…just don’t throw the baby out with the bath water.
It’s time to face reality. The Dallas Cowboys, as currently assembled and coached, kinda suck. Not all the time, but for long portions of every game.
Many of you will want to blame Tony Romo, because he threw 2 more interceptions against the Washington Redskins to add to his league leading 15. That’s too simple.
If you followed Romo’s career, he doesn’t throw any more INT’s than Eli Manning or Philip Rivers or even former Cowboys QB, Troy Aikman. The timing of his picks can suck sometimes, but he still has one of the best career QB ratings, especially in the 4th quarter. How can he be the Cowboy’s problem? Him, or any other particular player?
Many of you want to blame Jason Garrett, what with his predictable, conservative play calling and all. I buy into that, a little, myself, even saying so in many articles I’ve written. That’s also too simple.
Is it Jerry Jones fault? Well, of course it is. When the owner and GM are one in the same, the buck stops there. In Jerry’s defense, he was pandering to you and I a little bit with a few of his choices, so we have some blame here as well. He also could not have predicted this lack of cohesiveness, or more accurately, the disintegration of cohesiveness.
The truth is, who’s fault it is no longer matters. What matters is to recognize that we can’t continue business as usual. Changes must be made now, or later if you don’t mind suffering.
I’m not even sure it’s a culture issue. Even though Jerry Jones thought, by elevating Jason Garrett – a remnant from the glory days – the triplets – the Super Bowls – to Cowboys head coach, that the culture would change. Jason Garrett has not been able to change it. The only difference between Garrett and former HC, Wade Phillips, it seems, is that these Cowboys haven’t quit on Garrett. (That’s something)
No, this team is like a puzzle with some pieces shaped the same. You can’t tell you put the pieces together wrong until you finish the puzzle and see that the picture doesn’t look right. How do you fix that?
I could continue with the puzzle theme now, but I get confused when I use a metaphor for too long. Suffice it to say, I only see a couple of ways out here.
One of the theories I’ve had since the Cowboys started faltering was that Jerry Jones hired a head coach with no head coaching experience at any level. He hired/elevated him because he had always seen Jason Garrett as his Tom Landry, though, with no experience, had some mild success as the Cowboys offensive coordinator. The hope was, I think, that Jason Garrett could restore the team culture to the same as it was in the 90′s dynasty. Now, in a vacuum, Jerry’s idea was sound. But, not in a vacuum, there was a problem and a gamble.
The problem was that this zero experience head coach was taking over, on offense anyway, a veteran team. This, again, in my opinion, wasn’t a big problem for Jerry (or Cowboys Nation for that matter) because Garrett had been running the Cowboy’s offense for a couple years and the star players were familiar with his system. The thing is, the whole ‘no experience’ thing has affected the team.
The gamble was in elevating Jason Garrett so soon to be the head coach. Was he ready? Remember, this is not the Jacksonville Jaguars (no offense), this is America’s Team – the most popular team in the NFL, and the most disliked (envied, if we’re honest). It was one thing to put a football guy with no NFL head coaching experience in charge of a new, fledgling Dallas Cowboys franchise like original owner, Clint Murchison Jr, did with Tom Landry. It’s another to put one in charge of a Dallas Cowboys that – with a piece or two – is seemingly poised for a playoff run. The fan base can put up with the head coach’s learning curve, and the losing, as long as they know the team is intent on building something for the future. Not so much if the future is now.
Jerry had to know that elevating Jason Garrett was risky. Jerry also had to worry that if he didn’t elevate Jason Garrett, he also risked losing him to another team. Potentially losing his Tom Landry. The crossroads of the risk, of losing Garrett or elevating him too soon, is Garrett failing because he was given the job before he was ready. You can see, in this scenario, why this situation is, ultimately, Jerry’s fault. Regardless, we have reached that crossroads.