With a three game losing streak, many fans are pointing directly at Jason Garrett as his staff. Has Jerry Jones made a mistake backing him?
The year was 1992 and Jimmy Johnson was the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys. He just acquired a young quarterback by the name of Jason Garrett as a backup to Troy Aikman. That Dallas Cowboys team was loaded with talent and would of course go on to win the Super Bowl three out of the next four years.
While Jason Garrett would float around as a player, much of what he learned as a coach can be contributed to those years with Johnson. And this may actually be the problem for Garrett as a head coach…
If you remember the Cowboys teams from the early 90s, you will remember the names; Tory Aikman, Emmitt Smith, Michael Irvin, Nate Newton, Jay Novacek, Charles Haley, Russell Maryland, Darren Woodson, and I could go on.
Today’s game is about scheme, exploiting your best players, and hiding your worst.
This was a team of future Hall of Famers, Pro-Bowl talent, and above average starters. In 1992 the NFL instituted what is today’s free agency and after a few years it took its toll on the Dallas Cowboys roster.
Jimmy Johnson was always remembered for saying that teams had to line up and beat him. He said this because he knew the Dallas Cowboys had better players and players who didn’t make many mistakes. The execution would be flawless and the players more athletic. It led to the Dallas Cowboys being a powerhouse of a team.
Jason Garrett lives by this philosophy. Listen to him during his press conferences and he will talk about execution over and over. He doesn’t talk scheme or really even players, his topic is execution.
The issue is, the Dallas Cowboys and Jason Garrett don’t have a roster far and above better than the rest of the rest of the NFL. Today’s game is about scheme, exploiting your best players, and hiding your worst. Sure, talent has something to do with the winning and losing, but with the parity of today, you need to out-think your opponent.
This philosophy trickles down to Scott Linehan and Rod Marinelli. Both were major talents in the early 90s. Now that the rest of the league has caught up to the philosophy there needs to be more scheme and less reliance on talent. You get the talent to fit your scheme and them adjust your scheme to the players.
This is why there have been reports, off and on for years now, that opposing players are calling out the Dallas Cowboys plays before the snap. There isn’t an adjustment by the coaching staff. They still believe if you execute well enough it doesn’t matter if the other team knows what you are doing. Well, we see how far that has gotten the Cowboys.
If it had not been for elite talent over the last few years with Tony Romo, Ezekiel Elliott, Jason Witten, and others, this would not be a good football team. This is a mediocre football team in spite of Jason Garrett, not because of him. The few good seasons that Garrett has had as a head coach has been because of stellar play by a few players, not because of the coaching behind them.
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Jerry Jones is his own worst enemy in this. He so strong believes in the old ways that he is blind to the changes that have happened while he has been owner. His ego will not let him see that the worst thing in today’s game is not understanding the changes. Of course this is why the Dallas Cowboys are where they are in 2017.
The issue with getting a new coach would be there are very few people who will want to work with Jerry Jones. He is not just a meddling owner, but he and his son are the GM as well.
This usually means that regardless of what the coach wants, the final decision is on Jerry and his son. Any head coach can see the lack of control over the roster as a problem. Jason doesn’t fight Jerry on much of this, which is one reason Jones gives his full support.
Unless the Dallas Cowboys lose out the rest of 2017, Jason Garrett will most likely be the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys in 2018. Someone will take the fall for this season, and while both Linehan and Marinelli could see the door, the mistake of keeping Garrett if they are let go could be a strong reality. Where is Jimmy when you need him?