Don: If we do not make the playoffs this year, fire head coach Jason Garrett. No excuses, no laundry list of scenarios where if only x or y happened, they would have made it. Fire him, period. It will have been four years.
Meredith: No, no, no, no. I fundamentally disagree and think you are wrong on this one. That wouldn’t even make any sense. He has just gotten to a place where his coaching staff is set and this is really the first year where owner Jerry Jones is not playing a role in the football side of the team. Plus, you said yourself last week, there is finally a sense of stability in the organization. Won’t that throw everything off?
Don: Former Cowboys head coach (and master of the punchline) Bill Parcells had a great definition of what the NFL stands for – “Not For Long.” You either produce results, or you are going to be gone, fast. It’s time.
Yes, he absolutely did a good job re-establishing a professional approach and process to the football operations, which cleared out the rot, building a real foundation for the roster and moving us away from being a day-to-day circus (now still a circus, but not as often ). But, executive vice president Stephen Jones and more recently assistant director of player personnel Will McClay have had just as important a role as Garrett in the roster development and the framework is set for them to carry on that work. We now need a game coach. Whether it was:
- The Tashard Choice debacle in Washington;
- Wasting 18 seconds, for NO reason, forcing him to freeze his own kicker in Arizona;
- Not making the obvious choice to run the ball with a lead against Green Bay (happened many other times);
- Being too passive and running the ball when we should be attacking, giving Tom Brady the ball back with time to beat us; or
- Botched clock management in Baltimore in 2012 and in the crushing Giants loss at home in 2011.
I’ll stop listing glaring errors, as he has proven – on more occasions than my agita can handle re-living – that he isn’t a good in-game coach. It’s been a consistent stream of fumbles.
Meredith: Look, to be clear, I am not saying the man is without faults. Game management is at the top of that list and my heart has been broken by poor play-calling way too many times. But there are bright spots I can point to in his development of players – a real measurement of a coaching staff – over the past several years.
Look at the late round or undrafted players he has cultivated: Tony Romo, Orlando Scandrick, Cole Beasley, Dwayne Harris, Barry Church, Ronald Leary, and Miles Austin (when healthy). And hopefully we will be adding my boyfriend L’Damian Washington to the list!
DeMarco Murray wasn’t thought of highly and he is now a pro bowler. And maybe most impressive, he took a talented but troubled Dez Bryant, a top five talent that 22 teams passed on, and turned him into a force on the field, but maybe more importantly, a team leader.
Our colleague Patrik Wall wrote about this topic a few weeks ago and he seemed to land on the side of ‘if Garrett shows some sort of progress, he will stay’ – aka in your camp. What I though was most interesting though was that when he asked readers how they feel about his future, 53 percent of respondents said they think his future is secure regardless of the outcome of the 2014 season. Now, I don’t think it is a case of ‘no matter what happens he will keep his job’ here, but if there is some sort of upward trajectory, I think that leads to a different conversation at the end of the year.
Besides, here is what I think causes so much confusion amongst us all: we have no idea what Jerry will do. Aside for his continued inability to stay away from a microphone no matter how hard he tries, he has become capricious in his behavioral patterns.