This Sunday's game between the Cowboys and Redskins could, and probably will, be Jason Garrett's last game as Dallas' head coach. There is a strong possibility that the Cowboys will finish the season 8-8 and narrowly miss the playoffs, and that would be a fitting end to Garrett's coaching tenure. It would bring things full circle from how his head coaching career began.
From 2011-2013, Garrett's first full seasons as Cowboys head coach, Dallas finished each year with an 8-8 record. The general theme of blowing opportunities to win the NFC East or qualify for a wild card spot with bad December losses was constant during those seasons.
Things picked up from there. The Cowboys went 12-4 in 2014 and were eliminated from the playoffs in the infamous “Dez caught it” game in Green Bay. But even in defeat, there's was the feeling that Garrett's Cowboys had finally come through a rebuilding phase and would now be a consistent threat in the NFC.
We've seen how things unfolded. Romo's injury wrecked the 2015 season, then we had the arrival of Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott in 2016. Then came the issues with Zeke's suspension in 2017, then the Amari Cooper trade last season. It's been a period of highs and lows for a while now.
As we get ready to close out 2019, Dallas sits at 7-8 with a home game against woeful Washington. Despite last week's letdown loss in Philadelphia, the Cowboys could still get into the playoffs by beating the Redskins and having the Eagles drop their finale in New York.
The Eagles have been up and down enough this year that anything could still happen. But if the favored teams handle their business this week, Philadelphia will be NFC East Champions and playing next week in the wild card round. The Cowboys' season will be over.
Another 8-8 finish, another year of barely missing the playoffs; it will be the full circle finish to Jason Garrett's time with the Dallas Cowboys.
The Cowboys' front office has made it clear that the 2019 season would need to be an impressive one for Garrett to get a new contract. His current deal is up after the year and Jason coached this year in “lame duck” status.
Even if Dallas winds up making the tournament, it's hard to see them as anything but an easy matchup for some superior NFC Team. Outside of their victory in Week 15 over the Rams, the Cowboys have come up short against any other quality opponent they've faced.
Barring the most Disney-worthy outcome imaginable this is probably Garrett's last regular-season game with the Cowboys. Assuming the Eagles beat the Giants, he could easily be fired on Black Monday next week.
For my money, Jason Garrett is not a bad football coach. With the right coordinators behind him, I think Jason could coach a team to the Super Bowl one day. He has the leadership and motivating ability to do so.
But Garrett is no longer the right coach for the Dallas Cowboys.
Jason's not a strong enough personality to deal with Jerry Jones above him or incompetence below him. The Cowboys need almost a full overhaul at this point of their coaching staff and Garrett needs to go with them; he can't handle that much change.
Much like those 2011-2013 seasons with Tony Romo at the helm, 2019 appears to be ending with crushing disappointment despite great play from Dak Prescott. Garrett's tenure will be defined by unmet expectations and the perceived wasting of talented players.
It's been a dismal decade, and only the most incredible of endings could save Jason Garrett now. But if the last nine seasons have taught us anything, Garrett isn't a guy who pulls off the incredible.