Cowboys Conversation: A Debate on Jason Garrett’s Future

2 of 3

Jan 20, 2014; Mobile, AL, USA; Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones with head coach Jason Garrett seen in the stands of the North squad practice at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Don: The smoke signals seem to indicate his job is safe, but that doesn’t mean it should be. Jerry views Garrett as his pet creation, so he is overly invested in his success, especially now that Jerry has stepped back from football operations. Having Garrett succeed would allow Jerry to claim he really was a genius by stepping away from the football side and letting his guy, who so many questioned, lead the successful remaking of the team. One problem: how long are we going to have to wait? When will Jerry, and more importantly, you, finally say enough? 

Meredith: That is quite possibly my fatal flaw – giving people too many chances. But, I want a playoff appearance and some wins in January as much as the next guy, so who knows how I will feel in late November, aka the time that we usually start to collapse.

Don: The positive developments you point to are real and important. But I’ll use another Parcells-ism, in the end, “you are what your record says you are.” Garrett is not a coach that can get you to the playoffs. There are a million variables that impact a season, and many people cherry pick some and use them to justify why it’s not Garrett’s fault – and it’s not all his fault – but at some point you have to take the full record, knowing variables even out over time, and look at the net result produced by the leader. And the net result here – if we don’t make it this year — is he didn’t deliver over the course of four seasons. That is what the record says.

Meredith: But, let’s pause for a moment and take a look at some of the big picture reasons – not small “what ifs” – why we didn’t make the playoffs. I don’t want to make excuses, but from an organizational standpoint, he was handed a terrible situation and he has had to make structural changes to right the ship and move in a forward direction:

  • Average age: Overall last year Dallas had one of the youngest average age for a 53-man roster in the league. But, that didn’t happen overnight – it took careful decisions each year: having the courage to let go of more established , veteran players, finding the right people in each spot, not necessarily taking into account their age as the only factor as to whether they would be successful, and finding the right mix of veterans and newcomers. I’d argue the youth movement he has led have had a great impact, particularly on the offensive line.
  • Jerry, Jerry, Jerry: Walking into this job – especially knowing that Jerry’s reputation is one where he doesn’t like head coaches that are strong or handle personnel issues because he thinks he can do a better job of it himself — is a daunting proposition for anyone. Aside from your mancrush Big Tuna Parcells, coaches since Jimmy Johnson have floundered under Jerry’s thumb. I think Garrett has found a sweet spot in there. He has been able to slowly, but surely, rebuild the management system to a point where it just doesn’t seem like Jerry is involved in everything as much as he used to be. How much you want to value that is up to you, but I think it is a pretty major coup.

Again, not making excuses, but he cleaned it up, and I would argue our ship is less a sailboat, having to tack left and right in order to make headway, and more in the mold of a freighter making slow, but positive progress each day.

The conversation continues on the next page…