Dallas Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones made a mistake when he promoted Jason Garrett from offensive coordinator to head coach midway through the 2010 NFL season. Garrett contradicts himself almost as often as Jones, leaving fans and members of the media scratching their heads daily, so one can only imagine how the players interpret his mixed signals.
During the Cowboys’ 27-7 loss to the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday, Garrett was stone-faced on the sideline. His team made mistake after mistake yet he did nothing about it. The most common excuse would be that’s his way of showing his players that he’s upset, much like Tom Landry did for Dallas during the glory days. However, that’s incorrect because Landry’s players responded to such mistakes while heeding their coach’s cold, hard demeanor.
The problem is Garrett doesn’t know what to do in these situations. Sure, he’s a brilliant mind (he graduated from Princeton) but that doesn’t mean he can coach a football team.
During the Cowboys’ 24-17 win over the New York Giants in Week 1, Dallas was in the game from the start and never made enough mistakes or fell far enough behind to panic. The players, particularly quarterback Tony Romo, overcame their mistakes on their own and won the game. Against the Seahawks on Sunday, Felix Jones wasn’t even scolded for fumbling the opening kickoff, which gave Seattle an early 3-0 lead. The Cowboys’ offense wasn’t instructed to make any changes after it was clear the Seahawks were onto Romo and company’s game plan.
Put simply, Garrett was out-coached on Sunday and that will likely be the case in roughly half Dallas’ games this year. Here’s a perfect example:
The Cowboys rely a lot on Romo’s ability to extend plays and find receivers after they’ve already run their assigned routes. On Sunday, the Seahawks were ready for that. They applied pressure from the inside, which made Romo spin outside, which is typically what he does right before completing a big play. However, he was playing right into Seattle’s hands.
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll then sent delayed blitzes from the outside, which forced two Romo passes right into the hands of Seattle defenders, although both were dropped. Not only that, but every Cowboys receiver was picked up by an additional Seahawks defender after their initial route; Carroll knew Dallas’ game plan and tendencies and used them both against Garrett and the Cowboys.
The main problem is Garrett did nothing about it. There were no halftime adjustments or changes in game plan. Getting superstar running back DeMarco Murray involved should have been his first thought (he only had 12 carries), but it wasn’t.
Look, Garrett has had a little bit of success, but the Cowboys have won games they weren’t supposed to against better teams and lost games they weren’t supposed to against weaker teams. That will always be the case under Garrett. He should never have been the head coach in the first place and he shouldn’t be after this season. However, Jones isn’t the sharpest tool in the shed, either, so don’t expect anything to change anytime soon. As typically mentioned here at Rant Sports, what the Cowboys should do and what they actually do are almost always two different things.