Nov 3, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett cheers a touchdown by his team in the first quarter of the game against the Minnesota Vikings at AT

Will Allen Flap More Evidence Garrett Is Cowboys Rightful Heir To Landry

By all accounts former Cowboys safety Will Allen is a stand-up guy, but his criticism of Valley Ranch leadership on Sirius radio this week suggests he’s still a bit raw about his Week 3 benching and subsequent release. Apparently even classy vets aren’t above the occasional low blow.


Sep 8, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA; New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz (80) points to Dallas Cowboys strong safety Will Allen (26) after scoring a touchdown in the third quarter at AT

Allen took a not-so-veiled swipe at Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett on Tuesday, saying the team has great players and great coaches who can’t be their best because of a “micromanaged” culture that is “not fun for anybody.”

Sour grapes? That’s probably part of it. No 10-year veteran wants to get benched in Week 3 for a small-school rookie with barely a year of experience playing the position. Turns out JJ Wilcox was born to play safety. It’s no one’s fault, really, but Allen’s public reaction to the benching was telling:

“Hey, man, I just work here,” Allen said back on September 19. “That’s all I can say.”


Compare that to Garrett’s comments, when pushed during his Wednesday presser for a reaction to Allen’s public jabs:

“No real comment beyond just a great deal of respect for him. Had a chance to be around him in Tampa, and we were really fortunate to have him here… It doesn’t surprise me one bit he’s back in Pittsburgh and doing good things. He’s a good football player, and he’s a good guy.”

That’s real class.

Ever wonder what Tom Landry might have been like in this media age of constant, crushing, 24-hour coverage? Now you have some idea. The comparison may be impossible to quantify due to era, and absurdly premature, but it has merit.

Landry took over the expansion Dallas Cowboys in 1960 and missed the playoffs his first six seasons. He followed that early adversity with a professional sports record 20 straight winning seasons. It was an unmatched coaching career that could never have got off the ground in the ESPN era of sporting news. “Hot Seat” noise from the chattering class would have had Landry canned by ’63 and back coordinatating for the New York Giants.


Garrett is barely three seasons into his head coaching career, and like early Landry the win-loss record is lacking, but the brilliance has been apparent. His culture clean-up following the Wade Phillips grease fire in 2010 was masterful. His stewardship of the franchise amid last year’s playoff run through the Jerry Brown drunk driving death was inspired. His role in molding Dez Bryant from an erratic youth, and something of a franchise gamble, into a man, and consequently an NFL superstar, has been remarkable.

The early hallmarks for greatness are there: Culture, focus, and player development. A coach with this kind of impact on an organization will win, given time. But some have seized on Allen’s remarks as proof of Garrett’s inadequacy.

Brad Gagnon over at Bleacher Report supports the Jerry Jones puppet master theory, asserting Garrett couldn’t get another job in the league and that Jerry keeps him around because he “resists ruffling feathers within a fractured organization.”

This site’s editor takes Allen’s side, citing the scorned safety’s remarks as “yet another reason the Cowboys need a more experienced head coach at the helm.”

They’re awfully popular sentiments – who really knows? Maybe they’re right. But Garrett’s players don’t think so.

Dez Bryant: “(Garrett) always stays on me because he believes in me. I can’t thank him for it enough… I know with me, I pay attention to him, I listen to him, I love him. He’s one of the best coaches I’ve ever been around.”

Jason Hatcher: “You know at the end of the day he cares about you individually, and he understands the game. He’s a great coach.”

Tony Romo: “He’s got a great mind for football. He’s a great motivator. He understands human dynamics, and I think he’s a fantastic coach, so we’re lucky to have him.”

Tom Cowlishaw over at the Dallas Morning News believes Garrett’s job is safe for now because “Jerry doesn’t like change… He has convinced himself that Jason Garrett is Tom Landry reborn.”

Garrett channeled his inner Landry this week with a classy response to a former player’s very public criticism. Time for Jerry to channel his inner Clint Murchison and hang on to the guy everyone wants to see sacrificed at the alter of 8-8.

Patience, Jerry. The harder it gets, the sweeter it’s gonna be when this thing pays off…

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  • disqus_kLJwdEdnOL

    Tom Cowlishaw said Jerry Jones doesn’t like change? I would like to hear that directly from him. One of the problems with the Cowboys has been constant change. We live in a world of instant gratification and apparently Jones has been caught up in that. I have been a Cowboy fan since 1962 and I recall fans wanting owner Murchison to replace Landry before they started winning. However, Murchison was old school and apparently believed in consistency. He obviously knew that replacing a knowledgeable coach like Landry would not be good for the team and this article tells the rest of the story.

  • SmartThinking

    In my opinion, Garrett’s top problem is he tries to be friends with … no, pals with his players. The attitude I’ve observed around the clubhouse is one of casual nonchalance. No one’s in a hurry because no one applies any pressure to anyone.

    I wonder if you’d have seen this type of activity in one of Ditka’s locker rooms? In today’s game, does anyone think Sean Payton accepts anything less than full bore, hard core commitment from his players whether they like it or not?

    Jones doesn’t push Garrett and Garrett certainly doesn’t push back. I think this is because Jones doesn’t want another Jimmy Johnson or Bill Parcells questioning his authority and taking away the credit he thinks he deserves. A Johnson or Parcells isn’t afraid of the control someone like Jones wields over and around them. They can get another job anywhere, any time.

    Guys like Garrett have, in one way, struck a deal with the devil. They’ve signed away their individuality and placed themselves in a position of need to a man who’s, for all intents and purposes, bought their souls for the price of a head coaching job and a closed mouth.

  • Jd

    During this week I’ve been struggling with specific issues surrounding this team. Like giving Kiffin somewhat of a break because of the amount of injuries he has had to deal with. Or is it just as simple as an aging, once very good defensive coordinator, who has lost touch with today’s game & the type of players needed to be in his scheme? And should he be another scapegoat for a Dallas defense who can’t stop a flag football team? Or can he truly make it work given the proper personal?

    And for Callahan, with an offense loaded with weapons and seriously underachieving since the Denver game… Sunday will be a tell tale sign if Callahan can truly lead this offense. Romo will have his full compliment of weapons, Austin is apparently 100%, I’ll believe it when he plays a full game without any hiccups & Murray, who actually played pretty well during the Saints game before the onslaught began. Which should mean, Callahan has no excuses for not being able to have a game plan that has numerous receivers open all day. & yes, the Giants defense has played well the past month. Getting a better pass rush & doing a better job of covering receivers and not giving up a lot of big plays. But with saying that, they haven’t played the best competition either. And the Giants do have issues getting a consistent pass rush & they do have problems in their secondary and while some will give them credit for being able to keep AP, McCoy & Lacey in check, when you’re playing 3 3rd string qb’s, it’s kind of easy to stack 7 in the box & dare Freeman, who was once the franchise qb of Tampa, then released and has been inactive since that Giants game, Barkley, who’s a practice squad qb at best & Tolzien who was a practice squad qb. This game, the Giants shouldn’t be able to do that. So this is Callahan’s, well, audition to keep his job. No excuses for not being able to move the ball on this team. The Giants have no one who can cover Witten 1 on 1, Beasley is the best rout runner on this team and the Giants, again, have no who can cover him 1 on 1. And that leaves Dez, Austin and Williams. It’s a simple equation of pick your poison. If you double 1, the other 2 will be open. And if you drop 7 back in coverage, Murray should be able to eat up good chunks of yards & the underneath pass will be there all day.
    But if we see the same, boring, unbalanced, the defense knows it’s coming formations, other than missed throws, picks & drops, Callahan just doesn’t have the creativity or innovation for this offense.

    And finally, Garrett. I’m looking to see how he handles a late close game situation. A crucial challenge, a must call timeout when confusion arises, and how he is able to rally his players if adversity sets in in a big moment. I need to see some growth in Garrett. I need to see him not make the same mistakes he made in his first season, which he continued to make this.
    But the conflicting situation I’m going through is, I believe this team needs stability. Obviously 3 straight 8-8 seasons, with 2 straight late season collapses to miss the playoffs, and a third in a row staring us directly in the face, is unacceptable.
    I also don’t believe anything Jerry says pertaining job security for anyone, we’ve seen that Rodeo before.

    So, if Garrett is the right guy for the job, this season may not be the best judge if he or isn’t. Garrett has 6 games to prove to us that he is the right guy to lead this team. Is just getting into the playoffs with a 500 record a great showing, especially in a division that is bad, no. But improving on the mistakes that he has made & at least getting his team ready to play every week would go a long way showing that maybe he can be the guy.
    But repeat performances like the Detroit game & even the Minnesota game, although a win., Is definitely a sign of showing no improvement.

    Ijhonestly believe Garretts coaching career begins Sunday against the Giants. Show us Cowboy fans that you used the bye week properly & have this team focused on the task at hand, beating the Giants, quieting the critics of howwwe lose every single one of these games since he’s been here and most important, when the Giants slap Dallas in the mouth, and trust me, they will early in this game. Your team answers the bell and slaps back.

  • ed

    Afraid of change. The hallmark of the “successful” franchises; Steelers, Giants, Patriots, (Landry Cowboys) is fidelity to the coaches by ownership. I believe that, in Red Ball, Jones has a coach worthy of that long term faith and patience. To other Cowboy fans: I feel your pain but I want us all to look past the end of our noses.