Anyone who has read my previous posts know my feelings on the Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett. I will not pretend to be a fan of him as the leader of the Cowboys, but as a true fan of the team I will not jump ship because the owner wants to stick with him. Thanksgiving was an atrocity on so many levels, but the Cowboys are on life support and not dead. This Sunday Night on national television we will find out all we need to know about the future of both Jason Garrett and the 2012 Dallas Cowboys.
My biggest problem with Garrett is not his elementary play calling as a head coach, or the fact that he has to be told by his defensive coordinator to throw the challenge flag on obvious plays. The biggest problem is the fact that the Cowboys have come out of the gate flat and uninspired for four straight games and five out of the last six. The Cowboys have been terrible in the first half of games and have looked lifeless. This problem has a direct correlation to the head coach. Garrett took over for Wade Phillips because of that exact reason. The Cowboys have not responded to Garrett this season and with the playoffs on the line, they have looked feeble in the first half of their games, only to make a drastic comeback in the second half, when pride is on the line.
This weekend the Cowboys get a gift with the woeful and beaten up Philadelphia Eagles coming to town. We will learn all we need to know by the first drive of the game. The Cowboys need to come out of the gate like gangbusters and impose their will early on the Eagles. The Eagles are without their top offensive weapons, QB Michael Vick, WR Desean Jackson and HB Lesean McCoy are all injured and either not expected to play or a game time decision. Earlier this week the Eagles cut one of their premiere pass rushers from the team, Jason Babin. The Cowboys have no excuses for not starting the game with the heart and determination that usually wait until the second half to display.
The way this season ends will be the determining factor for Jason Garrett and his ability to lead the Cowboys to the promise land. His inability to get the team fired up for these last four games has been the biggest black mark on his sub-par coaching career. The Cowboys were given an even bigger gift Thursday night when the Atlanta Falcons beat the New Orleans Saints, keeping the Cowboys alive for a wild card spot in the NFC. The Cowboys are still alive but must win out if they want to be in the discussion for the playoffs in 2012. In order to make a playoff push, the Cowboys must come out of the gate with the heart and desire of a championship caliber football team. The head coach must have his team ready to go from the opening whistle and keep the fire going until the final whistle blows.
The most famous final stand in history is Custard’s Last Stand in the battle of Little Bighorn. This game against Philadelphia begins the final stand for Jason Garrett as the Cowboys head coach. If they come out flat, Garrett can pack his bags and clear out his office at half time as far as I am concerned. The Cowboys can ill afford to falter down the stretch of the season, and they basically have a one game playoff each week until this season comes to a close. For the Cowboys they better hope that Garrett’s last stand fares better than General Custer. On national television Garrett can ill afford to have a lackluster performance at any point in this game. I expect the Cowboys to come out and beat this group of Eagles with even a sloppy performance. The outcome of this game is not what I will be watching, but the substance and the way the Cowboys respond to the Thanksgiving disaster will tell us all we need to know about Garrett and his future as the leader of America’s Team.