When you’re the coach of America's most popular sports team, you can count on being the most ridiculously scrutinized coach in every way possible. Every single thing he says, does; places he goes, people will have something to say about it. Jason Garrett should be use to it by now, so to see people say he's not a good coach is one thing, but to say he's one of the worst in the league... Really?
Jason Garrett has been the head coach since the midway point of the 2010 season, after taking over for Wade Phillips. JG had never been a head coach before - as most of you know - and since 2010 his actions and lack thereof have made many people scratch their heads and wonder 'what the heck is this guy doing?'
I’ll be the first one to admit it - I’ve wondered about this guy.
Remember the Ravens game in 2012? What about the Cardinals game where he iced his own kicker and lost the game. That’s just two samples of more than a few, and he deserved the flack he caught from those mistakes.
Although he’s made mistakes, is he really one of the worst coaches in the NFL?
Mike Sando from ESPN took a poll with 30 NFL insiders (ESPN Insider members can find a link to the original piece on DallasNews.com's article) and revealed that Garrett was viewed as one of the worst head coaches in the league - #30 out of 32 to be exact. If this poll was given to fans, okay, I'd expect that kind of result. But to give this poll to people who get paid to be NFL insiders and still get those results? Folks, that’s comical, really it is.
Please understand that I’ve used some colorful words before and after Jason Garrett's name. Words that we teach our children to never say and words our mothers somehow never failed to understand as, "I'll have a bar of soap, please."
So I’m not going to sit here and say JG is the best head coach in this league, but I’m certainly not saying he is one of the worst coaches either.
I’ve been watching football since I was about five years old, and really started studying the game at the age of 8, so that’s 37 years of watching this wonderful game. I’ve seen the good, the bad, and the ugly more than a few times. I'd like to think I know a thing or two about it. In saying that, there is no way that Jason Garrett is one of the worst coaches in the National Football League.
Now some of you agree with that poll, and that’s fine. I understand. I get it. You look at the bottom line, wins and losses, right? And there’s nothing wrong with looking at it like that. It's just that things are never as black and white as they seem.
Jason Garrett has led this team to three consecutive 8-8 seasons; can’t get more mediocre than that. Now is Jason Garrett solely responsible for that? No, he’s not. Does he have a hand in it? Yes, of course he does.
But let’s take a gander at some of the things that have happened that Jason Garrett has to deal with.
Take a look at the 2010 roster, when Garrett took over.
- An aging offensive line that was on their last leg.
- A 2009 draft class that was an absolute joke.
- A defensive scheme everyone had figured out.
- Not to mention players who should have retired already or shouldn’t have even been on the team in the first place.
So he basically inherited a hot mess. Now, take a look at the 2011 roster.
- You still see an older player here or there, but you should start to notice a lot of the players who shouldn’t have been on the team to begin with are starting to disappear.
- But still, this roster had holes on the offensive line, defensive line, at safety and at corner.
- And to top it all off, he had to deal with a huge number of injuries.
However, in week 17 of the 2011 season, the Cowboys still had a chance to win the NFC East and get into the playoffs.
Now go look at the 2012 roster and 2013 roster. You see not only new players, but you see new players with talent. But you should also see the number of guys the team had to bring in because of so many injuries in 2012 and 2013. But again, he was able to lead the team into week 17 of both seasons with a chance to win the division and get in the playoffs.
People are upset that this team didn’t do better because of all the so-called talent the Cowboys have had.
But I ask you to really look hard at those rosters. Yes, you see some good skill-position players but look on the defensive line and in the secondary. Heck, look at the offensive line during that time. Yeah we had Tyron Smith, but who else was there before Travis Frederick last season? A mess, that’s what was there.
Jason Garrett, for all the faults he has, was still able to get the most out of each team, each season, to where they had a chance to make the tournament. No matter the injuries or for rebuilding the roster, he was able to get this team to a point where they had a chance.
People are angry about the .500 records and I laugh at that because I think this team was lucky to get 8, thanks to injuries and a lack of talent.
Besides a roster that was declining and the countless number of injuries, he’s had to deal with Jerry Jones. I love Jerry but let’s be honest - Jerry has made some horrible choices on players, and on how he wants this team run. Not to mention all the eye rolling comments that come out of his mouth, especially as of late.
Now you tell me, is a coach that’s had to rebuild his roster, overcome dozens of injuries - not just to starters mind you, but 2nd and 3rd string players as well - put up with an owner some believe is in dire need of institutionalization, and somehow leads this team to the brink of the playoffs each of the last three seasons; is he really one of the worst coaches in the league?
I think you all know the answer to that. Follow me on Twitter (@bleatherman2011)
Jaguars Waive Barry Church; Could Cowboys Bring Him Back?
Veteran safety Barry Church was released today by the Jacksonville Jaguars. Could he return home to the Dallas Cowboys, where he spent his first seven seasons?
Despite his leadership and consistency on defense, Dallas allowed Church to leave in free agency when Jacksonville gave him a lucrative deal. But if he clears waivers, could the Cowboys consider bring him back for depth and support during their likely playoff run?
Jane Slater of the NFL Network reported on this potential reunion:
Cowboys haven't reached out to S Barry Church but I'm told they are discussing the possibility of bringing him back to Dallas according to a source informed. Church, 30, was released by the Jags today and is familiar with the system having played there from 2010-2016.
The Cowboys have had solid play from their current starting safeties, Jeff Heath and Xavier Woods. Neither is a star, but the duo has not been a liability during the team's current five-game winning streak.
Church was a similar player, reliable if never exceptional, during his time in Dallas. He could be a nice insurance policy for the playoffs if something happened to one of the starters.
Barry knows the system. He never played for Kris Richard, but he was with Rod Marinelli for three seasons before leaving in free agency.
According to reports out of Jacksonville, Church is being released because the team wants to go with younger, cheaper players now that their season is over. There is no known injury keeping Barry from playing.
Of course, Dallas would have to make room on the roster to pick Church up. They could third-year prospect Darian Thompson, who is the current fourth man at safety.
Barry Church must now go through the 24-hour waiver process. A team may claim him, including the Cowboys. We'll see what the future holds.
How the Dallas Cowboys Can Win the NFC East This Week
It's only Week 15, but the Dallas Cowboys could become the 2018 NFC East Champions this week through a couple of scenarios. I thought we'd take a moment today to break down how the Boys can win their division and assure their spot in the playoffs.
With three weeks left in the regular season, most of the divisional games have already been played. The only two left to play are the Week 17 finales; Cowboys at Giants and Eagles at Redskins.
Here are the current standings:
- Dallas Cowboys 8-5 (4-1 in division)
- Philadelphia Eagles 6-7 (3-2 in division)
- Washington Redskins 6-7 (2-3 in division)
- New York Giants 5-8 (1-4 in division)
The Giants have been scrappy lately, winning four of their last five, but it's too late for them to try to win the division. Even if the Cowboys were to fall to 8-8, the best New York could do is tie them in overall record. They would have also split their head-to-head series, negating that tiebreaker.
At that point, it would come down to the record within the division. New York would improve to 2-4 with a win over Dallas in Week 17, but the Cowboys would still be 4-2 against the NFC East. Dallas would still be the division champion.
So, that knocks out New York. Technically, the Eagles and Redskins are still alive. But their margin is about as slim as it gets.
Both Philadelphia and Washington need the Cowboys to lose their last three games, and then to also win out themselves, to steal the NFC East crown.
For the Redskins, it's about their record against division opponents. The best they can finish is 3-3, assuming they'd win their last game against the Eagles. With the head-to-head series against Dallas split this year, they would have to finish 9-7 overall and have the Cowboys drop to 8-8 to become NFC East Champions.
The Eagles also need to finish one game ahead of Dallas, but for a different reason. Philadelphia lost both their games with the Cowboys this year, so Dallas has the head-to-head tiebreaker.
So that really makes thing simple for Dallas; win just one of your last three games and you're the division champion.
Not only that, but even if Dallas were to fall this week against the Indianapolis Colts, they could still clinch the division with losses by the Eagles (@ Rams) and Redskins (@ Jaguars).
It would certainly behoove the Cowboys to get the division locked up now. They could then use the last two weeks of the season to get ready for the playoffs.
Dallas would have the freedom rest banged up players like Ezekiel Elliott and Zack Martin. It would also allow them to work in returning players such as Sean Lee and Tavon Austin and figure out their new rotations without pressure to win.
Beating the Colts on Sunday isn't a given; they're at home and desperate to stay alive in the AFC playoff picture. They are the toughest opponent Dallas has left until January.
But despite that, with the Eagles facing a juggernaut team and Washington trying to play football without a quarterback, there's a great chance that the Cowboys will be the NFC East Champions by Sunday night.
#INDvsDAL: How The Game May Be Decided In The Red Zone
In many ways the Dallas Cowboys offense has found their stride in recent weeks. Over this five game win streak they have "found their identity" playing ball control offense and trusting their quarterback to make big throws when needed most. Of course the defense has been the star most weeks, but this offense should not be slept on either.
This doesn't mean the offense has been without their fair share of struggles, however, particularly in the red zone. Struggles that the numbers say could cost the Cowboys this weeks' game in Indianapolis if they don't get it cleaned up.
In terms of red zone offensive efficiency the Cowboys have been downright horrendous. In fact, they are dead-last in the league in success rate inside the 10 yard line, last in first-and-goal success rate, and 21st in success rate between the 11 and 20 yard lines.
There's no sugar-coating those numbers, they are bad. Especially when you consider that this team has arguably the league's best running back and a quarterback with the size and athleticism you might expect from a linebacker.
For as bad as the Cowboys are inside the red zone, the Colts are equally as good. Indianapolis is top 10 in terms of success rate inside the 10, at the goal line, and in first-and-goal success rate. They are also 11th in success rate between the 11 and 20 yard lines.
Despite not having the individual running back the Cowboys have, the Colts offensive line and skill players as a whole set them up a bit better when the field is shortened. Tight end Eric Ebron has been rather incredible in terms of production this season, catching 12 touchdowns on 58 receptions. Andrew Luck is also a more accurate quarterback than Dak Prescott, though Prescott should be a much more dangerous red zone threat than he currently is.
I am working on the Cowboys 32nd ranked Goal-to-Go offensive numbers. They have run 35 of their 59 total plays out of Shotgun-11 Personnel. In those 35 plays, the average gain per snap is....12 INCHES. I am not kidding. They could out-gain that by running QB sneaks. I am amazed.
Of course, some of the Cowboys red zone struggles can be pinned on offensive coordinator Scott Linehan. Linehan has failed to scheme open the "easy" red zone touchdowns we see so often around the league. As pointed out by Bob Sturm on Twitter this week, the Cowboys' personnel groupings and play calls when in goal-to-go situations have been questionable to say the least. But while blame does fall on the coaches' shoulders, the players need to execute better as well.
Games in the NFL often come down to just a handful of plays, and red zone efficiency plays a key role in deciding the outcome of close games every week. If this is once again the case on Sunday, based on past performance, the Dallas Cowboys could be in trouble against the efficient Colts.
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