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Michael Lombardi Misses The Point With Unfair Jason Garrett Criticism

Sean Martin

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Michael Lombardi Misses The Point With Unfair Jason Garrett Criticism 1

Michael Lombardi is a former NFL scout, Director of Player Personnel, and General Manager turned media member over at The Ringer. If you follow the great Bryan Broaddus from the Dallas Cowboys' website, you've likely even seen Broaddus promote some of Lombardi's current NFL work.

He has the respect of many around the league.

All of this does little to distract Cowboys Nation from the fact that, on Lombardi's latest edition of his "GM Street" podcast, he - apparently from the friendly confines of NJ where Lombardi grew up and Jason Garrett attended Princeton University - opened the show with an incredibly off-target string of criticism towards the Cowboys' current head coach.

Jason Garrett

Cowboys training camp is right around the corner, meaning that there is now a short amount of time for national media outlets to hitch their wagons to whatever flaming hot take on America's Team they want to be able to promote prior to the team returning to action.

If Michael Lombardi truly believes everything he said about Jason Garrett, he is going to be in for a long season regardless of Dallas' record following a 13-3 season in 2016.

"Jason Garrett been a head coach for six years. He’s 50 years old. He’s going to be 51 next year. He should be in the prime of his head coaching career. Instead, he’s made two playoffs. I mean he goes 12-4. Then he goes 13-3 last year and he loses at home to a bad Green Bay defense." - Lombardi on the GM Street podcast

This was Lombardi's first chance to actually say something coherent when it comes to a real issue the Cowboys have had, in that the team has not put together consecutive winning seasons since 2008-2009. Instead, Lombardi takes aim at Garrett's two best seasons as the Cowboys' Head Coach by pointing out the playoff losses to Green Bay.

Despite being on the verge of two NFC Championship games, reaching the playoffs this year with an unprecedented fourth round draft pick under center, Garrett cannot possibly be entering his prime with the team he's reversed from old and hopeless to young and exciting according to Lombardi.

Anyone at all that's followed the Cowboys at almost any time knows this team is in better condition from top to bottom as a contender than ever before, as young stars all over the roster prepare to enter their own primes with a supposed past-his-prime coach.

Of course, these claims by Lombardi become even more ridiculous when taking a closer look at the NFL's reigning Coach of the Year, considering the endless praise he's received in Dallas from the front office and players alike. Lombardi should know these things, but chose to double down on his misguided rant by offering this:

"I don’t see Jason besides clapping and cheering players..."

This is inexcusably bad. To admit that you've only seen Jason Garrett clap and cheer on his players is to admit that you've formed your opinion on him solely by watching Garrett coach on TV. Lombardi is clearly better than this when you consider his background and experience in the media field, but missing the point this much on Jason Garrett is laughable once you try moving past the fact he admitted above to really not having a grasp on his Cowboys' situation.

Michael Lombardi Misses The Point With Unfair Jason Garrett Criticism

An even deeper look at what has accelerated the Cowboys near the top of the NFL world shows a dynamic connection from Jerry Jones and the top of the front office to Will McClay and Stephen Jones down to Jason Garrett. Every part of this Dallas team has worked in harmony over the past seasons to turn over a roster that is now ready to win. Jerry himself has expressed multiple times that he believes Jason Garrett is a leader the Cowboys can win with, but once again don't tell this to Lombardi.

"If I'm Jerry I'm nervous, the guy that's always lurking around the corner is Sean Payton"

Sean Payton. The Saints' Head Coach that has had stability at QB with Drew Brees throughout his career only to manage three consecutive 7-9 seasons.

Marcus Mosher on Twitter

Former GM Michael Lombardi on Jason Garrett: " When you watch him coach, you never really get the sense that he's in control of the game.

One could argue that Dak Prescott provides the most stability at QB for Garrett's Cowboys over his tenure, and even still Jason dealt with his team's rotation of signal callers behind the injured Tony Romo in 2015 the best he could before bouncing back as the NFC's top seed following a Romo injury the next season.

Jason Garrett absolutely still has a chance to enter his prime with the Cowboys. Mr. Process himself deserves a chance to see things through since his first year in 2010, and he is just weeks away from getting the chance to take the same core from a 13-3 team a year ago into 2017 in search of Dallas' elusive sixth Super Bowl.

If you read this and smiled, you're in the right spot ahead of Cowboys training camp and the preseason. This team is going to be fine, thanks in large part to the efforts of Jason Garrett. Let's not listen to Michael Lombardi.

Tell us what you think about "Michael Lombardi Misses The Point With Unfair Jason Garrett Criticism" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!



Born January 28th, 1996- Cowboys Super Bowl XXX. Point Boro Panther, Montclair State Red Hawk, and most importantly a proud member of Cowboys Nation! I host "Upon Further Review" on 90.3 WMSC FM and wmscradio.com every Friday from 1-4 PM ET. Twitter: @SeanMartinNFL.

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4 Comments
  • Mauricio Rodriguez

    These comments from Lombardi make no sense. I think what I hated the most was mentioning Sean Payton. Glad you’re out here defending Cowboys Nation, Sean.

    • https://InsideTheStar.com Sean Martin

      Glad you’re with us as well, the whole thing from Lombardi comes off as senseless.

  • Don

    I agree with y’all it is senseless. I’m tired of hearing the Peyton to the Cowboys notion as well. As I’m on my rant I would like to add that I’m even more tired of Adam Sheifter (sp) reporting almost daily that the NFL is probably going to hand out some kind of suspension on Zeke. Mickey Spagnola on a local radio show this week said he was tired of hearing it from him and felt it was his unfounded fishing stirring the pot. I as many others are tired of hearing about it .The NFL dragging this out for a year now is totally ridiculous when by now thru all the media outlets we know as much as they do and nothing more. The Cowboy camp says they don’t know of anything impending but I’m sure they want it to be over with as well.

  • ThePsychodad69

    He’s a parasite, the Browns are so dysfunctional he was hired twice and happened to be with the 49ers and Pats when they won SB’s. Garrett earned 2 as a player.

    He’s now a talkinghead @ what seems to be a National Inquirer of sports. He’s in his prime and nobody wants him. With a face like his he needs to stick to radio.

Star Blog

How Should The Cowboys, And The NFL, Value RBs?

Kevin Brady

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Will Cowboys' Offense Improve With Ezekiel Elliott's Return?
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

There is no one, stand-alone "best" strategy for winning in the NFL. There are, of course, common themes and ideals which run true year in and year out among the top teams.

Strategy in the NFL is dynamic, or at least it should be. Running in place for too long under the same leadership often breeds mediocrity, and refusing to move with current trends can put you at a severe disadvantage.

Succumbing to those trends without fully analyzing the confounding factors your situation presents, however, can also ruin a team building exercise.

With that being said, should teams pay elite running backs top dollar? Or are those running backs expendable, replaceable, and often forgettable within the NFL machine?

To be honest these aren't very fair ways to pose legitimately interesting questions. You can acknowledge that a running back is important to your offense while also acknowledging that you don't want to break the bank for a position with such injury risk and high turnover year-to-year.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are currently facing this dilemma, as their star running back Le'Veon Bell asks to be paid like an elite "weapon," not as a normal running back. And when you examine how the Steelers deploy Bell within their offense, he clearly has a point.

Bell is not your traditional "running back." He lines up on the boundary, in the slot, and is a passing threat out of the backfield as well. On top of all of this versatility, Bell is an excellent pass protector, something which is often lost among other "versatile" backs.

Bell can quite literally do it all for an offense, but the idea of paying that position elite-level money makes teams cringe. As The Athletic's Marcus Mosher pointed out on Twitter, teams like the New England Patriots have been able to replicate Bell's production by using multiple speciality backs rather than one workhorse.

In theory, this takes away the injury risk component to a certain extent. Rather than giving one player 350-400 touches per season, you spread those touches out and allow for players to do what they do best.

Lately, the NFL has seemed to agree that this is the most efficient way to play offense. But when you have a player like Bell or Ezekiel Elliott, in what way is taking the ball out of their hands "efficient" at all? In addition, how is using three players to mimic the skill set of one efficient?

Yes, the NFL is a passing league, but when you have a playmaker who is of the caliber of a Bell or an Elliott, it is up to the offense to deploy in him ways that maximize his value. Teams should be using the Bells and Elliotts of the world as pass catching threats and as weapons all over the field. Force the entire defense to account for your running back rather than just jamming him between the tackles like it's 1975.

The movement towards "running back by committee" rather than the traditional one-back system can also be credited to the lack of workhorse-worthy backs entering the league.

Ezekiel Elliotts don't grow on trees, they are rare and special players. And when you have one, especially when you spend a premium pick on him, you should get the most out of him that you can. Playing winning offense in the NFL is about more than just "do you run or do you pass," and it often hinges on creating splash plays of 15-20 yards.

If you can get those plays through the use of an elite running back, that player becomes intrinsically valuable to your team. No matter what "position" he is labeled as. Of course you want to be able create mismatches in the passing game all over the field, so when you are able to do this with a running back, shouldn't that be deemed as highly valuable?

We can't say just yet if the Cowboys should re-sign Ezekiel Elliott once he enters free agency. After all, five seasons (and a franchise tag year) where he touches the ball more than most players in the league will almost certainly bring about some wear and tear.

But with the way the Cowboys have chosen to play offense, and the way in which they've built their roster, a workhorse back like Elliott is necessary for success.

Once again, at least it is for now.



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Star Blog

Is DE Kony Ealy At Risk Of Not Making Cowboys Final Roster?

Kevin Brady

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Sean's Scout: As Late FA Signing, New DE Kony Ealy Brings Value at DE

As training camp approaches and we draw closer to the 2018 NFL season, fans are beginning to get excited for new faces, old stars, and new beginnings for the Dallas Cowboys.

One player which has been a bit forgotten about over the last few months, and even overlooked when he was first signed back in April, is defensive end Kony Ealy. Of course, some of this overlooking is justified, as Ealy's career has been filled with more valleys than peaks thus far.

With a fresh start in Dallas, though, some expect Kony Ealy to rekindle his career, and look like the player he was during the Panthers' Super Bowl 50 loss just a few seasons ago. The problem is, that game looks like the outlier and not the norm over his professional career.

Originally drafted by the Carolina Panthers, Ealy has had a shaky start to his career. Now joining his third team in the same number of seasons, it's certainly fair to say he hasn't lived up to his second round draft selection.

At 6'4" and 275 pounds, however, Ealy fits the mold of a 4-3 defensive end in the Cowboys' scheme. While he isn't the explosive pass rusher that other players on the roster are (and can be), he could provide solid rotational depth across the defensive line.

With fellow former second round pick Randy Gregory gaining reinstatement to the NFL this week, Ealy could struggle to salvage any real playing time with the Cowboys at all. Gregory, DeMarcus Lawrence, Tyrone Crawford, and Taco Charlton all feel like locks to make the team.

Then there is 2018 day three pick Dorance Armstrong and former fourth round pick Charles Tapper providing competition as well.

Tapper and Armstrong are unproven, but have the athletic profiles to become solid edge rushers at the professional level. For both, especially Tapper, health is of the upmost concern going forward. If Tapper can remain healthy, he has a real shot of making the team and having his impact felt as early as 2018.

That "if" has been a serious one thus far, however.

When the Cowboys first signed Kony Ealy back in April, I really believed he could provide solid and cheap depth along their defensive line. Now in July, I still have those beliefs, but it's become fair to question if he will even find himself on the final 53-man roster based on the competition around him.



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Star Blog

Can Connor Williams Follow in Zack Martin’s Footsteps?

Brian Martin

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Can Connor Williams Follow in Zack Martin's Footsteps?

Connor Williams has yet to play a single snap the NFL, but there are already some pretty high expectations for the rookie Guard. That's because he will be sandwiched between two Pro Bowl players in Center Travis Frederick and Left Tackle Tyron Smith. But, it's the Dallas Cowboys third Pro Bowl offensive lineman Williams should try to emulate and follow in the footsteps of.

Yes, I'm talking about Zack Martin.

Zack Martin's career couldn't have gotten off to a better start coming out of Notre Dame. He hit the ground running as a rookie with the Cowboys and put together a dominating performance his first year in the NFL, earning his first Pro Bowl bid as well as being named to the All-Pro team. He continued to play at a high level ever since and has not only turned into the best player at his position, but continued his Pro Bowl streak every season since entering the league.

To ask, or even expect Connor Williams to have the same kind of immediate success as Zack Martin is probably a little unfair, if not impossible. The kind of success Martin has had already in his career is almost unheard of. But, that's not to say Williams isn't going to try to follow in Martin's footsteps and to become the best player he can.

Zack Martin

Dallas Cowboys OG Zack Martin

The footsteps I think Connor Williams should try to follow as it pertains to Zack Martin is how well he made the transition from a collegiate Offensive Tackle to an NFL Guard. I think that should be Williams' main focus right now with training camp coming up.

Williams will be inserted into the starting lineup as the Cowboys new Left Guard. It will be a new position for him after playing mainly Tackle at the University of Texas, that will require an entirely new mindset and technique. But, it's in transition I believe he can make rather smoothly.

Connor Williams should benefit from Zack Martin's similar transition from college OT to an NFL OG. I wouldn't be surprised if we see the rookie shadowing Martin throughout training camp to soak up as much knowledge as possible. It's probably the best way for him to jumpstart his career.

Now, I fully expect to see some growing pains from Williams throughout the 2018 season. It's to be expected from any rookie, especially one transitioning to a new position. But, I do believe he will not only be an upgrade at LG for the Cowboys, but will make the entire OL even better.

I don't know about you, but I'm excited to see what kind of player Connor Williams ends up being this season.

Do you think Connor Williams can follow in Zack Martin's footsteps?



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