There have been some turbulent moments during Jason Garrett’s time as head coach of the Dallas Cowboys. They’ve suffered a 4-12 season, missed the playoffs five times, and been on the other end of some brutal blowouts.
But nothing during this Jason Garrett era compares to what has happened to the Dallas Cowboys over the last calendar year. Nothing.
One year ago Monday Night, veteran Chiefs linebacker Tamba Hali declared that the Dallas Cowboys were the best team in football. And at the time, it made sense. Dallas had just gotten finished destroying one of the AFC’s best teams in the Chiefs, controlling the tempo from start to finish. The offensive line imposed their will, the running game was top notch, and Dak Prescott played one of the better games of his young career.
They were 5-3, and many thought they had a chance to sneak up on people as an NFC Wild Card team.
This morning things feel very different. Very different. About as different as they could feel. It’s become abundantly clear that the trio which heads this offense will not work. Jason Garrett, Scott Linehan, and Dak Prescott. None have been good enough, and as a collective unit, they’ve been one of the league’s worst.
Maybe Dak Prescott can be salvaged under a creative offensive staff the way Jared Goff was in Los Angeles. Maybe Jason Garrett can redeem himself as a head coach if given a quarterback more similar to the skill set of Tony Romo. Maybe. But what’s for sure is that together, as head coach and quarterback, this relationship has run its course.
This is rock bottom. Sure they hit a stretch in November last season where they suffered blowout loss after blowout loss, but there were reasonable excuses for it. Ezekiel Elliott was suspended. Tyron Smith was injured. Sean Lee was out. Now? This is the team which Garrett, Linehan and staff have built. They are no more injured than your average NFL team, but they are playing worse than that average level.
Especially on offense, which is allegedly their head coach’s specialty.
Over the next few weeks losses will probably come. Two games against Philadelphia, one on the road against the surging Atlanta Falcons, and one against arguably the league’s best New Orleans Saints. But free fall in the short term may be what’s best for the Dallas Cowboys in the long term.
I do believe this team will fight. They always do. And while they are relatively talented, and should be competitive week to week, the coaching and quarterback play may be just too much to overcome. Of course it’s not all Dak’s fault, or all Garrett’s fault. The offensive line hasn’t played up to their billing, the receivers have been lackluster most weeks, and despite their hype the defense failed them multiple times last night.
But winning and losing in the NFL starts at the top. And the top contains the head coach, play caller, and quarterback. Unfortunately, it’s become tough to believe Jerry Jones will pull the trigger on what look like necessary changes.