The concern for many fans of the Dallas Cowboys is that the team rebounds and begins to win again under the watchful eye of Jason Garrett. This would affect the team in two ways: first, the Cowboys would have a later draft pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, and secondly, Garrett may do so well that he is offered the permanent head coach position.
Garrett’s involvement in the team has been at the forefront of the Cowboys problems. Not during this season, but in past seasons when the Cowboys were able to run the ball, Garrett was blind to the need for balance and called pass play after pass play. Additionally, his scheme has been called predictable by Mike Nolan and Ray Lewis. In a game where subterfuge is paramount, Garrett does not have the guile or poker face needed to call plays.
So, how many wins does it take for Garrett to keep the title of Head Coach of the Dallas Cowboys? Garrett is already paid at the level of an NFL head coach (3.5 million dollars per year), and his contract expires at the end of this season. There is no monetary reason for Jerry Jones to keep Garrett over other candidates, unless those candidates expect an incredulous amount (say $10 million per year). The remaining games are against the NY Giants, Detroit Lions, New Orleans Saints, Indianapolis Colts, Philadelphia Eagles (2 games), Washington Redskins, and Arizona Cardinals.
The exact reason Wade Phillips was fired, EXPECTATIONS, actually benefits Garrett. Phillips coached a team that was expected to contend for the Super Bowl. 9 weeks later, Garrett coaches a team that is expected to finish 3 and 13, at best. So, what is the magic number? Two will not be enough, though with the level of play demonstrated by the offense/defense/special teams against the Jaguars and Packers two would be a miracle.
What about a split at 4-4? This would give Jones more of a reason to consider Garrett, but 4-4 does not erase the questionable calls in the past, and 4-4 does not eliminate the outcry by fans for a legitimate head coaching candidate. At 4-4, John Gruden, Bill Cowher, and John Fox are still in play.
I believe it will take at least six wins for Garrett to win the job. There are some really good teams, some teams facing a Super Bowl hangover, and some really bad teams. Wins against the Lions, Redskins, and Cardinals only prove that Garrett is able to motivate the team to win against teams that are inferior. Garrett will have to lead the Cowboys to wins against superior talent and teams that are playing well. Save for the Giants and Eagles, does that really define the Colts or Saints? The Colts are a team mired in injury; without Peyton Manning, this team would be in contention for the top pick in the draft along with Dallas and Buffalo. The Saints are hungover from their Super Bowl run; their offense has looked inconsistent and their running game has been less than stellar (as evidenced by the fact that Julius Jones is getting carries).
So this is the task before Garrett. First he needs to make the players care again (good luck with that). Secondly he needs to beat the teams that were marked gimmie wins at the beginning of the season. Thirdly, he needs to scheme victories against 2nd tier teams like the Colts and Saints. Finally, he needs to find one win against the Giants and Eagles. I don’t think a one week turnaround will be enough for this Cowboys team to respond to Garrett, so we can mark this week against the Giants as a loss. So, he needs to find one win against the Eagles.
I don’t expect six wins by the Cowboys… but Garrett has an opportunity to earn one of the most prestigious positions in all of sports. Regardless of how difficult the task and how long the odds, it is a position that should be envied.
Tags: Arizona Cardinals Bill Cowher Dallas Cowboys Detroit Lions Green Bay Packers Indianapolis Colts Jacksonville Jaguars Jason Garrett John Fox John Gruden Mike Nolan New Orleans Saints NY Giants Philadelphia Eagles Ray Lewis Wade Phillips Washington Redskins