Aikman Says Garrett Deserves Credit for Cowboys’ 2021 Success

    During last Sunday's broadcast of the Cowboys' big win over the , FOX commentator Troy Aikman said that former head coach Jason Garrett deserves credit for Dallas' success so far in 2021. Is Troy correct, and if so how far should that credit go?

    It's no secret that Aikman and Garrett have a friendship dating back to their work together as starting and backup for the Cowboys during most of the 1990s. Despite his usual attempts to appear detached from all things Dallas, Troy spoke out in of Jason when the team fired him following the .

    There was immediate backlash to Aikman's pro-Garrett sentiment on Sunday. But while there may be some personal bias at work, was Troy entirely off base?

    Several things currently working so well for the Cowboys were found and installed during Garrett's last few years as coach. First and foremost would be , who went from a 4th-Round project to one of the best rookie QBs in following the unexpected loss of in a game.

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    Garrett's influence on Prescott is there. Sure, opened up the passing game when he rose to following Garrett and 's departures. Bigger numbers have led to bigger praise for Dak, but those aren't all that make him a franchise quarterback.

    Prescott is a natural leader but he had a good example to follow in his first NFL head coach. You can be sure that Garrett's experience as a longtime pro QB helped him make that sudden transition in 2016 and take ownership of his locker room.

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    Another huge help to Dak then, and now, are a league-leading rushing attack and strong pass protection. The 2021 line remains a strength thanks to Tyron Smith and Zack Martin, two former 1st-Round picks of Garrett's.

    rightly gets most of the credit for Dallas' draft success, but the picks invested in guys like Smith and Martin were also born from Jason's commitment to fundamental offensive football. Tyron was Garrett's first draft pick a head coach and the start of a new philosophy that quickly led to and Zack Martin as well.

    That same philosophy also played into drafting RB in 2016. We can forever debate the merit of spending a 4th-overall pick on a runner, but there's no arguing that Zeke is enjoying one of his best seasons in 2021. The rushing prowess of Elliott and Tony Pollard has been a key to Dallas' success so far this year.

    To be fair, current coach has built on what Garrett left behind. He turned the over to Moore and seemingly unleashed Prescott's full potential in the process. He also made WR his first pick in a seeming commitment to giving Dak ample weapons around him.

    In early 2018, , , and were the other starters in the passing game. It wasn't until midseason that Dallas went and got via ; a glaring admission that they hadn't respected the pass enough.

    Respect also went too far in the wrong direction at times for Jason Garrett, particularly when it came to his coordinators. Scott Linehan and had outlived their usefulness before the Cowboys finally cleaned house. Arguably, Garrett cost himself his job in Dallas by being too loyal to these men.

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    Garrett's loyalty and largesse wasn't all bad for the Cowboys, though. He stuck by Randy Gregory through four years of personal struggling with drug use and under the NFL's policy at that time.

    In 2021, Gregory is delivering in ways we've been waiting a long time for. Under a different head coach during those early years, Randy probably never makes it this far with one team and may not even be in the NFL today.

    While we joke about some of Jason's shticks, from the clapping to the canned responses about “good football players” and “the right kind of guys,” the culture he built in Dallas was one of mutual respect. Garrett-bred players remain the leaders today, taking that culture forward as the foundation for the strong team we see right now.

    There's really no denying that the new brain trust of McCarthy, Moore, and is superior on the X's and O's of modern football. They deserve the majority of the credit for what the Cowboys are currently accomplishing, doing more with some of the same players than Garrett, Linehan, or Marinelli ever did.

    Still, Troy Aikman wasn't wrong with his comment. Jason Garrett does deserve some credit for what we're currently enjoying. But with that, the Cowboys should also be praised for recognizing that different minds and voices were needed to take Garrett's foundation to new heights.

    Jess Haynie
    Jess Haynie
    Cowboys fan since 1992, blogger since 2011. Bringing you the objectivity of an outside perspective with the passion of a die-hard fan. I love to talk to my readers, so please comment on any article and I'll be sure to respond!


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    Sure, Garrett had an influence on the the current team. He is not that far removed to not have. BTW, I don’t think he was a bad HC. When things don’t go well, the HC usually gets axed. You can’t fire the whole team, especially now with these crazy contracts.

    Couple of things in the article though. The idea that the Cowboys actually wanted and/or targeted DP is very debatable. During that draft, they tried to trade up for P Lynch, and then later, for C Cook. Then after the draft, they tried to trade for N Foles and then J McCowns. Obviously all this was unsuccessful. So in a way Cowboys lucked out with their FIFTH choice, DP.

    Also, IMO, DP stepped into a great situation with the aforementioned additions of Martin and Smith and Travis and Elliot and Lamb and Cooper, ETC. Cowboys have certainly surrounded him with the superior players needed to succeed.

    lawrence stacy

    As far as comments about Dallas lucking into Dak. That is only partially true. Wade Wilson who at the time was the QB coach had pushed for Dak before the draft and had a connection to him. So while they did try for other QB’s they had Dak in mind and took him for a reason in the 4th. Not just as a stab in the dark and pure luck. They undervalued him maybe but had an eye on him the whole time.


    ummm what former coach doesn’t have some thumb print on his former team when just less than 2 years removed, but pleasssssssssssssssssssssse stop.

    David William Stedman

    Clappy was as Predictable as a rooster crowing in the morning. Moore has defenses confused and on edge. Garrett had zero game planning ability.


    The overall impact Garrett had on this team was devastating. To cherry-pick facts in order to give Garrett credit for the success of this team is so unfair to these players and coaches as to be shocking and sad.

    An idea…Instead of accepting the personal and biased feelings of Aikman, who not so slyly, slipped in unwarranted complements for his ol’ buddy, perhaps current or at least more contemporary players should be allowed to give a more real world perspective of the pre and post-Garrett world. I would LOVE to hear the most candid thoughts of Tony Romo, Dez Bryant, and Kellen Moore about this former “coach”.

    No one should ever forget that the clapping, spitting, kicjer-freezing, confused, overmatched, and dogmatically intransigent clown stole 10 years of football enjoyment from us, the fans. Giving him credit for anything positive on this team is analogous to giving Jimmy Carter credit for the following decade’s booming economy.

    How quickly we forget…

    andrew londo

    I hate to say i agree, but Troy is right. The main difference now is the quality of coaching and game planning the team is experiencing. Of course, there are some new faces, but many were brought during Garret’s era. It’s a shame that Garret couldn’t put it all together on a consistent basis.