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.
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.