NEW YORK, N.Y.- An all-too-familiar image flashed on the
television Sunday afternoon as Jason Garrett was seen clapping his hands and
shouting encouraging words towards his players coming off the field as yet
another game slipped out of the grasp of the Dallas Cowboys. This image has
become synonymous with the Cowboys, seeming almost as iconic as the star that
brands their logo. The beleaguered head coach has earned a reputation of his
teams underperforming on the big stage, and it’s time for the Cowboys to make a
change if they are truly serious about finishing the season as the lone team
“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and
over and expecting different results.” This is a powerful message from Albert Einstein
that Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones needs to recognize, as he continues
to expect championship results while employing the same head coach that has
proven time and time again he is unequipped to tackle that task.
The NFL head coaching position is the most impactful of all four major sports. We’ve seen brilliant head coaches elevate bad teams and terrible head coach destroy great teams. The latter is what is happening to the Cowboys with Garrett at the helm. One of the best indicators of this is simply looking at the win-loss record coupled with the talent on the roster
The Cowboys have built one of the best rosters in football
this season and have done so smartly, locking up young players on long-term
deals earlier in their careers to save money in the future. Every position
group is solid and Dallas is littered with top-five players at their respective
position. Ezekiel Elliott. Leighton Vander Esch. Amari Cooper. Demarcus
Lawrence. The list goes on and on. This roster is built for sustained success
and on paper, should be one of the elite teams in the league.
The problem is “the clapper” hasn’t been able to take all of
that skill and translate it to wins on the field. While the Cowboys are 6-5 and
alone in first place in the NFC East, a large part of that “success” so far has
been beating inferior teams coupled with the rest of the division struggling
mightily. Their six wins have come against: Giants (twice), Redskins, Dolphins,
Eagles and Lions. The combined record of those teams is 14-40-1. On the flip
side, Dallas has yet to beat even an average team, losing to the Saints,
Packers, Jets, Vikings and Patriots. With the talent in place to win these
games against tougher opponents, the blame has to fall upon the coaching staff.
The good news if you are a Dallas fan is that it seems like the czar of the Cowboys is finally getting fed up with losing and coming after Garrett. After Sunday’s loss to the Patriots in which New England was severely outmanned yet still found a way to win, Jones called out the coaching staff, saying “I don’t think there’s a game where a coaching staff couldn’t do better.” Jones also went on to say he “shouldn’t be this frustrated” given the makeup of this roster, echoing the same sentiment that a majority of the fan base has been lamenting for years.
Hearing this first major criticism towards Garrett from
Jerry should be an encouraging sign for fans because the Cowboys’ championship
window is as wide open as it might ever be. With so many key pieces in place
for the next few years, Dallas needs a head coach that can put them in
positions to succeed and take this team to the next level. In the 10 years that
the former Cowboy quarterback has been the head coach, has there ever been a
game where Garrett was credited with outcoaching the opponent?
The best analogy to describe the 2019 Cowboys is to compare
them to a sports car. Dallas has a souped-up engine in a great offensive line,
powering the rest of the team to have success. Ezekiel Elliott is like the best
set of tires, running steady to give the offense rhythm. Adding Amari Cooper to
this offense is like taking the restrictor plate off the engine. And the
defense is a reliable pair of brakes, providing a safety blanket. The only
issue is the driver of this perfectly crafted vehicle is a man who’s unable to push
this car to its potential.
Criticism of Jason Garrett’s conservative decision making
isn’t new. Neither are the calls for him to be fired. But those calls do take
on a different meaning with the way the team is currently constructed. Dallas
has never been better equipped to win their first Super Bowl since 1996 than
they are in the next two-to-three years. Jerry has to realize this and bring in
a coach that can take this team to its peak, something Garrett has failed at
for the past 10 years.
If Jerry truly wants to win another Lombardi Trophy, he
needs to heed Einstein’s advice and try something new, or run the risk of falling
into a never-ending cycle of insanity.