Dallas Cowboys: How much pressure is Jason Garrett under?

May 12, 2017; Frisco, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett during rookie minicamp at The Star at Cowboys World Headquarters. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
May 12, 2017; Frisco, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett during rookie minicamp at The Star at Cowboys World Headquarters. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports /

Despite what you might think, it is fair to speculate that there is pressure on Jason Garrett to lead the Dallas Cowboys on a deep playoff run.

Coaching at the professional level of any sport has to be one of the most thankless jobs out there.

Win and it’s likely because you had great players that anyone could win with.  Lose and it’s because you didn’t get enough out of your team.

It’s the rare occurrence, (see Belichick, Bill) that a coach gets a large amount of praise for his involvement in a team’s success.

A great example of this would be Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett.

During his tenure as the head coach in Dallas, Garrett has done admirably well under some difficult circumstances.

In 2010, he took over a team that was 1-7 without it’s star quarterback.  Going with a 38-year old journeyman, he got a team going nowhere to finish 5-3.  From 2011-13, he took a team with its core best seven players averaging over 30 years of age to the brink of the playoffs three straight seasons.

In 2014, the Cowboys won the second highest number of games since 1996 and were one horrendous call from the NFC Championship.  Last year, with a rookie fourth round selection at quarterback, Garrett’s Cowboys tied the franchise record for most regular season wins.

And with all that, almost no one would consider him an upper echelon coach.

In fact, it’s fair to speculate that Garrett’s job could be in jeopardy without a deep playoff run next season.

Never mind that he has helped lead a complete overhaul of the roster during his tenure.  It does not matter that he’s beloved by his players.  His career win total (104) being the second best ever for a Cowboys coach might not save him either.

The bottom line is that few coaches survive years of playoff disappointment just because they win in the regular season.

Twenty of the thirty-two head coaches currently running a team were hired in 2014 or later.  That is over 60% of the available opportunities.  In fact, there is only one head coach who has been at his job longer than Garrett without a Super Bowl ring.

Cincinnati has been rolling with head coach Marvin Lewis since 2003.  Winning the division four times and making the playoffs seven times in 14 years is admirable.  In almost any other city, Lewis would have been fired by now, however.  Given that it’s the Bengals, he’ll likely get a statue when he retires.

For Garrett though, he has the blessing and curse of leading one of the few signature franchises of the NFL.  That means extra scrutiny when things don’t go how those outside the Cowboys’ walls expect them to go.

Has Garrett made mistakes along the way?  Absolutely.  Does he deserve to be in the conversation of the game’s best coaches?  I think so.

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I think everyone who cares about his team wishes there was more playoff success.

Honestly, he has really only had two teams that were capable of bringing that into fruition.  One team lost due to a horrible call.  The other lost to one of the best passers in the history of the game making one of his five best throws ever.

One way to measure what a coach means to a team to take the temperature of its most important players.  Dez Bryant, Jason Witten and Sean Lee are the three key leaders of this franchise.  All of them not only buy into Garrett’s philosophy, they speak his words like they are their own.

Garrett does not show a lot of emotion to the outside world.  Most everyone thinks he is robotic at best and redundant as norm.  Those inside the locker room see his fire and passion.  One thing that is certain about Garrett is that he is a player’s coach.

In fact, for all the guys who have come and gone during the remaking of this program, none leave with anything negative to say of him.

Fans love to crack jokes at his constant clapping.  Give me the clapping all day long over someone who stares off into space or goes ballistic at the drop of a hat.

Ultimately, all of the positive things that Garrett brings to the organization won’t matter if the Cowboys do not win in the playoffs.

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With an uber talented young core of Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott, Bryant and three All-Pro’s on the offensive line, the time is now.  A draft focusing on defensive help will only raise expectations.

For Garrett, there may be no time like the present.