Keeping Jason Garrett makes sense for the Cowboys

Jan 3, 2016; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett reacts on the sidelines during the game against the Washington Redskins at AT&T Stadium. Washington won 34-23. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 3, 2016; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett reacts on the sidelines during the game against the Washington Redskins at AT&T Stadium. Washington won 34-23. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports /

Despite a bad season in 2015 and an overall lack of major success, keeping head coach Jason Garrett is the correct thing for the Dallas Cowboys to do.

Whenever a team has a bad year, there is always speculation and innuendo that the coach of that team could be in danger of losing his job.

In the span of a week, six head coaches have been relieved of their duties and another resigned, basically because he was going to be fired if he chose otherwise.  Once all the vacancies are filled, over half the league will have a team coached by someone who has been with that team for less than two years.

On the flip side, there are just six coaches that have been with their organizations longer than five full seasons.  Those six coaches have the following total accolades:

  • Eight Super Bowl trophies
  • Eleven Conference championships
  • Thirty-two divisional titles
  • Forty-five playoff appearances

Somewhere in the middle of all that is Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett.

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Garrett did not become the full-time head coach of the Cowboys until 2011, tying him in tenure with Carolina Panthers head coach Ron Rivera‘s the eighth longest tenured coach in the league.

While Garrett has not been able to boast such an impressive resume like those who have been around longer than him, he has also had to deal with a much more difficult environment in which to be successful.

It is for that reason alone that it is boggling to me when you have high-profile National media types suggesting he should be fired.  Not to mention, those passionate about this team who question his existence as the head man here.

If you find yourself in the camp of wanting to replace Garrett, it’s probably going to be futile to reason with you, but afford me the opportunity.

Let’s start with the main thing that is tied to a coach’s success…  The quarterback position.

Of those six coaches referenced above, here is how many games they have had to coach without their starting quarterback at the helm:

Sean Payton – 2 games out of a possible 160 or 1.3%
John Harbaugh – 6 games out of a possible 128 or 4.7%
Mike McCarthy – 7 games out of a possible 128 or 5.5%
Bill Belichick – 16 games out of a possible 240 or 6.7%
Marvin Lewis – 17 games out of a possible 192 or 8.9%
Mike Tomlin – 15 games out of a possible 144 or 10.4%

Garrett, meanwhile has had to coach 14 games since 2011 without the services of Tony Romo.  That’s equates to 17.5% of his games.  If you want to throw in the eight other games Romo missed while Garrett finished 2010 as the interim head coach, that percentage jumps to 25%.

To have established an overall winning record as a coach playing a quarter of your career games without your starting quarterback is pretty impressive if you ask me.

Next, let’s look at coordinators, specifically defensive coordinators.

Since Garrett took over in November of 2010, the Cowboys have had two different offensive coordinators and four different defensive coordinators.  None of the six left because they took a head coaching job of their own.

That, in of itself, is a lot of turnover within the ranks of those who are supposed to be the guys conveying your philosophy and vision for direction of the franchise.

Lastly, you should remember that Garrett has had to remake this entire roster on the fly, all while staying as close to relevant as possible.  The Cowboys played three straight seasons where they had a chance to make the playoffs in the final week and another season in which they won the division.

This was all while remaking the roster entirely and getting younger while drafting at spots 9, 6, 31, 16 and 27.

I’m not even going to get started with the whole injury discussion that ravaged this team in 2015.  With Garrett, the offense has been in the top 10 three years and top 15 all but this year.

Playing just one entire game with your best quarterback/wide receiver combination will hurt your production.  Having the quarterback miss 12 games and the receiver miss another seven is devastating.

Like it or not, keeping the continuity of the coaching staff is the right thing to do.  You may want a pound of flesh for a disappointing season but jeopardizing the long-term outlook, solely for immediate gratification is not the way to run a successful franchise.

Next: Five free agents the Dallas Cowboys should take a hard look at

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