Does head coach Jason Garrett have solid control of his young Dallas Cowboys roster?
Yes, the Dallas Cowboys have been putting a better product on the field than they were during the first few years of head coach Jason Garrett‘s administration. The former Cowboys backup quarterback and Princeton graduate led the Cowboys to three consecutive 8-8 seasons during is first three full seasons as head coach, but 2014 seemed to mark a turning point.
Having said that, sometimes trends are hard to notice as their first getting started. Time is often necessary in order to determine if a given sequence is a trend or, in fact, an anomaly.
Heading towards the 2017 regular season, hopes for America’s Team are arguably higher than they have been in decades. Amidst the brimming anticipation of a possible deep playoff run during the coming season, it’s a fair question as to whether or not Garrett is losing some control of the Cowboys locker room.
For the second straight year, the Cowboys will open the regular season with at least one key four-game suspension on the defensive side of the ball.
Last year, Dallas would begin the year without defensive ends Demarcus Lawrence and Randy Gregory, both second-round draft picks in the 2014 and 2015 NFL Drafts, respectively. Lawrence would return following September while Gregory simply added on suspension after suspension to the point where the former Nebraska standout won’t play at all this year – or possibly ever, for that matter.
This year, defensive lineman David Irving will sit out the month of September for reasons similar to what occurred last year. Compounding the issue is this week’s arrest of expected reserve cornerback Nolan Carroll for a DWI following a party at a nightclub held in his honor. There’s a chance that Carroll could face a suspension of his own, which could end up creating another void for a Dallas secondary that just filled most of them during the 2017 NFL Draft in April.
Welcome to Dallas, indeed, Nolan.
Again, does Garrett have control of this roster?
It seems like newcomers to the Cowboys are having some issues focusing while the glare of that blue star is shining in their face.
Haven’t we seen this before?
Off-the-field behavior has been a challenge for the Cowboys for a very long time and during a few different eras. Most prominent were the issues facing players like Michael Irvin and Leon Lett, the former residing the Pro Football Hall of Fame and the latter now employed by the organization as an assistant defensive line coach under defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli.
No, I don’t question the passion of Irvin, who will always be welcomed at The Star in Frisco, Texas. I will never doubt the talent once possessed by Lett, a player who could really only be stopped by himself.
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The main difference between these particular 1990s examples and today’s headlines is the fact that the pre-Y2K variety was busy winning Super Bowls when not in trouble. In fact, without the well-noted transgressions committed under former head coach Barry Switzer, the Cowboys would have been more successful than they already were.
But are we talking about anything that remotely resembles dynastic about these Dallas Cowboys suiting up in the modern era?
As a matter of fact, these Cowboys have wasted two significant opportunities in the last three years to reach a couple more Super Bowls, but instead have yet to win a playoff game at the divisional depth or better in the NFC bracket.
Yes, those former Cowboys were winners in the Super Bowl.
These recent guys are mere ‘wild cards,’ a term that not only describes the extent of their postseason success, but also the way this team seems to be flying.
When we’re talking about a team sport, it only takes one guy who’s out of step to penalize the whole group, kind of like a false start on the offensive line. You can have a wall of blockers that features numerous Pro Bowl participants, but if just one takes a bad step, it’s pretty much all for not.
I’ve been pretty tough on Garrett ever since his questionable anointing as head coach back in 2010 immediately following the mid-season firing of Wade Phillips. If you’ll recall, hopes were pretty high following the team’s first playoff win (wild card round again) in some 13 seasons back in 2009, but the bottom immediately fell out the following year.
Who knows what the Cowboys will or won’t do in 2017. After all, the team went 3-1 last September without Lawrence and Gregory – and without franchise quarterback Tony Romo.
What we do see is that the Cowboys have yet to show the ability to string together lots of wins in successive seasons. Instead, Dallas is showing the tendency to rack up unnecessary suspensions that give one the impression that this team has enjoyed championship success recently and simply can’t resist the temptations that generally follow.
This team has done positively nothing and fans of America’s Team can only hope that Garrett really does have control of the situation.