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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.

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REPORT: Cowboys Visiting With Free Agent S Eric Berry Tuesday

Brian Martin

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REPORT: Cowboys Visiting With Free Agent S Eric Berry Tuesday

According to Ian Rapoport, the Dallas Cowboys have a meeting scheduled to visit with Free Agent Safety Eric Berry Tuesday at The Star.

Ian Rapoport on Twitter

Source: Former #Chiefs S and new free agent Eric Berry is visiting the #Cowboys on Tuesday. His first visit. They have a need there...

Eric Berry has spent his entire career with the Kansas City Chiefs after they drafted him fifth overall in the 2010 NFL Draft. After signing Earl Thomas last week, the Chiefs decided to part ways with their former All-Pro Safety.

Berry, 30 is an intriguing free agent for the Dallas Cowboys. When healthy, he is arguably one of the best safeties in the league. Unfortunately, injuries have kept him off the field these last few seasons causing him to only start in only three games since 2016.

This is a move many of us expected to happen after the Cowboys decided not to get into a bidding war for Earl Thomas, a player linked to Dallas for over a year now. In Berry, Cowboys Nation would be getting a similar player with the same kind of red flags. Both Thomas and Berry have to be approached with caution due to their injury history the past few years.

Depending on his asking price, Eric Berry absolutely makes sense for the Dallas Cowboys. He would be an upgrade over Jeff Heath and would pair well with the Cowboys up-and-coming three-year safety Xavier Woods.

This is still just a visit, so we should probably get our hopes up that a signing is imminent. But, I think we can all agree Eric Berry is exactly the "right kind of guy" Jason Garrett is always preaching about. He's a cancer survivor, five-time Pro Bowler, and All-Pro player. What's not to like!?



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BREAKING: Dallas Cowboys Signed DE Kerry Hyder

Brian Martin

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BREAKING: Dallas Cowboys Signed DE Kerry Hyder

The Dallas Cowboys added more defensive line help today after signing former Detroit Lions Defensive End Kerry Hyder.

Kerry Hyder Jr. on Twitter

Going back to Texas! #CowboysNation

Kerry Hyder provides more depth at the defensive end position and as a chance to become the starter opposite DeMarcus Lawrence while Randy Gregory is out serving his suspension.

Hyder, 27 originally signed as an undrafted free agent out of Texas Tech with the New York Jets in 2014. He spent a year in New York before signing a future/reserve contract with the Detroit Lions in January 2015.

He had a breakout eight-sack year with the Lions in 2016, but tore his Achilles in 2017 causing him to miss the entire season. In 2018 he had just one quarterback sack after Detroit switched to a 3-4 defensive scheme.

Overall, this is a good depth signing by the Dallas Cowboys. Kerry Hyder has starting potential, but shouldn't keep the Cowboys from upgrading the position further through either another free agent signing for the draft.



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Dallas Cowboys 2019 Free Agency: Week One Recap

Jess Haynie

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Tavon Austin

It's been just a week since NFL free agents could begin negotiating with other teams, but it feels like a lifetime for anxious Cowboys fans. Dallas' seemingly passive approach to 2019 free agency has left many disappointed. Still, there are some moves to recap.

As has become their strategy in recent years, the Cowboys have focused on filling up their depth chart and trying to avoid any glaring holes prior to next month's draft. They've re-signed several backups and added at least one likely rotation player.

It's still far too early to judge Dallas' activity. Comparing the 2019 roster to last year will depend heavily on the draft, growth from current players, and other factors. But with the "second wave" of free agency upon us, it's a good time to look at who's come, gone, and stuck around so far.

New Arrivals

  • TE Jason Witten (unretired)
  • TE Codey McElroy (Rams)
  • DT Christian Covington (Texans)

The biggest addition so far this offseason wasn't even a free agent, at least not in the purest sense of the term. Jason Witten's surprising return from retirement helped shore up one of Dallas' biggest needs, though it may not preclude them from drafting a tight end high in April.

Also at tight end, Dallas signed developmental project Codey McElroy. His experience is in baseball and basketball, having played just one year of college football. But at 6'6'" and 255 lbs., and having spent last year working with the Rams, the Cowboys must see something they're intrigued by.

Last week Dallas signed Christian Covington, who had 3.5 sacks for Houston in 2018 playing as a 3-4 defensive end. He should move to DT in the Cowboys' scheme and should be a solid addition to their rotation.

Dallas Cowboys 2019 Free Agency: Week One Recap

Former Cowboys WR Cole Beasley, now with the Buffalo Bills. (Derek Gee/Buffalo News)

Departures

  • WR Cole Beasley (Bills)
  • TE Geoff Swaim (Jaguars)
  • DL David Irving (shenanigans)
  • LB Damien Wilson (Chiefs)

Beasley is heading to Buffalo on a four-year, $29 million deal. It appeared the relationship soured between Cole and Dallas over his playing time last year, and clearly the Cowboys didn't fight hard to keep him.

Damien Wilson followed Anthony Hitchens to Kansas City to help round out their linebacker corps. Once it was announced that Dallas was hanging on to Sean Lee in 2019, it was fairly certain that Wilson wouldn't be back.

Also not expected back was TE Geoff Swaim, who signed with Jacksonville. Even before Witten came back, Dallas appeared likely to stick with Blake Jarwin and Dalton Schultz for returning talent and then add an upgrade via free agency or the draft.

While still a free agent, nobody expects David Irving back in Dallas or even the NFL after recent activities. Irving appears focused on a Hollywood career and advocating for medical marijuana use at this point.

Keepers

  • FB Jamize Olawale
  • WR Tavon Austin
  • WR Allen Hurns (team option)
  • OT Cam Fleming
  • G/C Joe Looney (team option)
  • DE DeMarcus Lawrence (franchise tag)
  • DT Daniel Ross (ERFA)
  • LB Justin March-Lillard
  • S Darian Thompson

While Dallas put the franchise tag on prized pass rusher DeMarcus Lawrence, his return in 2019 is far from settled. Lawrence has previously sworn he wouldn't play under a second franchise tag this year, and last we heard the two sides are far apart on a long-term deal. Could a holdout be on the horizon?

The Cowboys doubled-down on WR depth by re-signing Tavon Austin and exercising their team option on Allen Hurns' contract. Both are able to play out of the slot, meaning we could see more of a rotation approach to replacing Cole Beasley next year.

Dallas also re-signed fullback Jamize Olawale, which was a surprise given his low usage rate last year. Perhaps the change to Kellen Moore at offensive coordinator was behind this one, hoping to take better advantage of Olawale's receiving skills going forward.

Joe Looney and Cam Fleming will also be back as valuable backups on the offensive line. Looney started 16 games last year at center and also helps at guard, while Fleming will be the swing tackle once again for his second season in Dallas.

On defense, Dallas kept Daniel Ross in their DT rotation after solid performance in 2018. Justin March-Lillard return at linebacker, particularly for his value on special teams. And Darian Thompson, a former third-round pick by the Giants, is back as an ongoing developmental player.

~ ~ ~

Today we're already seeing a flourish of free agent activity in Dallas. Reports this morning have them meeting with WR Randall Cobb and S Clayton Geathers, and we haven't even had lunch yet.

If this is any indication, next week's recap may have a lot more to discuss.



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