Have We Forgotten Who Jason Garrett Is?


Many hailed the Dallas Cowboys’ 2012 free agency as a success and evidence of the kind of team Jason Garrett is trying to build. Guys like Mackenzy Bernadeau and Nate Livings in particular aren’t guaranteed starting spots. Rather, they’re expected to compete for these starting positions.

Why, that has most of the Dallas Cowboys fan base, at least what is visible on the internet, praising Jason Garrett for his “vision.” Even Rick Gosselin praised these moves, and of course couched it in a bizarre Garrett versus Jerry manner. So, now, Jason Garrett is a hero again, despite his befuddling coaching decisions in 2011.

This reminds me of the 2011 training camp down in San Antonio. Jason Garrett got a pass from the DFW mediots, whereas the guy with the mustache and the turkey neck called Wade Phillips’ inaugural training camp “Camp Cupcake” before even a coin was flipped in preseason. Everything Garrett did was spectacular and showed his imprints on the team. The roster cuts were proof Garrett was great. Jason Garrett was going to make the Cowboys tougher. It was going to be a new era for America’s Team. Hell, Garrett sitting in the pantomimed “driver’s seat” at the opening press conference was enough to make some genuflect before even the first training camp whistle had been blown.

Have you all forgotten what Jason Garrett the coach on the sidelines is capable of?

Let’s start with Detroit. Yes, Romo is a moron and should bear the blame for that game. But why was Garrett calling pass plays when we were up 24 points? Why wasn’t he trying to kill the clock, even if it was the third quarter? He should have been playing ball control, not balls to the wall.

Then we’ve got the catastrophic Cardinals game where he failed to call his second timeout after Romo got us the first down. I don’t even count the whole “icing your own kicker” thing because he called that at the behest of Joe DeCamillis. But why wouldn’t you try to get your kicker closer or go for a touchdown with the offense we have? Why would you settle for a 50-yard field goal when you could have had so much more?

This one is for the pro-Garrett/anti-Jerry niche out there like Rick Gosselin. What does it say about your genius coach when the schmuck general manager that you’ve bashed for sixteen years has more football sense to call a timeout when the Giants are inside the red zone threatening to score, as they were in Week 14, with less than a minute remaining? What does that say about Garrett’s on the field skills when Jerry Jones up in the box knows when to call timeout?

In the midst of all these free agency moves, don’t forget that’s the other side of Jason Garrett.

Frankly, I think it’s all part of the process. Plus, great coaches still make stupid decisions from time to time. Enter Tom Landry’s bizarre personnel package on the Cowboys’ last possession of the ’66 Championship game. What about Bill Belichick deciding to go for it in his own territory in the last minute against the Colts in 2009? Consider Sean Payton’s fourth down decisions against the Packers on Opening Night last year.

While this has been a rather trenchant piece about our current head coach, I’m willing to let Jason Garrett stay as long as it takes because A) good things take time and B) I’m sick of seeing new coaches sit in Tom Landry’s seat every three to four years. Jerry Jones is more than likely willing to let Garrett get the hang of it, and so am I. The thing is you have to realize the Garrett you’re praising now will turn into the Garrett you’ll curse come Week 9 of the regular season.

Garrett is penitent about his mistakes, so that gives me some hope. It would give me more hope if he would change.