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The Jason Garrett-Era Has Hit Rock Bottom

Kevin Brady

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The Jason Garrett-Era Has Hit Rock Bottom

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.



Die-hard Cowboys fan from the Northeast, so you know I am here to defend the 'boys whenever necessary. Began writing for a WordPress Cowboys Blog, and am currently a college student. Lets get going.

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5 Comments
  • Nick Russo

    This team will continue to underperform as long as Jason Garrett and Scott Linehan are coaching. It’s an actual joke that these guys are still coaching. Linehans offense is ancient and hasn’t adapted to today’s game at all. Not to mention that it’s so predictable I sit at home and can call out almost every play based on down and distance and personnel. Then you have coach clap a lot who does nothing right. The guy makes the absolute worst challenges, is conservative when he should be aggressive and vice versa. Meanwhile, he is a push over of a coach. The best teams in this league have coaches that hold their players accountable. If they commit a stupid penalty, other guys come in, and in turn, these good teams typically don’t commit a lot of penalties. We are always being penalized and making things harder on ourselves and Garrett just claps and then smiles and smacks them on the ass when they come to the sidelines. Dak will never be successful under these two. It could be Daks ability, but unless we can get him an actual coach (someone with offensive creativity like a Sean mcvay), we will never know what he can be. It’s pathetic to see what this franchise has become under this bum Garrett.

    • William C Pagano

      Nick, agree with you on just about everything but Dak. In the Redskin game Romo pointed out open receivers where he just needed to let in go. The end zone INT- Did he think Jimmy Graham was on the team? Ridiculous. As a 48 year fan, not an expert, I’ve seen all the Dallas QB’s who’ve had it and those that don’t. He does not have “It”. Might sound crazy but I’d give 2020 first round and other picks to move up next year and draft a quality QB. So another 6-10 year to pave the way for the next 10-15 years of a Mahomes or Goff. Count me in.

      • Nick Russo

        I can’t fully disagree. I am at a weird spot when it comes to Dak. I want to believe that he can be the guy if we gave him the coaching and weapons. I am starting to lose faith in him unfortunately. There’s part of me that wonders if he could be more successful if we weren’t so predictable on offense. Also, prior to getting cooper, our WRs had the lowest separation of any group in the league and with our O-line, the running game hasn’t been anywhere near where it should be. But I agree that there are a lot of times he looks timid and scared to throw the ball. It seems that the only option, in my opinion, is let him go into the final year of his contract, give him a real coach, and see what he is. If he’s not the guy move on. Being a 26 year old fan I just sometimes think that the grass isn’t always greener. I grew up with vinny testaverde, drew Henson, Quincy carter, chad Hutchinson, and drew bledsoe as the quarterback until romo. Those were dark dark days and I fear going back to them. Dak needs to step up or step away though. We had to know what direction we are going as a franchise with some promising young pieces.

        • Brian Smith

          Dak needs a new coaching staff. Don’t forget his 13-3 rule season so we’re know he had skills. This team is a problem as a whole andys until we get new coaching they’ll always be a .500 o.r worse team. Jerry Jones is a big part of ther problem here as well not being able to admit he’s made a huge mistake keeping Garrett this long. Any other team and Garrett would be sitting at home watching the games. It’s silly to think during 1 coach o.r signing 1 player was going to fix the problem.

  • Flushrock

    Aikman said all we needed to know and already knew. Success starts from the top . Common denominator for all the crap we are dealing with ??? JERRY JONES . who will go down as the biggest fool ever. he will not be remembered for the great Stadium or the bought and paid for yellow HOF jacket but for the last 23 years of JACK SQUAT !!! Also the first and only GM to Ever fire a SUPER BOWL WINNING coach and had the audacity to say the Chan Gailey was his worst decision . GIVE US A BREAK !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Star Blog

Leighton Vander Esch Is A Stud, And Should Be For A Long Time

Kevin Brady

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Leighton Vander Esch Is A Stud, And Should Be For A Long Time

The Cowboys took their fair share of heat for selecting linebacker Leighton Vander Esch 19th overall in the 2018 NFL Draft. But through just over half a season, Dallas is looking vindicated in their decision.

Vander Esch was arguably the best defensive player on the field during Dallas' 27-20 win in Philadelphia Sunday night, and made the two biggest defensive plays of the game as well. Finishing with a game-high 13 tackles, Vander Esch was all over the field in both run and pass defense.

The first of his two massive plays came in the first quarter. After the Cowboys offense stalled deep in their own territory, the Eagles looked to be in prime position to strike first with a short field. On Carson Wentz' first pass attempt of the drive, however, Leighton Vander Esch was there to intercept him and return the ball back 28 yards.

Those return yards proved key as well, giving the Cowboys the short field and an easy path to their first three points of the night. And with the way their offense looked early in this game, Dallas could use all the help they could get.

The biggest play of the game, though, came late in the fourth quarter. With the Eagles facing a third and long and down seven points, they absolutely needed a conversion to keep pace with the surprisingly hot Cowboys offense. Philadelphia tried to beat Dallas with a running back screen to the backside, inviting the pass rush and getting blockers out in front.

There seemed to be nothing but blockers and green grass ahead for the Eagles on this play, with "Next Gen Stats" expecting a 22 yard gain after the catch. Then, Leighton Vander Esch eluded two blockers and tracked down the running back for a gain of just 3.

Next Gen Stats on Twitter

Leighton Vander Esch made a game-saving tackle late in the 4th quarter to preserve the Cowboys 27-20 win. Corey Clement was expected to gain 22 yards after the catch (gained 3), -19 YAC Below Expectation, the most yards saved on a pass play this season. #DALvsPHI #DallasCowboys https://t.co/0DF7jhPQzH

If not for this tackle, who knows how both that Eagles' drive and the game would have ended. Vander Esch saved the day for Dallas, and forced the Eagles into a tough fourth and long situation with the game on the line.

I know it is still early in Vander Esch's career, and even relatively early in this season as well, but it's become clear the Cowboys hit a home run with their 2018 first round selection. Vander Esch is fitting in beside Jaylon Smith with ease, and with those two athletic freaks together, the Cowboys look to have one of the brightest defensive futures in all of football.

Of course, there are now legitimate questions about what the Cowboys should do with their captain Sean Lee. But as of right now, it should be Leighton Vander Esch's job to lose.



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Star Blog

Can Cowboys LB Vander Esch Do Enough to Win DROY?

Mauricio Rodriguez

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LB Leighton Vander Esch Rare Bright Spot In Cowboys Disappointing Loss

At 3-5, there are very few positive things to point out when discussing the 2018 Dallas Cowboys. One of those few things has been first-round rookie Leighton Vander Esch, whose play at linebacker has taken the league by surprise. Seen as a raw talent who could develop into an elite player with time as a prospect, Vander Esch's impact on the field has been immediate.

Through nine weeks in the NFL season, the Boise State product should definitely be in the Defensive Rookie of the Year discussion. As much as Sean Lee's injury will hurt the Cowboys' defense, it will get the rookie more playing time and a big opportunity to put his name in the minds of NFL Honors voters.

Sean Lee will miss some time after re-injuring his hamstring for the second time this season. Earlier in the year, Jaylon Smith and Vander Esch were able to keep the defense from crumbling without their veteran captain. Even with all the offensive struggles, that should continue to be the case for the linebackers.

Vander Esch has only played in 65% of the Cowboys' defensive snaps, yet he's tied for ninth place in solo tackles in the entire league with 49. He's at 64 total tackles and two pass deflections and has been a magnet to opposing ball carriers every time he's been on the field.

He's the third highest graded rookie LB for Pro Football Focus. Most times, rookies find success like this by being rotational players or simply splitting snaps with other players. But as previously mentioned, Lee has already been out for a handful of games in 2018 and Vander Esch has lived up to the hype.

Simply put, Leighton's play as a rookie has already put Sean Lee's future on the Cowboys in question. With such an injury history and a two young studs ready to take over the reigns, Dallas could very well release Lee prior to the 2019 season.

Now granted, the race for Defensive Rookie of the Year will not be an easy one to win for Vander Esch. Fourth overall pick Denzel Ward has been an impressive cornerback for the Browns and fifth-overall pick Bradley Chubb has been one of the best pass rushers on Sundays. Not to mention the NFL leader in solo tackles, Colts' LB Darius Leonard.

Despite a great start to his season, the Cowboys young LB will have to play way better for his name to be called when the Defensive Rookie of the Year is revealed at the NFL Honors event in February. There are some pretty big names he has to catch up with in order to make this happen.

Tell me what you think about "Can Cowboys LB Vander Esch Do Enough to Win DROY?" in the comments below, or tweet me @MauNFL and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!



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Star Blog

Dak Prescott/Carson Wentz Is No Rivalry, And There’s Only One Side To Blame

Kevin Brady

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Dak Prescott/Carson Wentz Is No Rivalry, And There's Only One Side To Blame

It feels like an eternity has passed since 2016, yet somehow, it was only 2 seasons ago.

The Dallas Cowboys were riding high, en route to a 13-3 season and an NFC East crown. They had drafted the league's leading rusher Ezekiel Elliott fourth overall in the previous draft, and believed to have found their franchise quarterback over 100 picks later.

Up in Philadelphia things weren't going as smoothly, but they were certainly on the upswing. After trading up to select Carson Wentz in that same 2016 draft, the Eagles also believed they had their quarterback of the future.

Cowboys/Eagles. Dak/Wentz. A debate between two hated rivals which began in 2016 and seemed like it would go on for the next decade. It was almost too perfect.

Countless articles and blog posts were written about the birth of a quarterback rivalry which would span for the foreseeable future. Which team had the better draft haul in 2016? Which team was better set up for the future behind their young quarterback?

The two met for the first time on Sunday Night football back in 2016, and for much of the night neither was very good. They both looked like rookies, but at the end of the game Dak Prescott was the one who came through in the clutch, throwing the game winner in overtime to Jason Witten. The rivalry was born, and the Cowboys had the upper hand.

Fast forward to today and things are much, much different. Prescott and Wentz have only really played each other one other time since that first match-up, a game which the Eagles dominated and Dak Prescott threw 3 interceptions.

The other two games have been meaningless and ugly, two adjectives which could describe every Cowboys game the past calendar year.

Simply put, there is no rivalry. Dak Prescott and the Cowboys have not held up their end of the bargain since that first match-up in 2016. Prescott's play has fallen off considerably, as he has fallen victim to just about every piece of lazy analysis Eagles fans gave during his miraculous 2016 season.

Doug Pederson has become the anti-Jason Garrett, quite literally making his name off being aggressive on critical downs and refusing to punt on fourth and short in plus territory. The Eagles front office has become the anti-Cowboys, going after pricey trade targets and free agents to ensure they are making the most of their young quarterback's rookie contract window.

The Cowboys have failed just about everywhere that the Eagles have succeeded. And, Dak Prescott has failed just about everywhere Carson Wentz has excelled.

Maybe things will turn around this Sunday for Dallas, and if they are able to win, they'd still be very much alive in the division race. But all of that seems highly unlikely. There is no longer a Dak/Wentz rivalry. There's barely even a reason for Eagles fans to have Dak Prescott on their radar.

Let's hope Prescott and the Cowboys can begin to change things this Sunday.



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