Even with the Dallas Cowboys not making the playoffs and Jason Garrett keeping his job, this may be his worst offseason of his career.
The Dallas Cowboys have decided to keep Jason Garrett at least one more year, but this postseason may be the worst of his career, and he didn’t even coach a game in them.
The #FireGarrett crowd got more fuel for the fire over the last few weeks, and the Philadelphia win may be the icing on the cake. This goes deeper than the clock management and in-game adjustment issues. This postseason shows just how far Jason Garrett has to go, and quickly.
To start, let’s look at a quote from Jerry Jones:
"“Garrett’s conservative play calling late in the game bit us. I wish Garrett had been more aggressive while protecting a three-point lead in the final four minutes.”"
That is a pretty interesting quote, considering it came in 2011. However, this sets up this postseason as we look from that point forward.
In 2013 more questions as to the Cowboys playcalling were asked when Tramon WIlliams, cornerback for the Packers. He said after their comeback win:
"“That’s just who they are,” Williams said. “They run the ball really well against everybody they play, but they just never stick with it.”"
It seems like a constant theme is emerging here. If we look at the Falcons game in 2015, the Falcons realized that Jason Garrett and staff weren’t going to allow Brandon Weeden to throw any balls deep. In the second half the Falcons shortened their defense up closer to the line of scrimmage. Once they did that, it was over. Brandon Weeden never threw a ball further than ten yards and there was no adjustment to what the Falcons were doing.
That brings us to now. A few weeks ago Brice Butler was on FS1, and spoke about how predictable the Dallas Cowboys playcalling was. While a lot of people were surprised by this, no one should have been. Remembering back, there have been more than a few opposing players who have said the same thing over the past few years. Including Troy Aikman, Deion Sanders, and other former Dallas Cowboys as well.
This wouldn’t be a big thing if it was one player and/or one analyst. It is easier to see things when you have time to analyze them on TV or watching film. However, there have been reports that “several” players have also said the same thing (link here for that story). When one person says it, okay, but when there are more than one, there is a problem.
So how does this make this postseason the worst of Jason Garrett’s career? Well, this is only one part of the entire puzzle. One complaint many have is that the Dallas Cowboys coaching staff doesn’t adjust in-game or during the season. Players saying the playcalling is too predictable is just a part of that. However, the adjustments aren’t just relegated to the plays being called.
Looking at the NFC Championship and then the result of the game, one theme prevailed that shows just how far Jason Garrett and his staff is from being considered a good staff.
Both the Vikings and the Eagles were playing with backup quarterbacks. Oh, and the Eagles played well without their star quarterback. Yet, Jason Garrett has been given a pass when his quarterback gets injured, running back gets suspended, offensive line gets banged up, or star defensive players go out. Is that fair?
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The problem is, it appears the other teams adjusted for these losses, and it appears Jason Garrett and his staff didn’t.
Sure, it takes players to execute, but getting the players into position to succeed and playing to the strength of players is on the coaches. Now looking at how the Eagles and Vikings were able to make it to the NFC Championship game, more questions to how good Jason Garrett really is are raised.
I’m not sure what Jerry Jones meant when he said after the Seahawks loss:
"“There’s no qualms, no issues if you’re talking about anyplace else relative to anything to do with the coaching, within certain boundaries, but specifically at the top. We’ve just got to get it done better.”"
Or what he supposedly sees when he says:
"“Just so we’re clear about it, I do understand frustration right after you lose a game that has as much meaningfulness as this ballgame, but I get to look at a lot of different things and have been around a lot of head coaches and coordinators…I feel good about our head coach.”"
It seems everyone sees something Jerry Jones either doesn’t or refuses to see. The problem is Jerry Jones wants to prove he can win his way, and his way includes Jason Garrett at the moment. If the Dallas Cowboys miss the playoffs again next year, or even if they get in and lose their first game, then maybe Jerry will finally do something.
It is going to take a monumental season from Jason Garrett and his staff to overcome the perception over the last 11 years. But, this may be his worst postseason ever, and he and the Dallas Cowboys didn’t even play a game.