As happy as I was that the Dallas Cowboys relieved themselves of Brian Stewart as DC. I was forced to make a decision on what I felt about Jason Garrett. The longer the day went on Friday the more it was becoming clear that the St.Louis Rams were about to hire away Jason Garrett. Now myself and Lee have had some very choice words for Mr. Garrett this year, and at the end of the season I was ready for a change with the OC. However when it came down to it actually happening, I must admit I was having second thoughts!
Now as we all know now Jason Garrett did not get the job in St.Louis, and the Cowboys will not be looking for a new OC (unless Jerry decides he just cannot make another year with Wade Phillips as HC). I was very relieved to hear that Jason would not be going anywhere, but why? To find out I decided to do some soul-searching to find the answers to my questions.
My first thought on Jason and the job he did this year was, what did he do differently this year versus last? His play calling tendencies changed very little! is this what happened to the offense? Did the rest of the league catch up to what he does, or did he just become to predictable and refuse to change?
Well in 2007, you remember one year ago when the Cowboys could not be stopped! Yes I know seems like an eternity. Anyway that year Jason preferred the pass by a margin of 12% (Pass 56% vs Run 44%) then this year he still preferred the pass, but this time by a slightly larger margin, 16% (Pass 58% vs Run 42%). What we have to also take into consideration here, is what part did injuries take in the equation? Now this is a touchy subject because it is no one’s fault but his own for not utilizing Barber, Choice, and Jones more efficiently. Jason and his offensive coaches turned their noses up on using the rookies early on, and by the time they decided to start using Jones more, he was injured! I would be willing to say that the loss of Jones skewed this number by 4%, meaning had Jason had the services of Jones all year-long the play calling would have been equal to the previous years ratio. I would also say that I believe coming into 2008 that Jason more than likely had an internal number in mind, and that it was more than likely in the neighborhood of a 4% margin (Pass 52% vs Run 48%), but due to injuries, poor O-Line play, and crying receivers this number got away from them.What we have established now is that Garrett did change his play calling slightly, but not enough to change the direction of the offense as drastically as it changed.
The next question is, did the rest of the league catch up to him? I have problems with this because, and maybe it is just wishful thinking, but I just have a hard time believing that his playbook is as small as it looked this year. I will say that I do believe to a certain extent that the league caught up to him, but I do not think they got as close as Dallas made them look like they did! I truly believe that this year Jason was never able to get any kind of rhythm going due to several reasons. First this team had so many injuries, it seemed that every week at least 2 key players were knocked out. I am trying hard not to be a Jason Garrett apologists, but there are certain things that must happen for an offense to “click” and one of those items is having the same group play every week. Do any of you think things would have been any different had Garrett had the services of Felix Jones, Tony Romo, Marion Barber, Kyle Kosier, Miles Austin, and Sam Hurd for 16 games?
I truly believe that Jason Garrett is a very good coordinator, I also believe that he has some growing to do. The question has to be; Does Garrett have too much growing to do? I don’t think so! I think Jason is having to use players that he does not want (Terrell Owens) not only is he having to use them but is being forced to allocate a certain percentage of plays in their direction. Do you all believe that a quarterback would keep throwing to a player that drops more than he catches if he was not instructed to keep throwing to that player? and in that same line of questioning do you think Jason Garrett is so stupid that he by himself would continue to instruct his QB to throw to that guy when three other players are open? What Jason Garrett is guilty of is not standing up to those people and not telling T.O. (like Todd Haley told Boldin) to “get open”!
If you could get rid of Wade Phillips and hire John Harbaugh would you do it? What if you could hire Mike Smith? I think most of us would say yes to either one of those guys. Jason Garrett was preferred by both the Ravens and Falcons last year, so does that not say that we may very well have the next great coach already on the team? I think it does! This is exactly what had me so tied up in knots over the weekend. Thanks to the Rams we may possibly still have the coach that we all ache for on the payroll. The grass is not always greener on the other side!
O.K. Jason I just stuck my neck out there on your behalf, don’t make me regret it!