Will new Dallas Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy bury the process?

(Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
(Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) /

As it turns out, Jason Garrett’s process took just a little too long, but new Dallas Cowboys Head Coach Mike McCarthy believes in players over the process.

If you’re a Dallas Cowboys fan, you know all too well that former head coach Jason Garrett’s go-to response to media questions was variations of the statement: It’s a process. Whatever the process seemed to be for Garrett, it wasn’t working for America’s Team. In his ten years as head coach, the Boys failed to reach the Super Bowl.

Garrett’s teams were 87-70 with only three trips to the postseason, never advancing past the divisional round. Remarkably, Garrett’s teams had talented players, including all-time Cowboys passing leader, Tony Romo, and all-time receiving leader, tight end Jason Witten.

Two of Garrett’s quarterbacks (Romo and Dak Prescott) combine for nine of the franchise’s top-10 highest seasons in passing. Two running backs (DeMarco Murray and Ezekiel Elliott) hold three of the top-10 seasons in rushing. And, two players (Dez Bryant and Jason Witten) enjoyed seven of the 10 highest seasons in receptions.

To say that Garrett’s tenure was a total failure would be unfair. In his 13 years of coaching, the Cowboys offense ranked in the top-seven NFL offenses seven times in yards and six times in points. The offensive line has added its share of decorations to the AP All-American Team and the Pro Bowl rosters and helped two running backs win a total of three rushing titles.

Although his offenses have enjoyed some level of success, however, it has been Garrett’s inability to adjust to other coaches’ tactics that has defined his career in Dallas. Garrett is a process guy; he’s a procedural guy.

There’s no better example than the final offensive play against the Philadelphia Eagles last December. It was fourth and eight from the Eagles’ 23 yard-line with the Cowboys down 17-9. There was 1:21 left on the clock. The ‘Boys needed a touchdown and two-point conversion to tie, but star wide receivers Amari Cooper and Randall Cobb were on the sideline.

The Cowboys failed to convert a pass to wide receiver Michael Gallup, losing to Philadelphia, and ultimately losing a chance for the postseason. When questioned about Cooper and Cobb, Garrett pointed to the team’s wide-receiver rotation as the reason his two stars were not on the field with the season on the line. It was familiar territory for Garrett, who has had to answer numerous such questions over his head coaching tenure. His response being: It’s a process.

Garrett has proven to be a reactionary guy. He isn’t a proactive coach who adjusts his plan according to the battle tactics other coaches employ. He’s the kind of guy who believes there is a certain way to play football, which is a collection of what he’s been taught over his career, void of his own creative thinking.

It explains why Garrett can’t justify his decisions, instead repeating his catch-all phrase. And owner Jerry Jones simply got tired of waiting. Now Garrett is out, and Mike McCarthy will lead America’s Team.

McCarthy has proven he has what it takes to win a Super Bowl with the Green Bay Packers, but we have no idea what to expect of him in Dallas. If nothing else, McCarthy’s recent words from the 2020 NFL Combine are a breath of fresh air from what’s been a stale environment.

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Mike McCarthy claims that he prefers to draft the best player available over players that fit a scheme. The 26-year NFL veteran explained that when you’re passing on good players in an attempt to find better scheme fits, you have to take a good, hard look at your system. Ahhhhhhhhh.