For years, Jason Garrett had been widely seen as a head coach with the ability to build teams and put players in the best position to win, especially on offense. During his time as the Dallas Cowboys offensive coordinator in the 2010 season and before taking over the head coach, Garrett was seen as the next hot head coach that many teams wanted. That stretch of success continued, at least on the offensive side of the football, with the Garrett offenses led by quarterback Tony Romo and during Dak Prescott’s first season.
But, cracks were slowly starting to form on the foundation of Garrett’s success in the NFL. Whispers of player’s frustration with the offensive play-calling were first to begin with wide receiver Terrell Owens. During his time with the Cowboys, Terrell Owens was the talk of the town until his abrupt departure after the 2008 season which many believed was due to conflicts with Romo and tight end Jason Witten. After his release, Owens never targeted Romo or Witten in the media or on social media, instead setting his sights on Garrett which could lead you to believe it was actually Garrett that was the problem for Owens, and as recently as last year he continued his campaign for Garrett’s firing.
Courtesy of CBSSports.com
“Hey, Jerry Jones!!” Owens tweeted. “Still think Jason Garrett is the answer?! For a decade — A DECADE NOW — it’s the same old song-and-dance! I knew they were going to Jason Witten on the third down prior to the touchdown, and knew they were going to him on the two-point conversion.”
Of course, Owens took another shot at returning to the Cowboys, as he’s done in the past.
“[It’s] not too late to bring me back,” he wrote, with a silly-faced emoji attached.
He wasn’t done there, however, digging deeper into Witten before he ended his assault.
“They really brought Jason Witten [back] like he was the answer — a “difference maker!” Owens joked. “Really?! I’m just saying! They got too much talent on that team to be ‘undercoached.’ “
Owens statements conveyed his impression that Garrett’s offense was too stale and predictable for defenses today. But, Owens isn’t the only former offensive player to leave the Cowboys and suggest the same thing. Former Cowboys receiver Cole Beasley and quarterback Tony Romo came out and gave the same critique of Garrett’s offense.
Tony Romo says he sees a lot of Jason Garrett’s footprints in this offense as Dallas Cowboys lose to New York Jets by the score of 24 to 22. Video credit goes to My Cowboys Family (@MyCowboysFamily) on YouTube pic.twitter.com/bb2WIXzrF0— ✭ Cowboy X Factor (@CowboyXFactor) October 14, 2019
When you have three former players criticizing an offensive scheme and one was your star quarterback, you might have a problem. Luckily, that problem no longer belongs to the Cowboys, but instead belongs to the New York Giants who brought Garrett in to be their offensive coordinator under first-year head coach Joe Judge. Judge, you would assume, would want to install his own philosophy of offense but that assumption was put to rest after reports came out that Garrett would be bringing the same offense he ran in Dallas last season to the Giants.
You shouldn’t expect to see the Cowboys offense from last season’s play-caller Kellen Moore, at least the times when he got to do his own thing. His version of the offense included more movement pre-snap to confuse defenses, and some different route combinations. Instead, expect to see the same stale offense that Romo commented on during the Cowboys vs. Jets game last year when Romo said the Cowboys were reverting back to the old Garrett offense. When Moore was left to his own devices, the offense was varied, but as was noted last year there were times, especially on the road, when the Cowboys appeared to revert back to a pre-2019 offensive scheme.
That offense, without pre-snap movements to help read defenses or confuse them, and without the varied route combinations, had defenses calling out plays on the field before they happened. Playing in that offense and knowing that teams knew your plays had to hurt moral in the locker room, on the field, and on the sidelines for the Cowboys during his tenure with the team. The offense also took a toll on the defense; defensive players were exhausted and upset to the point that when plays were made on the field, they ignored Garrett when coming off and wouldn’t high-five him out of pure frustration with the coach.
The frustration that Cowboys players and fans have felt for years now is one that the Giants fans can look forward to feeling in the future. And while they’re experiencing that, the Cowboys, and more specifically their defense, will be enjoying the hearing that Garrett is going to continue calling the same plays he ran during his time with the team. Their familiarity with Garrett’s formations and habits will give players like Sean Lee, Xavier Woods, Anthony Brown, Tyrone Crawford, and DeMarcus Lawrence the ability to make plays.
So not only will they be able to get sit on routes and make plays in the secondary, they will also be able to beat offensive lineman to their spots and fill gaps in the running game faster. They will also rest easy knowing that they won’t have to go out and save games because of a coach that failed to modernize his offensive philosophy and that has to make each and every player on this Dallas Cowboys defense excited.