Dallas Cowboys: Can Jason Garrett take his coaching to the next level?
By Matt Aaron
So let’s focus on in-game adjustments. Coach Garrett, just in case you’re reading this, let me explain what in-game adjustments and how they can help a team. I’ll preface this by saying, I’ve never coached a team, so I’m no expert. But having watched decades of football, with the accompanying commentary, plus all four seasons of Friday Night Lights, I figure I have at least as much expertise as the next fan, meaning not at all.
Nevertheless, this is what I have gleaned from those countless hours on my couch: Good coaches watch their own teams and the opposing side early in the game with an eye for minimizing their own team mistakes, capitalizing on mismatches and trying to find the other team’s weak points to exploit.
When done properly, in-game adjustments can change a game completely, and make the difference between winning and losing. New England Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick is the master at this, especially in the biggest of games, such as in the Pats amazing come-from-behind victory over the Falcons in Super Bowl LI, when they were down 21-3 at halftime.
Just because Garrett has never been good at making adjustments doesn’t mean he can’t learn how to do it better. Fake it till you make it, goes the relevant cliché. And copying the great ones is a time-honored tradition in almost any field.
First year-teachers are told to beg, borrow and steal lesson plans at first. Apprentice-ship programs are all about copying masters in a particular field. Closer to home, recently Los Angeles Rams All-Pro defensive tackle Aaron Donald admitted he copied his chop-club move from recent Cowboys acquisition Robert Quinn, who used to be a teammate of Donald.
So, Coach Garrett, if you’re reading this, do yourself and the team a favor: Call up your old mentor and current head coach at Alabama, Nick Saban, who is one of the all-time masters of in-game adjustments. Of course, before you do, you first need to admit to yourself that your way doesn’t work.
As much as you like to form a gameplan and follow it to the letter come what may, you have to admit, that it hasn’t been working for you. You’ve only won two playoff games in nine years. Come clean, Coach. Admit to yourself that there really is a better way of doing things. And then call Nick, and ask him how he goes about it.
Many out there have no faith in you, Coach Garrett. But having been watching, I know you’ve improved in some aspects of your coaching. However, this is the one area that is still a huge deficit in your repertoire. Look at it this way: This is an opportunity. What with the Dallas Cowboys team-building prowess, if you could simply become decent at in-game adjustments, maybe that’s the key you need to get America’s Team back to the Super Bowl.