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Missed Opportunities Defined the Jason Garrett Era

The Dallas Cowboys have moved on from Jason Garrett. After four 8-8 seasons during his nine years at the helm, it was simply time for a fresh start. There were so many opportunities for the Cowboys to take the next step and compete for championships, but they could never get past the divisional round of the NFL playoffs.

In 2011, the Cowboys started slow out of the gate with a 2-3 record. They caught fire, though, by winning five of the next six games setting up a run to the playoffs in the last five weeks. Unfortunately, the team lost four of their final five games, including the season finale with the NFC East on the line when they took on the New York Giants and finished a disappointing 8-8.

The first half of the 2012 season was a nightmare with a 3-5 start. The next six weeks were fantastic for the franchise as they went 5-1 and at 8-6 were in the driver’s seat to win the division. Just like the year before, the Cowboys couldn’t find a way to capitalize and lost to the Washington Redskins with the NFC East crown on the line, finishing 8-8 once again.

2013 saw the Cowboys start 2-3 for the third consecutive season. They would follow up that slow start with five wins in their next seven games and found themselves in the perfect position to win the division crown. Unfortunately, the NFC East would belong to the Philadelphia Eagles as they squeaked by the Cowboys with a  24-22 victory, clinching the NFC East and leaving the Cowboys at 8-8 for the third year in a row.

2016 brought All-Pro Ezekiel Elliott and Quarterback Dak Prescott to the franchise, and the Cowboys took off. After losing the season opener to the Giants, the Cowboys won 11 straight games before they suffered another defeat, finishing 13-3 and winning the NFC East, locking up the number one seed. They would fall behind 21-3 to the Green Bay Packers in the divisional round before making a furious comeback. Late in the fourth quarter, the score was 31-31 when Aaron Rodgers found Jared Cook on a 3rd and 20 which set up Mason Crosby for the game-winning field goal. A season of tremendous promise ended without a single playoff win.

When the 2018 season rolled around, the Cowboys were looking to bounce back after a disappointing 9-7 campaign the year before. With a struggling offense looking to find it’s way, the Cowboys made a splash by giving up their first-round pick in 2019 to acquire Wide Receiver Amari Cooper, and the Cowboys took off. They won seven of their final nine games to finish 10-6 and win the NFC East for the third time in five years. After a hard-fought 24-22 victory over the Seattle Seahawks in the wild-card round, the Cowboys traveled to California to take on the Los Angeles Rams. It wouldn’t be a pleasant trip, though, as they lost 30-22 and saw another promising season go to waste.

2019 was supposed to be a trip back to the playoffs for the Cowboys, or so they thought. A fast 3-0 start gave them an early two-game lead in the division, however, they would lose the next three games and be searching for answers. Temporarily, they found what they were looking for by defeating the Giants and Eagles to improve to 5-3. They would alternate wins the next couple weeks before the final push for the postseason. It didn’t go as planned, though, as they lost four of their final six games to finish a disappointing 8-8 after leading the division for the majority of the season.

So as you can see, Garrett had plenty of opportunities to either make the playoffs or take the Cowboys deep into the postseason, and he could never get the job done. Granted, at some point, there has to be blame put on the players, coaches can only do so much. Even with that being true, the one constant since 2011 was Garrett, and as the head man in charge, you’re paid to figure things out.

In nine full seasons under Garrett, the Cowboys missed the playoffs six times. The three times he did make the postseason, as mentioned earlier, they never made it beyond the second round. It was time for a change and the Cowboys will now be guided by new Head Coach Mike McCarthy, who was hired just yesterday. Garrett just simply couldn’t get the job and his tenure will be remembered mostly for what could’ve been.

What do you think?

Matthew Lenix

Written by Matthew Lenix

I write dope stuff about the Dallas Cowboys and what not.

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