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Did Garrett’s OT Decision Cost Him More Than Just the Game?

Jess Haynie



Cowboys Blog - Jerry Jones: Holding a Fan-base Hostage 2

Jason Garrett's decision to punt rather than go for it on 4th-and-1 last night is drawing heavy criticism today. The overtime loss to the Houston Texans has put the Cowboys head coach in the crosshairs perhaps more than ever before, and even his owner and quarterback have had their say.

We've broken down Garrett's decision plenty already. You can click here for Kevin Brady's statistical analysis of the move, or here for my opinion of Jason's choice and the Cowboys' current overall direction.

Now, let's look at what Jerry Jones and Dak Prescott have had to say about the head coach's decision. What do these comments tells us about Garrett's support and job security as of today?

First, courtesy of CBS Sports' Ryan Wilson, here's what Jason himself said about his choice:

"Yeah, it was a long one," he said after the game. "You know, we had a 3rd-and-2 and we didn't make much on it and we just felt like at that point in the game, the way our defense was playing, the idea was to pin them down there."

Again, you can check out my article earlier today for what I think of Garrett's logic there. While there's some merit to what he said about the issues with the running game yesterday, the situation was just the wrong time to stop trusting your best players.

In overtime, in opposing territory, it wasn't a time to shy away from risk. We've seen Jason make aggressive calls before, but last night he shrunk back.

His boss didn't agree.

mike fisher ✭ on Twitter

Cowboys Jerry Jones on Garrett not going for it on 4th-&-1: 'Not second-guessing, But ... We just were being outplayed. It's time for risk at that particular time.'

Sorry Jerry, but that IS second-guessing.

The Cowboys' owner and general manager was right to do so. Most onlookers, both fans and professionals, criticized the move at the time and certainly have in hindsight.

During his post-game comments with media, QB Dak Prescott was asked if he'd have gone for it:

"Yeah, I mean, I would but in that case you don't question the coach's decision..."

Sorry Dak, but you just did.

The three most important professional relationships for any NFL head coach are with his owner, general manager, and his starting quarterback. In the Cowboys organization, 2/3 of that is Jerry Jones and some combination of Stephen Jones and Will McClay.

We know Garrett has a strong bond with the front office, but this is now his eighth full season as the team's head coach. The goodwill built from the playoffs runs in 2014 and 2016 is wearing off quickly.

Jason hasn't been able to help a lot of the team's problems during his tenure. He inherited a bad cap situation. If anything, keeping the team at 8-8 during those early rebuilding years was impressive.

Garrett also didn't have anything to do with major injuries or suspensions to key players. Dallas has had their fair share of these problems since 2011.

But last night, the head coach made the call. He didn't put faith in his star running back, All-Pro offensive linemen, or his starting QB to go make a 4th-and-1 play. He went conservative.

Some would even argue he went scared.

Michael Lombardi Misses The Point With Unfair Jason Garrett Criticism

Dallas Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones and Head Coach Jason Garrett

When a coach is close to being fired, you'll start hearing stuff like "players have tuned him out" or "he's lost the locker room." I don't think we're there yet with Jason Garrett.

But last night didn't help on any level. Jason made the wrong move and has been called out, however politely, by both his owner and his starting QB for it.

Those decisions having last effects. Players remember when a coach didn't put faith in them. You could argue that he did put faith in the defense, but even some of them are likely disappointed in his choice.

Don't get me wrong; I like Jason. He seems like a genuinely good person and a great leader. But too often, and for too long, we've seen him make the wrong move with football strategy. We've seen him waver too much between conservative and aggressive, and many times leaning the wrong way.

No matter what else happens this year, I don't think Jerry would fire Garrett in the middle of the season. He's not handing the job to proven head-coaching failures like Scott Linehan or Rod Marinelli, and Kris Richard isn't vaulting from a position coach to the big chair.

But with the team seeming to regress from its 2016 success, Jason's methods and leadership are rightfully questioned. And if Jerry and Dak's comments are any indication, he may be starting to lose the support of his most important allies.

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!



  1. Ervinlang318

    October 8, 2018 at 2:17 pm

    That Overtime sums up the first 5 games of the season. Fear and Basics. Fear
    being not going for it on 4th and 1 due to Garretts fear of Gambling and Basics
    being Tackling and Playcalling. Receivers catching,

  2. dallas4life65

    October 8, 2018 at 2:51 pm

    Here’s to a new coach next year!! Now if we could only fire the GM

    • Harold Ellerbee

      October 8, 2018 at 3:40 pm

      Some how I don’t think we will need to,I think Jerry is grtting the message…

  3. Harold Ellerbee

    October 8, 2018 at 3:38 pm

    Way to go Jacson I would rather of tried and lost than punted…think about it our punter is not that great…I think we need a full time punter who does nothing but punt….some one who can pen other teams inside the 5.
    How about more beef on that O.F. line with out T.F.we can’t move other lines…like it or not it takes two people to re place T.F.

    • wandszy

      October 8, 2018 at 4:17 pm

      Our punter isn’t that great?!? Granted, he hasn’t been as good this year but he has been among the top 5 punters in the league the last 2 years. That’s definitely not the reason for going for it.

      • Brett Herman

        October 9, 2018 at 12:24 am

        The problem here and your right the Punter was not the problem they were pinned at the 10 yard line so what more can you ask for there like 5 yards was going to make a big difference here, we had a band don’t break game on defense while Houston was not scoring TD’s they were moving the ball and getting into FG range and that was all they needed here. The defense had to be getting gassed they were out there a long time all night now into an extra quarter.

        You have to gamble there on 4th and 1 but we also need more firepower at receiver and sadly there does not seem to be any help coming anytime soon.

  4. Harold Ellerbee

    October 8, 2018 at 4:19 pm

    Ok the crap is over time to get back to work…as my old buddy John M….would say…shake it off…get back on the field we got another game next week…go Cow boys…

  5. Steve

    October 8, 2018 at 5:43 pm

    Garrett should’ve been gone a year ago while the offense has struggled and every Owner, Coach, Player, Fan knows that every team that has a Young/Strong/Nucleus of talent that there is a window of opportunity that you HAVE to take advantage of and be pro-active and push the envelope if you will…. NOT play safe and predictable! Its absolutely insane to me that BIG D’s offense has grown to be so stagnant and can’t simply move the ball and for Garrett to set by and watch and not try to get 1 yard behind that O-Line and the leagues leading rusher! I mean yeah we aren’t the same without Fredrick, but 1 YARD!!! REALLY??? I believe Jerry should watch and if this talented/physical playing team continues to play sloppy(penalties)an without urgency and have no drive (especially the offense) before Garrett totally loses the locker room if he hasn’t already and I believe the ONLY reason he wont totally is that Richard will maintain the defense and have them ready! Which the only thing I disagree with you is that I do believe that Richard is ready and should be the Dallas Cowboys HC and will be in the near future!

  6. Michael Barthel

    October 8, 2018 at 8:25 pm

    Garrett is a terrible coach!! He has done nothing for us in 8 years!!! Our biggest mistake was letting Sean Payton get away!! I hate Garrett I hope he gets fired I am so tired of average. He is not a good head coach and he should not be leading a team at all. Jimmy won Super Bowls cuz he didn’t care what Jerry wanted or said but Garrett is a puppet. We will once again go 8-8 again. Getting rid of dez was a mistake as you see it’s the coaches and play calling not dez.

  7. Michael Barthel

    October 8, 2018 at 8:28 pm

    Who in there right mind would go with the receivers we have and say we like our guys nobody in the nfl would roll out with these receivers but Dallas. I love my cowboys I’m a diehard fan but seeing how badly Dallas offense has regressed is sickening. They can’t even throw for 250 a game that’s pathetic. You just used Elliott in the passing game last week and won but where was that this week, where was the zone read that killed the giants in week 2. We have probably the worst offense in the league which tells me Garrett and Linehan have no clue what talent is or have no clue what their doing

    • Brett Herman

      October 9, 2018 at 12:14 am

      What makes zero sense is how Jerry has gone from a 100% big time gambler some 5 plus years ago and now we did a 180 degree turn and gamble on nothing anymore. We have drafted overall well the last few drafts, we continue to hand out dumb contracts and the restructuring year over year over year of Romo and the line we will still pay for through another year or two and then hopefully start to get a clean cap until we screw that up again.

      Totally agree who in their right mind would roll out this receiving corp on offense and call it legit. Again we gamble on nothing Josh Gordon would have cost next to nothing we won’t pull the trigger, hell resign Dez at this point nothing can be worse than this horrific group we run out there week after week.

      All of the difference makers who have been traded over the past couple of years or we could have gotten we pass on time and again. We let Earl Thomas sit out there instead of adding another All Pro.

      I along with many others just don’t understand what in the hell Jones is doing. The Boys used to go grab these big name skill position players and they have done nothing eventful in years in free agency, done nothing eventful in the draft in trades just nothing zip zilch and the results show on the field a .500 team year after year after year and does not look to change anytime soon

  8. w2lucky

    October 9, 2018 at 1:43 pm

    Garrett has had more opportunities (and quality players) to create a solid team than any other NFL coach. It baffles me that a businessman like JJ keeps him around after failing year after year. That is bad business and makes me wonder if perhaps JJ himself may need to step away from the Cowboys. Dallas’ offense is putrid and currently in the hands of a really inaccurate QB with no receivers to help him. Garrett’s decision in OT reflects exactly that.

  9. will

    October 11, 2018 at 2:00 pm

    the problem is the coaching staff are trying to emulate the patriots too much. they should have nabbed earl thomas when they could have last summer when the asking price was still a second round draft. thomas might have been the key piece making the defense truly exceptional. they passed up on gordon from the browns. a low risk high reward oppurtunity. they obviously need help on receivers, and so why not jump on a proven veteran. and then dak. he has potential but he needs help to develop him. and kellen moore is simply not the man for the job. they need to get someone really experienced to coach and mentor. he will never get to that point of a true franchise quarterback alone or with subpar inexperienced coaching. sometimes the impression i get is the culture within the organization is too lax and UNDERACHIEVERS. we need the discipline of jimmy johnson and the football genius of bill parcells. and im not sure if the current staff is that.

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Dallas Cowboys

Dallas Cowboys 2019 Offseason Preview: Linebacker

Jess Haynie



Wolf Hunter: Leighton Vander Esch's Pass Coverage Skills Rising to Occasion

One of the brightest spots on the Dallas Cowboys' projected 2019 roster is linebacker. The young pair of Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch have already emerged as one of the league's best duos. But that doesn't mean that the Cowboys have no work to do at the position this offseason.

Having Jaylon and Leighton does take a lot of pressure off. Most teams utilize their nickel scheme more than any other these days, which generally utilizes just two linebackers, in the increasingly pass-focused NFL. And thankfully, both Smith and Vander Esch have shown great skills in pass defense.

But there's still a semi-starting role to get figured out in the base 4-3 scheme. Damien Wilson has held the strong-side or "SAM" position for the last few years and has an expiring contract.

What's more, Dallas has a big decision to make regarding the contract of Sean Lee, which is ripe for terminating with $7 million in salary cap savings possible.

It's highly unlikely that the Cowboys would keep both Lee and Wilson. If they decide to re-sign Damien, Lee will be cut to help fund that move and others. If Sean is kept on, Wilson will almost surely be looking for a starting role somewhere else in free agency.

Even if the Cowboys do make Lee a cap casualty between now and March 13th, they may still allow Wilson to test free agency and then try to re-sign him later at a discount. He's unlikely to attract the same attention that Anthony Hitchens got last year.

How Does LB Joe Thomas Fit Into Cowboys' 2019 Plans?

Dallas Cowboys LB Joe Thomas (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Another factor in all of this is Joe Thomas, a free agent addition last year who provided good depth and could potentially start in 2019. He is scheduled to count $2.2 million against the cap, which is fine for a primary reserve but a bargain for an occasional starter.

A core of Smith, Thomas, and Vander Esch gives the Cowboys a good foundation to build from. Smith can play the SAM in the base scheme and Thomas can be the primary backup to Jaylon and Leighton in the nickel.

However, going that route would deplete the depth chart. Chris Covington, a sixth-round pick last year, would be the only noteworthy player under contract. Dallas would need to find at least two more guys to fill out the group for 2019.

They could look at re-signing backup Justin March-Lillard, who would at least bring some familiarity and veteran experience. But that might still leave them looking for more of a primary reserve, which would be especially vital if Thomas is promoted to a starting role.

The projected LB free agent pool for 2019 should make it a buyer's market. Dallas may be able to re-sign Damien Wilson or even add an upgrade, like perhaps the Vikings' Anthony Barr, at a relative bargain. There should be ample options for depth as well.

Barring an extremely favorable value opportunity, don't expect the Cowboys to spend a significant draft pick at linebacker. The fourth-round is the earliest I could see one going based on other needs, and even then it would need to be someone they really like.

Good drafting is why Dallas has flexibility and leverage this offseason. The picks they invested in Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch appear to have made LB a strength of the team for the next several years.

There is still business to attend to, but the Cowboys won't have to be too concerned with linebacker in 2019 thanks to their young stars.

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Dallas Cowboys

Xavier Woods Versatility Key in Dallas Cowboys FA Safety Pursuit

John Williams



Cowboys Safety Xavier Woods Is Getting Better By The Week

There has been a debate going on among Cowboys Nation for more than a year now about the prospects of bringing in Seattle Seahawks Safety Earl Thomas. Now with free agency approaching, there are several other names that the Dallas Cowboys could consider when looking to upgrade the safety position. Landon Collins, Tyrann Mathieu, and Tre Boston are several of the many quality and really good safeties that are hitting the free agent market in a few weeks. It's a group with varied skill sets and abilities, which makes the debate even more interesting. The Dallas Cowboys, however, will be able to take a look at all of them when free agency opens March 13th because of one player; Xavier Woods.

Xavier Woods, the Cowboys fifth round draft pick from the 2017 NFL Draft just finished his first full season as a starter for the Cowboys and played really well. In two years he's shown the ability to cover from the slot, play deep, play in the box, be a force over the middle, and make plays on the football. He's one of the more versatile players on the defense with his ability to play all over the field. That versatility allows the Dallas Cowboys' front office an advantage when approaching the names mentioned above.

The Dallas Cowboys don't have to be locked in to one particular type of safety. When people talk about Landon Collins, they label him a "box safety." Earl Thomas is a traditional free safety. Tre Boston is a similar player to Earl Thomas and Tyrann Mathieu is like Collins. The Cowboys can go into free agency with the freedom to explore their options and do their due diligence when it comes to these players.

That's a distinct difference from this offseason to last.

Last offseason, the feeling was that the Dallas Cowboys had to go get Earl Thomas. The safety position was so weak that the Cowboys were going to be playing at a disadvantage in the high-flying, pass-heavy NFL. Xavier Woods proved in his first full season that he can be a productive, play making starter in the NFL and should only continue to improve.

According to Pro Football Focus, Xavier Woods was sixth in the NFL in passer rating against among safeties with at least 352 coverage snaps. His 62.8 passer rating allowed in his coverage was tied with Eric Weddle, better than Derwin James, Reshad Jones, Adrian Amos, and Maliek Hooker. Of the safeties drafted in the 2017 draft class, only Eddie Jackson from the Chicago Bears had a better passer rating against than Xavier Woods.

The Dallas Cowboys got a really good player in Xavier Woods and as they get ready to potentially make a run at a big name safety, they can feel confident that whoever they end up signing will be a good fit with Woods. He can play in the box or cover receivers and tight ends. You can run more two deep safety looks, because he has the range to play it.

This year, as opposed to last, they have more certainty at the safety position because of Xavier Woods and the strides he took in 2018. There's no reason to believe that he can't continue to take a step forward for the Dallas Cowboys. His ability to play all over the field allows the Cowboys to be smart and patient in their pursuit of a safety upgrade this offseason.

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Dallas Cowboys

3 Free Agent Targets From Cowboys NFC East Rivals

John Williams



3 Free Agent Targets From Cowboys NFC East Rivals

The free agency period in the NFL will be here in a little more than three weeks and the Dallas Cowboys will begin the annual tradition of trying to put together the best 53-man roster that they can come up with. Free agency is just one part of the equation that includes the draft, the signing of undrafted free agents, adding and subtracting from the roster during training camp, and picking up players after the final cut down day.

You can rest assured that Will McClay and the entire pro scouting department is doing their due diligence in anticipation of the March 13th start to the 2019 free agency period. They'll look high and low for players that can come in and be contributors for the Cowboys. Even within their own division.

Between the New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles, and Washington Redskins, there are some interesting names to consider as the Cowboys peruse the free agent aisles of the NFL superstore. Some of those players like Landon Collins, Ronald Darby, Nick Foles, and Brandon Graham will be new releases that will cost you a pretty penny at the check out stand. Others like Haloti Ngata will be in the used and refurbished section. And then there are those who could be had at a reasonable or discounted rate.

Here are three from within the NFC East that the Cowboys could have their eye on.

Mario Edwards, Defensive Line, New York Giants

The former Oakland Raiders second round pick out of Florida State University has already played for two teams in his young four-year career. That isn't a good sign for Mario Edwards as he approaches free agency for the first time. You don't generally see many top 100 picks get released from the team that originally drafted as they usually wait as long as they can to see if the player is going to hit.

For Mario Edwards, he found himself caught in a numbers game and outplayed by two rookies in Oakland's training camp in 2018, leading to his release. It also sounds like the Raiders couldn't quite figure out where to put him on their defensive line.

We know that the Dallas Cowboys love looking around the league for those reclamation projects. Edwards could be the next David Irving or Antwaun Woods. A player that isn't highly thought of, but in the right situation and with the right coaching could flourish.

Edwards has played 14 or more games in three of his first four seasons, missing his second season with a hip injury. He totaled more than two sacks a season in those three seasons. He isn't by any stretch of the imagination someone who is going to come in and replace DeMarcus Lawrence or Randy Gregory, but he could be a nice depth piece with potential to see significant snaps both at defensive end and 3-technique defensive tackle.

Edwards could be the next Rod Marinelli special.

Jordan Matthews, Wide Receiver, Philadelphia Eagles

The Dallas Cowboys could be in the market for a slot wide receiver this offseason if Cole Beasley is allowed to walk in free agency, which seems like a near certainty. There are several intriguing options on the roster in Allen Hurns and Cedric Wilson that could play in the slot some, or play on the outside allowing Amari Cooper to play in the slot. They could also look to the draft for Beasley's replacement as well. In the free agent pool, there are several interesting names, one of which is Jordan Matthews.

Jordan Matthews just finished his second stint in Philadelphia and while he didn't have huge production in Philly in 2018 -- 20 receptions on 28 targets for 300 yards and two touchdowns, he's a player with a track record in the NFL and could be a "big slot" option.

In Matthews first three seasons in the NFL, he averaged 75 receptions on 115 targets for 891 yards and 6.3 touchdowns in his first stint with the Philadelphia Eagles. In 2014, Matthews caught 64 of his 67 receptions from the slot, which was second in the NFL that season. In 2015, he led the NFL in receptions from the slot with 81, while also scoring eight touchdowns. In 2016, his final year with the Eagles, he was ninth in the NFL with 53 receptions. So, in those first three seasons in the league, he averaged 67 receptions, 796.3 yards, and six touchdowns. He caught eight touchdowns in each of his first two seasons for the Eagles in the slot.

He's not the same player that Cole Beasley is, but he's a player that knows how to win in the slot and because of the past couple of years could be a cheaper option to try and replace Cole's production.

Jamison Crowder, Wide Receiver, Washington Redskins

If Jordan Matthews is the inexpensive option for the Dallas Cowboys in the slot, Jamison Crowder would require paying a pretty penny. estimates that Crowder could be worth $8 million per year over four years on the open market.

Interestingly enough, he's never been as productive as Cole Beasley or Jordan Matthews, but because of his age and his work the last couple of seasons, injuries not withstanding, he's seen in a more positive light than Matthews.

Crowder is cut from a similar cloth as Beasley. Smaller in stature and uses quickness and speed to win games. As Cowboys fans, we know all to well the effect that he has in game. Crowder, however, has never had more than 66 receptions in a season and has only scored more than three touchdowns once in his four seasons in the NFL; back in 2016 when he scored seven.

Crowder is coming off of an injury this season that limited him to just nine games, 29 receptions for 388 yards and two touchdowns. In his three full seasons prior to 2018, Crowder averaged 64 receptions on 93 targets for 746 yards and four touchdowns.

If for some reason, his market comes in less than the $8 million per year that is projecting, I'd be very interested in bringing Crowder to Dallas.

✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭

Each of these guys offers something intriguing that the Dallas Cowboys could use. Whether it's a defensive lineman or a slot wide receiver, they all bring something to the table. The Dallas Cowboys need to approach this offseason with a "go for it" mentality, but if they continue to follow their free agency philosophy, Mario Edwards and Jordan Matthews could be nice pieces to add to the team that offer a lot of upside.

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