Cowboys Coach Garrett Stays… Because???

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Dec 29, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett on the sidelines against the Philadelphia Eagles at AT


The surface view is the constant 8-8.  What I am more interested in is the important aspects of that continual mediocrity.  In the three and a half years under Garrett, Dallas has gotten worse every year when it comes to beating good teams.  When facing a team that was over .500 at the time of the game, Dallas was 3-2 in 2010, 3-3 in 2011, 2-5 in 2012 and 0-5 in 2013.  That’s regression, not progression.  The defense has trended the same way under Garrett’s presence, going from being ranked 16th in points allowed and 14th in yards allowed in 2011 to 24th and 19th in 2012 and 26th and 32nd in 2013.

Regression not progression.

And if you want to tell me that he’s not responsible for the defense and he’s an “offensive-minded” coach then I will say that he’s no longer a coordinator, he’s a head coach.  It’s his responsibility to oversee the entire team and if you don’t understand that, then how about this.  His offensive approach and philosophy of being overly pass happy and reluctant to run the football puts the defense in positions it should not be in.  See Detroit in 2011 or Green Bay from Week 15 this year.

Then there is the topic of close games.  In games decided by four points or less under Garrett, the Cowboys are 13-14.  If it was not for a record of 7-2 in those games against below .500 teams, that would look far, far worse.  One.  Why do you have nine games that need to be that close against bad teams?  Two.  The Cowboys have never had a season under Garrett where they won more close games than they lost against .500 or better teams including going 0-5 this year.  Where is the hope that even if they made the playoffs, they would win a game?… you know because playoff teams generally tend to be over .500.

The last part of the record I would like to explore is point differential.  Again, in regards to the games against .500 teams, the numbers continually trend downward.  From 2010 (+5.0 points) to 2011 (+2.83 points) to 2012 (-5 points) to 2013 (-7.8 points) the chasm in production against the top teams continues to get wider.

Regression not progression.


I know that Jerry is the GM and the drafts and free agent signings largely fall in his court but please do not be naive enough to think that Garrett does not have a say in this field.  His hands are blood soaked as well.  Since the 2011 draft, the Cowboys have had 23 draft picks.  Of those picks, only five would I grade as a successful pick given the round, draft slot and other available options at the time of the pick.  Three of those came in 2011 when Dallas selected Tyron Smith with the ninth pick in round 1, DeMarco Murray in the middle of round 3 and Dwayne Harris in round six.  The other two came this year with Travis Frederick late in round one and Terrance Williams early in round three.

As if hitting on only 22% of your choices was not bad enough, the misses exacerbate that deficiency.  The three most glaring hurt every time I think about it.  In the 2011 draft, round five saw Dallas select defensive back Josh Thomas.  Thomas never played for the Cowboys and in three years with Carolina, has one interception.  Eleven picks later, Seattle selected a defensive back as well by the name of Richard Sherman.  Sherman has 20 interceptions in that same time span, including leading the league this year.  He’s a Pro-Bowler and an All-Pro.  Strike one.

The next year’s draft had Dallas move up, trading away a second round pick to move up eight spots in order to draft another defensive back in Morris Claiborne.  Claiborne has missed seven games in two years and has been mostly unproductive in the games in which he has played, even losing his starting job already midway through his second year.  Three picks later, Carolina chose linebacker Luke Kuechly.  Kuechly was named to the Pro-Bowl this year, was the fourth leading tackler in the league and will likely be at minimum an All-Pro and possibly the Defensive Player of the Year.  Strike two.

In the same draft, the Cowboys wasted back to back mid round picks on Matt Johnson (round 4) and Danny Coale (round 5) who have never played a game due to their constant injury status.  In the beginning of round six, our divisional rival Washington Redskins selected running back Alfred Morris.  Morris has almost 3,000 yards rushing and 20 touchdowns in two years… and he plays for a team we have to see twice a year.  Strike three.

In three drafts under Garrett, Dallas has obtained three starters and two role players.  Do you think that has something to do with the constant culture of mediocrity?

Ultimately, it all does not matter because 2014 will feature Jason Garrett on the sideline as the leader of the mediocre Cowboys.  Looking at next year’s schedule, Dallas has eight games against teams that finished .500 or better this year and another four against teams who finished 7-9 including the Rams who will be better and the Giants twice.  It is certainly not out of the question to forecast another 8-8 at best season next year.  At least then, maybe… just maybe we can shop for a new coach at that time.

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Tags: Dallas Cowboys DeMarco Murray Dwayne Harris Jason Garrett Jerry Jones Morris Claiborne Terrance Williams Travis Frederick Tyron Smith

  • Jeff

    Beautifully written! I also appreciate the statistics you put up for black and white evidence of regression. I grow tired of blinded fans who claim their love for Garret or Romo or whomever it is, to say that the Cowboys have improved at QB, at HC, ….8-8 is not improving, its not getting to the next level, and its definitely no worth bragging about especially after 3 years of the same final result, 8-8. BRILLIANT written piece.

    • Jeff Murrell

      I would have to agree completely!!

  • Realistfan

    Winning and losing in the NFL is too complex to make it simpley about better teams and lesser teams. Who says who is better? using a team’s winning percentage to state better/worse is like the BCS calculations – it is something. yet flawed.
    Drafting success/failure? I’ll take what Red has drafted over Phillips and Parcells drafts, easily Give him year four and you’ll get more. This team has a strong core of good players. Salary cap hell has kpet them fromk adding through free agency as completely as one might – one reason we have some many undrafted FAs playing.
    Romo and now Romo/Garret have lacked two things for better success over the years: 1. a Decent O-Line, and a good defense. Not one year of Romo’s tenure have both been present. The O-Line is on its way to being fixed – see next year. The Defense now has to get rebuilt. The draft, by Red and the gang, will do that.

    • ctcowboy1968

      The drafts have been terrible for many years under JG and prior. Do I need to remind anyone of the 2009 12 player draft that did not have ONE player end up anywhere in the NFL? Worst draft EVER! Granted that was before JG. Escobar? Come on. Not an impact player. Could have had Larry Warford to start at RG and been set on the OL for years to come.
      Drafting is about talent, need and risk. Don’t draft players with injury history. History is an indicator of the future. Mimimize risk.

  • Old Frog

    Garrett’s in a tough spot. JJ won’t let him trade Witten, Ware, Romo, and Bryant for draft picks now, so this is probably Garrett’s last year and the next coach will get the luxury of being able to clean house. Hope I’m wrong but then I’m blinded by my love for Garrett…

    • ctcowboy1968

      Why the hell would you trade Bryant? Hands down one of the best WRs in the league now and will be for many years to come.

  • disqus_kLJwdEdnOL

    The majority of the problems stated conclude the major problem is general management. Thanks for writing about the deficiencies. I just wish he had been more direct about who is responsible for these problems rather than putting most of the blame on the head coach. Apparently the writer doesn’t understand the limitations of a “yes man” like Garrett or he would have directed his article to the real cause of the Cowboy’s mediocrity. A new coach will also make on the field mistakes but no new coach will change the culture of the team as long as meddling Jerry Jones is mismanaging it.

  • terell28

    Great article could not have been put any better. Agree with you to the fullest.

  • John

    Is this team underachieving, based on the roster? Did they have talent to win the East and make a little run? If so, tip your cap to GM Jerry for doing his job and putting the talent on the field…

  • ctcowboy1968

    JG is the worst coach in Cowboys history. Hands down. He personally has prevented the Cowboys from going to the playoffs the past three years. Here’s a list of Garrett blown games: 2013 – Detroit and Green Bay (two games he should have been running the clock out, but continued to pass), 2012 – Baltimore (stopped progressing the ball though he had a 1st down and left his kicker with a 50+ yard field goal), 2011 – Arizonia (iced his own kicker) and Detroit (again, continues to pass the ball allowing the Lions to get back into the game and win).

    Out coached every week. Clock mismanagement over and over. Never takes responsiblity for anything. Can’t make game adjustments. No offensive balance yet he preaches it. No emotion. Same empty “process” and “get better” speeches. His is an idiot. Anyone with a brain could do a better job.

    To think that when JG was hired to be HC, John Harbaugh was available. John makes his players perform and be accountable. Has won a SB. Intelligent coach. Fired up which is infectious to his players.

    • Jeff

      Garrett didn’t blow the GB game. Romo did. One call in particular was a run play. Romo changed it to a pass and got stuffed. Result: turnover. Garret and Romo both acknowledged the play was a run call, and Romo admitted to it. People need to quit blaming Garrett for everything. Hes not all the problem.

      • ctcowboy1968

        That was one glaringly bad play. But overall the team should have been running the ball on every play in second half. Using up the clock so that GB would not enough time for a come back.

        • Jeff

          That I wholeheartedly agree with. I dont think I screamed at my tv as much as I did that day.

      • ctcowboy1968

        The two biggest problems with this team are JJ and JG.

    • Joe

      Are you really copying and pasting your replies from other articles? I feel your pain, tho..

      • ctcowboy1968

        Yeah,you caught me on that one. First time offense.

  • Joe

    Great article. I can’t believe most of the garbage I’m reading after this huge drawnout letdown of a season, but this is the most rational and well thought out understanding of the circumstances we find ourselves in.

  • Juanito Juanito

    Same gm, same record for the next seasonsssssss

  • jarrett p

    You are on the money injuries are no excuse if u draft good players u have good back ups.not bw webbs.then he goes out and pays brandon carr tons of money to get out played by scandric that’s why we have cap problems.