The upcoming season will be an important one for Jason Garrett. Many have speculated that if Garrett does not lead the team to the playoffs, he will be fired. This is the misfortune of being the Dallas Cowboy’s head coach.
Every year Jerry Jones expects excellence out of his team; though in recent years, the Cowboys have failed to see much success. We all know Jerry can be quite impatient. There have been eight head coaches of the Cowboys ever since Jerry bought the team in 1989. On average, the Cowboys hire a new coach every three years. Coincidentally, this upcoming season will be Garrett’s third full season and possibly last as the head coach of the Cowboys.
Dec 2, 2012; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett during the third quarter against the Philadelphia Eagles at Cowboys Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
The future does not look bright for Garrett. This offseason was abnormally uneventful for the Cowboys. Fans usually expect numerous free agent signings, but this year Justin Durant Will Allen, and Anthony Hargrove were the only new players that the Cowboys signed. Durant will compete for the Cowboy’s strong outside linebacker position, while Allen and Hargrove will provide depth for their respective position.
The lack of activity in free agency was a result of the limited cap space the Cowboys had to work with. The Cowboys had to restructure many contracts to get under the cap, and as a result the Cowboys could not fill in their holes with FA this year.
Now let’s talk about the draft. There has been mixed reactions to this year’s draft class. I won’t touch on that, but I think we can all agree that the Cowboys came out of the draft with only one new starter. Travis Frederick, our first round pick, will most likely be our starting center for the 2013 season.
If we look at our other picks, they will find their way onto the field but I don’t expect them to have an immediate impact on the team. Gavin Escobar has to sit behind Witten. Terrance Williams will be behind Austin, Bryant, and Harris. J. J. Wilcox can compete to be the starting safety, but he is a rather raw prospect. B.W. Webb will be playing behind Claiborne, Carr, and Scandrick. Joseph Randle has Murray in front of him. Finally, DeVonte Holloman could also compete for a starting linebacker position, but right now I see Durant winning the starting position. Don’t get me wrong, the rookies can still contribute to the team this year, but it’s safe to say that most of them will only play in a limited role.
From the draft and free agency, the Cowboys really only got two new starters to their team. In addition, the whole defense might take a step back since we are going back to a 4-3 defensive scheme. The Cowboys have a lot of players who has never played in a 4-3 scheme at the professional level. As a result they may struggle from the scheme change, though it is impossible to predict who will and who won’t.
The bottom-line is that every team in the NFL is trying to improve during the offseason. When comparing the rosters of other teams, the Cowboys have barely improved from last season.
This isn’t necessarily Garrett’s fault, but it’s the unfortunate situation that he is stuck with. Any owner would lower their expectation in this situation. However, it is doubtful that Jerry will do so. As stated earlier, Jerry always expects excellence. If Garrett cannot provide it this season, he may be heading to the unemployment line next season.
I’ve been fairly negative for most of this article, so let’s look on the bright side. Last year, the Cowboys were often trailing in the fourth quarter. They would be down by a touchdown or two, but I never saw them give up hope. I credit this to Garrett. He motivated the team to step up when they needed to and get the win. You can’t measure a team’s determination to win, but if you could I believe the Cowboy’s determination last year would’ve been near the top.
For the 2013 season, Garrett will need to bring this motivation again if he wants to keep his job. The odds are against Garrett, but he has shown that he has the ability to beat the odds. Will he do so? Only time will tell.