Next Day Rant: Jason Garrett Deserves Credit for Season Turnaround

    After three-straight victories and taking the lead in the East, things are looking up for the . Credit goes to a lot of different people, but none should get more than .

    Three NFL weeks ago, the Cowboys came out of their and fell flat against the on . The drop to 3-5 felt insurmountable given their ongoing offensive woes, especially coming off a loss to the division-leading .

    We've seen this scenario go a different way so many times. A coach who's been in place for several years and a team that isn't performing; so often we see the players “tune out” and stop playing with effort or discipline.

    Garrett's Cowboys have never been a team that didn't try their best. Even at their worst, the team plays hard. That is often lost in the miscues, mistakes, and mismatches that have led to losses along the way. You can't say that Jason doesn't have his guys motivated to win.

    Ultimately, that's what being the head coach is all about. Scott Linehan, , and are in charge of calling the plays and preparing the game day strategies. But the team's overall mood and mentality, that's Jason Garrett's job.

    That's why Garrett is constantly clapping, because it promotes a consistency of positive spirit and atmosphere. Nobody out there wants to fail and the average person doesn't respond to being berated. The days of treating your football team like a military unit are over; modern players don't tick that way.

    Report: Jason Garrett "Not Going Anywhere" with Possible Extension Coming Soon
    Dallas Cowboys QB , coach Jason Garrett

    Jason was an NFL player until 2004. As a 38-year-old backup , he got to sit on the other side of the locker room and see the personality shift as players from the next generation came in. These weren't the same kind of guys he played with in the early 90s.

    Now it's another 14 years later, and the kids on Garrett's current roster are even further down the road of societal change. After final cuts in 2018, the Cowboys had the third-youngest team in the NFL.

    You can imagine how many times those players saw articles and segments about their head coach potentially being fired. And after those two ugly losses to Washington and Tennessee, even we were starting to believe that might finally give up on Garrett.

    But in Week 10, on the road in Philadelphia, the Dallas Cowboys didn't surrender. With two teams playing to preserve their season, it was Jason Garrett's team who outlasted the defending Champions.

    A week later, on the road again, the Cowboys faced another do-or-die situation against the Falcons. Both teams were 4-5 and trying to stay alive, and Garrett's guys persevered in a slugfest.

    Things were feeling up, but wasn't ready to believe just yet. Many thought yesterday's game would be the big letdown; all that talk about saving the season going out the window with an ugly disappointment against the Redskins.

    Dak Prescott, Redskins

    But the Dallas Cowboys didn't let you down yesterday. They put their foot on the neck of a division rival and took control of their own playoff destiny.

    Credit Rod Marinelli and Kris Richard for up one of the league's best defenses in spite of youth. Watching rookie shine out there is as much about his own natural ability as it is a testament to the men preparing him for games, which includes injured veteran .

    Credit Scott Linehan for improving as the season goes along. He still makes you shake your head at times, but he seems to have finally found the right mix with this .

    Featuring heavily works? Hey, what a surprise!

    (Sorry, I had to.)

    Speaking of, credit Zeke for taking a role on offense. More of a comedian than spokesman in 2016 and stifled by his in 2017, Elliott has stepped up majorly in the locker room this year. It's nice when one of your biggest personalities is a guy who can back it up consistently on the field.

    Credit whoever was responsible for dumping as Coach and promoting . It's not easy to admit a mistake, especially just seven weeks into the year, but Alexander's style clearly wasn't working and the change has yielded clearly positive results quickly.

    Credit Dak Prescott for not letting criticism and failure get the better of him. From the legitimate and objective complaints to the lingering animosity of truthers, Dak is up against it in one of the toughest jobs in professional sports. But the Cowboys QB has been getting better by the week.

    Credit the Joneses for going out and making the big move to help their offense by trading for . So far, that decision is reaping big rewards.

    Next Day Rant: Jason Garrett Deserves Credit for Season Turnaround
    Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett (Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports)

    But in the end, all of that is a product of what Jason Garrett has been building in Dallas since 2010. Players want to give their best for him, even when things aren't looking pretty. The wants to keep making moves to support him, even if it costs them a future first-round pick.

    That's how you get a three-game win streak in November, with two road games and two division rivals in the mix, after a 3-5 start.

    Say what you want about Garrett's mastery of time clocks and challenge flags, but he's a natural leader. He knows how to set the mood for his group and also how to reach individuals. He's a master motivator.

    We can argue all day about what the key merits of an NFL head coach are. You might still want that “in your face” guy, and that's fine. But just make sure your basing that on the modern era of football, and not your memories of .

    Jason Garrett has pulled one of the NFL's youngest, least experienced teams from the brink of disaster and put them in the driver seat of their division. That's a head coach you can believe in, much like Jerry Jones clearly does.

    If it all goes to crap from here then, of course, we can revisit this topic. I'm not claiming the guy is perfect, and I was pretty close to jumping off the wagon earlier this year.

    But these last three games have reminded me why I've stood by Garrett throughout his tenure. I believe in his overall message and handling of players, and I think it lays the right foundation for a winning team.

    Hopefully, by the end of this year, that faith will be even more rewarded.

    Jess Haynie
    Jess Haynie
    Cowboys fan since 1992, blogger since 2011. Bringing you the objectivity of an outside perspective with the passion of a die-hard fan. I love to talk to my readers, so please comment on any article and I'll be sure to respond!


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    Chuck Wright

    only reason the cowboys needed to “turn around” is an inept offensive game plan all year. We have left 2-4 wins due to our lack of offensive scheme. Why would we give JG credit for Cooper? And make no mistake, this team is different with Cooper.

    Steven Jones deserves more credit that anyone.

    Kevin Black

    Before you give Steven too much credit, it was Steven who wanted to jettison Bryant. Garrett was the last one told about this move and he was dead set against it. He knew he needed a No. 1 receiver, but Steven, Will and Jerry out voted him, although I think Steven influenced JJ. So the Cooper move was an admission by Steven that letting go Bryant might not have been the best idea without a replacement in hand.

    Chuck Wright

    Hmmmm, JG wanted to keep Dez? speaks volumes to me of bad judgement, the man was a freaking cancer. Only mistake there was not getting cooper earlier. Scotty L must go, he’s holding the team back. Good riddance to Dez, sign Cooper with the funds freed up letting Dez go.

    Kevin Black

    Garrett wanted Daz to try and keep offenses honest. Steven felt he was a distraction. Both opinions have validity.


    Garrett and Dak are NOT off the hook!!!! My main problem is the Cowboys doi NOT make adjustments at half time and the CREATIVITY is not consistent!!! Dak is a GREAT BACK UP and Garrett is a good OFF COORDINATOR but neither should in CHARGE!! Even IF they make the playoffs they are in a VERY WEAK DIVISION THIS YEAR! Stranger things have happened like a 9-7 Giants team making the SB and beat Tom terrific that went 18-1 but that IS STRANGE!!!!

    Kevin Black

    There’s more creativity than people give Linehan credit for. There were several plays left out there that did what they needed to do, but the OL breakdowns kept some of it from happening and Dak missing the free man due to having people in his vision also contributed. Is he McVay? No. Not many are, otherwise every team would have one. Although if Linehan was McVay, he’d be tagged as a HC and you wouldn’t have him anyways.

    Now that we have Cooper, you are seeing more space and more creativity, but some of that is also due to the OL handling things up front much better than before. I think more credit needs to go to Columbo than any one else. Dak finally has more time and space to work with. Zeke definitely has benefited from the move.

    Bruce Hood

    Kevin Black you’re making great since. Ddenny1 please reevaluate what you’re seeing and saying. Dak will be better based on the OL getting its act together. I still don’t have confidence in Garrett because of 8 years at the helm with no real consistent success. He is what he is a coordinator. Our major problem is JJ who is so full of himself and wants credit for everything except being the problem. The only owner who wants and stays in the limelight and really doesn’t have a pedigree for football. That’s why smart owner hire football minds that can produce with consistency and win Super bowls. I believe Dak will be successful with the right football mind around him.

    Kevin Black

    I agree with much of what you are saying, but know that Jerry Jones is going no where, I’m not sure there is a better HC than Garrett. Jason clearly knows how to navigate the Jonestown political scene. Steven, Will and Jason seem to have the team headed in the right direction given the limitation of having JJ at the top.

    Kevin Black

    Sorry, but not every team can have a Bill Belichek. If a team plays hard for your coach, that’s a HUGE talent. Garrett might play a bit conservative in some situations, but he’s willing to be aggressive when he feels his team doesn’t match up well. He’s not perfect, but you won’t get perfect with Jerry Jones and JJ isn’t going anywhere. Garrett is the head coach here for a while. Might as well get used to it.