Remember when Bill Parcels was the head coach in Dallas? Remember when Sean Payton was the offensive coordinator and being groomed to take over as head coach? And remember when instead Jerry Jones let Payton go to New Orleans and brought in Wade Phillips and Jason Garrett the next season?
Jason Garrett was groomed to become the Dallas head coach and was granted the position midway through last season. So far this season, Garrett has shown why this was never a good idea. I have never liked Garrett as a playcaller and that has been vindicated by his performance thus far.
Sure everybody likes to blame Tony Romo, but a coach should never put players in the position to fail. When the Cowboys had a 24 point lead on the Lions in week 4, they needed to run the football and wind the clock. Instead Garrett wanted Romo throwing the ball, and lo and behold a pick 6. Well now the lead is a 17 point lead, still substantial for the middle of the 3rd quarter, so you would think smash mouth football would be where to turn, right? No! Garrett elects to continue to throw the ball and another interception is returned for a touchdown. The Lions gained momentum and eventually overcame the deficit.
After a bye week, the Cowboys matched up against the Patriots and it was a down to the wire finish, with Tom Brady leading another comeback. Yet, if we look closely, we can see more Jason Garrett errors leading to the loss. With a 13-13 deadlock and less than 7 minutes left, the Cowboys needed to punch it into the end zone, knowing that Tom Brady is on the other sideline and he has a knack for comebacks. Better to go up by 7 and risk a tie than to go up by 3 and risk the inevitable. Garrett (and Romo) need to realize the matchups that they have on the field. If Dez Bryant is matched up one on one on the outside in a goal-to-go situation, the ball needs to be thrown up for him to go get it, not run up the middle. It seems Garrett decided to play conservative and run the ball, so at least he learned from the previous games mistakes, right? Except that it was an entirely different situation.
When the game should be called conservatively, Garrett seems to want to turn up the aggression, when a game should be called aggressively, he dials it down. Garrett almost hurt the Cowboys in the Redskins game by settling for a field goal with a minute and a half left in the game. If it had been any quarterback other than Rex Grossman, the Cowboys would have lost that game, too!
In the end, hindsight is 20/20. Sean Payton should be the head coach of Dallas, but Jason Garrett is the darling child of Jerry Jones. Sooner or later Jerry needs to figure out that he needs to do a better job of hiring coaches and recognizing the qualities of a good and intelligent coach. I fear that the path the Cowboys are on will not end in the glory of winning a super bowl, but with more disappointments.