forget that he wears cleats!). Of course, Jerry Jones doesn’t care what it looks like as he feels that the team’s best chance this year still reside in the control of Garrett.
“Every decision I make in the next month will be with an eye in mind to get us into the Super Bowl.”
Most every fan believes Garrett’s days in Dallas are coming to an end, but what would the team gain by firing him now? The only thing keeping the team together is the belief these players have in themselves and that belief comes directly from overwhelming confidence their current head coach has diffused into their minds. Why take that away?
If you’re hoping new leadership will instantly make this team start generating turnovers and execute better in the red zone, then make the change; however, that seems unrealistic. Regardless of what the team plans on doing long term, Garrett’s still the right choice for the remainder of the season.
Like it or not, Garrett still carries hope
The most aggravating thing about losing games is the idea that we all know this team is better than this. The talent is there. The “fight” is there. The level of professionalism of the players are all exactly what you want it to be. Most fans would agree - we love the players in the locker room.
Jerry Jones has a great understanding of this and he know the reason behind it is because of his head coach.
“We still have a chance and it’s because of the make up of these guys.”
“I know the room. I’m the one that okay’d and put the coaches that are in that room in there.”
Jerry clearly loves this group and what he sees behind the scenes. It’s really hard to convince someone that a change is needed if he really likes what he’s seeing inside that locker room. And the level of respect those players have for their head coach is extremely high. Amidst all the teams struggles, NFL Network reporter Jane Slater has talked to the players privately about their head coach and never once have they spoke negatively about their head coach. Not once. That says a lot. Whether Garrett has what it takes or not to take this team to the next level, the players certainly are sold on him. And any time the media tries to get them to say otherwise, the response is always the same - they react surprised that people would even suggest this was a poorly coached team.
If you go around the horn asking players about their head coach, you get pretty much the same response...
Elliott on if everyone in the locker room still has Jason Garrett’s back: “Of course. I don’t know why we wouldn’t. I’m not really entertaining that.”
DeMarcus Lawrence on if the players still believe in the coaching staff: “That’s a stupid question. But, yes, absolutely. I feel like this is a man’s game. It’s just not on the coaching staff. We had self-inflicted wounds.”
Amari Cooper on Garrett: “Jason is a great coach. He puts us in (the) position we need to be in to go out there and execute and win the ball game. But we just couldn’t get it done today as players.”
Jerry still strongly believes Garrett is the right guy
This isn’t about Jerry just being stubborn and wanting to prove to the world that his hand-picked coach is the answer in them returning to the glory days. Sure, there was a time when Jerry had the arrogance to just do it his way, regardless of what it meant to the franchise. Those days are gone and it’s not orneriness or the inability to be flexible that is driving his decision to keep Garrett. Jones firmly believes that Garrett has all the tools to bring a Super Bowl to Dallas.
“I know that at various times over the last several years I’ve thought they were exactly what I wanted to be in the room with. Those names haven’t changed.”
Winning football games is what matters and the Cowboys aren’t doing that right now. At least, not against the good football teams in the NFL. That’s always going to put a strain on the owner and Jones is going to have to answer to it every time this happens. But credit the owner for not caving to the media pressure who tries so hard to get him to throw his head coach under the bus. Until the moment arises that Jerry no longer believe that Garrett is that guy who is best for his football team, nothing is going to change. Granted, doubt has certainly crept into his mind with the lack of success the team is having, but it’s still not enough to make him believe a change is needed.
At least, not yet.