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Jason Garrett Deserves Credit for Cowboys Turnaround

John Williams

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Jason Garrett

The Dallas Cowboys looked to be dead in the water after making a big splash at the trade deadline. They had just acquired Amari Cooper during the bye week and then proceeded to lay an egg as a team on Monday Night Football getting beat 28-14 to the Tennessee Titans. It was a frustrating day for the team as the offense had opportunities early to take control of the game and the defense couldn't make a stop in the second half. The Dallas Cowboys didn't panic, they didn't bail on each other. In fact, they stayed the course and continued to commit to the "process." Having clinched the NFC East on Sunday with a 27-20 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, it's time for Cowboys Nation to give credit where it's due; Head Coach Jason Garrett.

The Cowboys should have been done, but after they dropped to 3-5, they rattled off five straight wins and put themselves in the driver's seat in the NFC East. Along the way they beat division their rivals, the Washington Redskins and the Philadelphia Eagles twice, as well as the number one seed in the NFC playoffs, the New Orleans Saints on national television.

Sure, the shutout at the hands of the Indianapolis Colts was bad, and that falls at Garrett's feet, but if he gets the blame for the losses, we need to give him credit for the wins. The Cowboys bounced back in a big way against the Bucs as they looked to have control from the outset despite inconsistency on offense.

There are many people who would still like to see Garrett gone after this year, but let's be honest with ourselves, that isn't going to happen and was probably never on the table for Owner and General Manager Jerry Jones. And for good reason.

Let's look at the facts of Jason Garrett's head coaching tenure in Dallas.

  • Only one losing season (2015).
  • Three straight winning seasons, which is the second longest streak since 1997. Bill Parcells and Wade Phillips combined for five straight winning seasons from 2005-2009.
  • Three division titles in the last five years. Only Barry Switzer has as many division titles for the Dallas Cowboys since 1990.
  • Four winning seasons in the last five years.
  • Only twice in Garrett's tenure have the Cowboys not been competing for the division in the last few weeks of the season. 2015 and 2017.

And then there's this nugget from Mark Lane of The Texans Wire at USA Today.

Mark Lane on Twitter

Cowboys coach Jason Garrett has now won as many NFC East titles as the past four Dallas coaches combined.

Jason Garrett's three division titles in his eight year tenure (2011-2018) are equal to the number of NFC East titles won by Wade Phillips, Bill Parcells, Dave Campo, and Chan Gailey from 1998-2010.

I know it's not a popular to support Jason Garrett as the Dallas Cowboys coach, and when the team was 3-5, I was resigned to the fact that Garrett was likely on his way out if that kind of performance continued. However, the team turned it around and Garrett has been a huge reason why the Cowboys have had success this season.

Whether you are a Jason Garrett supporter -- like me -- or a hater, you can't deny that this turnaround had his fingerprints all over it. Garrett preaches focusing on each play and each day being better than you were the previous play or day. The Dallas Cowboys were able to overcome their poor start because Garrett has them only looking forward and controlling what they can control.

You may not like that he claps a lot, you may not be able to forgive some of the coaching mistakes from the 8-8 seasons or for continuing to start Dak Prescott over Romo. If that is you, you might want to give the man another look. Has he been Jimmy Johnson or Tom Landry or Barry Switzer? No, but he's created a competitive culture in his time as the Dallas Cowboys head coach and at some point, they're going to break through.

Garrett's created an identity that has a chance to make noise in the playoffs. Even in the pass happy NFL of 2018, teams still need to be able to run the football and play defense and the Dallas Cowboys do that as well as any team in the league. If they're able to figure out their passing game, Garrett and the Cowboys might be poised for their deepest run in a long, long time.

Jason Garrett isn't a perfect head coach, and aside from the guy in New England, is there a perfect head coach? He continues to have success in the NFC East, which hasn't had a repeat champion since 2004. You may not want to give it to him, but the Dallas Cowboys head coach deserves credit for this team, with all of its warts, making the playoffs.



Dallas Cowboys optimist bringing factual reasonable takes to Cowboys Nation and the NFL Community. I wasn't always a Cowboys fan, but I got here as quick as I could. Make sure you check out the Inside The Cowboys Podcast featuring John Williams and other analysts following America's Team.

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Report: Cowboys’ Travis Frederick Ready for Start of Training Camp

John Williams

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Cowboys Center Travis Frederick Still Hoping to "Be a Rock" for Teammates Despite GBS Syndrome

With the Dallas Cowboys opening training camp with their first practice on Saturday, July 27th in Oxnard, California, a lot of information is coming out regarding who will be available when they report.

It was already reported that Defensive End DeMarcus Lawrence and Cornerback Byron Jones will be placed on the physically unable to practice (P.U.P.) list to start training camp. Now, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network is reporting that Travis Frederick will avoid the Non-Football Injury list (NFI) and be ready to report for the starting of training camp.

Ian Rapoport on Twitter

Very good news for the #Cowboys: All-Pro C Travis Frederick, who dealt with Guillain-Barré syndrome last year, is expected to be active for the start of training camp. He avoids NFI and is ready to go.

Frederick has been out of action for a year after being diagnosed with Guillen-Barre Syndrome during last year's training camp. Guillen-Barre is a disorder that can affect the peripheral neurological system. Basically, the neurological system that doesn't consist of the brain and the spinal cord, which is the central nervous system.

There was talk that Frederick might have been ready to go for the playoffs at the end of last season, but the team continued to hold him out in order to get him back 100% for 2019. It looks like the time has come for Frederick to regain his spot as the leader and lynch-pin of the offensive line.

While Joe Looney was effective in 2018, there's no doubt the team suffered a drop off from All-Pro Travis Frederick to career backup Looney. Getting Frederick back in the middle of the offensive line is the most significant upgrade the Dallas Cowboys could have made this offseason on either side of the football.

Frederick is one of the smartest players on the team and does a lot for Dak Prescott and the offensive line in terms of setting protections. For Dak Prescott, he'll be able to have a little more faith that the front of his pocket will hold up if he needs to step up to make a throw. Frederick will also help Connor Williams as the two work combo blocks against opposing interior defenders. Frederick will immediately improve the Dallas Cowboys red zone offense as they'll be able to get more of a push on the interior.

It was almost expected that this would be the case, but hearing it for certain should give the Dallas Cowboys and their fans a lot of optimism for what's to come in 2019. Travis Frederick returning to the starting lineup is a huge addition for a Dallas Cowboys offense that looks ready to roll in 2019.



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Dallas Cowboys 2019 Training Camp Preview: Cornerback

Jess Haynie

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Sean's Scout: Starting Front 7 Sets Tone Early, Cowboys Depth Falters in Loss to Bengals 1
AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth

The Dallas Cowboys have spent a lot of draft picks the last few years to build up their cornerbacks group. There is a lot of potential heading into 2019, but Dallas needs these young players to take the next step if they want to compete for a championship. This weekend's start to training camp will be an important part of the process.

Dallas' best move to help the cornerback position was switching Byron Jones back there in 2018 after a few seasons at safety. Jones went to his first Pro Bowl and has positioned himself for a big contract extension.

Byron is currently set to play 2019 on his fifth-year option of $6.27 million, which is a steal for a CB of his caliber. Whether or not the Cowboys allow him to enter unrestricted free agency next year, or get a new deal signed, will be something to watch for throughout the upcoming season.

Jones' future may be in question, but we at least know he'll be the team's top corner this season. None of the other Dallas CBs can enjoy that same certainty in 2019, as depth chart positioning and job security are all in flux right now.

Here is the current CB depth chart headed into training camp:

  1. Byron Jones, Chidobe Awuzie
  2. Anthony Brown, Jourdan Lewis
  3. Michael Jackson, Donovan Olumba
  4. C.J. Goodwin, Chris Westry
  5. Treston Decoud

Will this list hold as is, or will we some shifting over the five weeks of training camp and preseason?

The battle for snaps between Chidobe Awuzie, Anthony Brown, and Jourdan Lewis will be an intriguing ongoing storyline. Awuzie was the starter last year, and will hopefully make a big developmental leap in his third year.

But Anthony Brown has proven himself a capable player despite being just a 6th-round pick in 2016. Entering the final year of his rookie deal, Brown will certainly be pushing for a significant role this season to hopefully help his free agent marketability in 2020.

Jourdan Lewis

Dallas Cowboys CB Jourdan Lewis

If things go like they did last year, both Awuzie and Brown will get plenty of playing time. The true enigma of this bunch is Jourdan Lewis, who is hoping to be more than just the number-four CB in 2019.

Though he was drafted a round later than Awuzie in 2017, Lewis was generally considered the superior talent by most draft analysts. He fell due to a domestic violence accusation a month before the draft for which he was eventually found not guilty.

Jourdan was looking good at the end of his rookie season, but the arrival of Kris Richard as Defensive Backs Coach last year seemed to cause a regression. Lewis only got in on a little over 18% of the total defensive snaps in 2018, while the top three all had 67% or higher.

Despite his few opportunities, Lewis still had one of the biggest plays of the year with his interception that sealed Dallas' stunning upset over the New Orleans Saints. His potential has been noted, with Coach Richard even calling him an "exception" to his general preference for bigger, stronger cornerbacks.

But even if the team likes Jourdan, can he beat Awuzie or Brown? Could he perhaps have more value in a trade, with two years left on that rookie deal, to a team in greater need at CB?

Michael Jackson

CB Michael Jackson

The idea of moving Lewis, which existed prior to the draft, gained steam when Dallas used a 5th-round pick this year acquire CB Michael Jackson out of Miami. He fits that prototypical build at corner, and perhaps the Cowboys are hoping he can show enough early to provide an adequate replacement if they want to trade Jourdan.

If not Jackson, prospect Donovan Olumba is another option. He nearly made the 53 last year but got squeezed out when Dallas only kept four cornerbacks. After a year on the practice squad, Olumba is back and could be ready for a roster spot.

Veteran C.J. Goodwin has bounced around the NFL since 2014 but has some real-game experience. If the young guys aren't in a position to be game-day active, perhaps he would be the best option. Dallas added him in the middle of the 2018 season and he was helping on special teams and as a reserve corner at the end of the year.

Undrafted rookie Chris Westry, listed at 6'4", is another intriguing player to watch in camp. That rare size is something you can't teach, and hopefully Richard can develop Westry enough to get something out of the physical gifts.

This should be a fun 2019 training camp at cornerback, with competition potentially at every spot on the depth chart except the very top. And while secure at number-one, even Byron Jones has his own question marks around his long-term future in Dallas.

We'll start getting some answers in just four more days!

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OTHER 2019 CAMP PREVIEWS



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Cowboys DE DeMarcus Lawrence and CB Byron Jones to Start 2019 Camp on PUP

Jess Haynie

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DeMarcus Lawrence

The Dallas Cowboys will be missing two of their defensive leaders when they open 2019 training camp this Saturday. Defensive End DeMarcus Lawrence and Cornerback Byron Jones will both start camp on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) List as they recover from offseason surgeries.

Lawrence, who got a new five-year contract in April, immediately underwent shoulder surgery once his deal was finalized. DeMarcus reportedly was waiting for contract negotiations to be completed before he had the procedure.

Jones had hip surgery in late May. He is playing 2019 on the fifth-year option from his original contract, and is no doubt hoping for his own long-term extension sometime in the near future.

David Moore on Twitter

Sources: DeMarcus Lawrence and Byron Jones will open Cowboys camp on PUP and won't practice in California https://t.co/jzWV5FjBO6 via @sportsdaydfw

Neither Lawrence or Jones, who are both coming of Pro Bowl seasons in 2018, are expected to be absent once the regular season starts in September. But either participating in this year's training camp is doubtful, and even preseason appearances are in question right now.

With DeMarcus out at DE, newcomers like Robert Quinn and Kerry Hyder will get plenty of chances to show their stuff.  It's also a nice opportunity for Taco Charlton, assuming he's recovered from his own offseason surgery, to get some work against the first-team offensive line.

No Byron at CB will give Jourdan Lewis a nice opportunity to work with the starters as well. He was likely stuck at the 4th spot behind Jones, Chidobe Awuzie, and Anthony Brown but should now get more time on the field and against the best competition.



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