Let me put this out there right off the bat, I am a believer in Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett. I am and I have been a Garrett apologist since he was hired to be their coach. Also, contrary to what anyone thinks or writes, Garrett is not on the hot seat. The seat isn’t even warm yet so you can throw that theory out the window too.
All that being said, Jason Garrett needs to be a better coach. Much better. Ever since he’s been hired we’ve heard him preach about the “process” of going about things the right way; playing good football by stacking one good day on top of another. Well since he’s been the Cowboys head coach, interim included, his record is 15-14. The word for that is average, not good. Garrett needs to practice what he preaches; he needs to start stacking good days together because what he’s done is not good enough.
Last year was supposed to have a learning curve to it because the Cowboys were in a bit of a rebuilding process. They got rid of some of the heavy contracts and older players who were under performing and started to bring in young, hungrier players. Garrett was getting a roster full of “his guys,” players who loved to compete and play smart football. Yes, the process made total sense last year and the Cowboys went 8-8 but missed out on the playoffs. They collapsed and made mistakes in losing games they should have won last year; it was all part of the “process” of building a better team, a winning team.
Fast forward to this off-season and the Cowboys drafted all team captains, they brought in smart and physical football players like Brandon Carr to help Garrett turn the Cowboys into winners again. He had a full off-season to install everything he wanted and to put his stamp on the Cowboys. Things were going to be different.
Garrett’s “process” looked great after the opening night win over the New York Giants. They found ways to win a big game instead of losing, but since then it’s been the same sad story for the Dallas Cowboys. Mistakes all over the field; including penalties, turnovers and a lack of focus. We are now about a season and a half into Jason Garrett’s “process” but there aren’t enough wins. Where are the wins?
Anyone can talk about being better and going about things the right way but when nothing changes after a significant period of time people stop listening to the message.
I’m not ready to give up on Garrett, that’s not what I’m saying. What I am saying is that I am having a more difficult time believing he’s the answer as the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys. I still support Garrett as the guy to get the Cowboys back to winning ways, just maybe not as strongly as I used to.
This is not a knee jerk reaction after the time management issues in the last thirty seconds against the Baltimore Ravens yesterday, but there was enough evidence to suggest Garrett hasn’t learned from last year’s mistakes. Garrett is a meticulous note taker, he obsesses over details and he supposedly prepares himself very for every situation. Why then, did yesterdays end of game situation look and feel exactly like last year against the Arizona Cardinals?
I’m not debating whether the Cowboys should’ve handled the last few moments of the game any differently because it doesn’t matter. What does matter is how can such a smart guy, a guy who we’ve all heard prepares himself for everything, still have a team so ill prepared for the last thirty seconds of a game? Especially when the same situation happened last year! Do smart people not learn from their mistakes?
If it was the right or wrong call to run a few more plays is irrelevant, the confusion in that situation is the biggest problem. And that falls back onto the head coach. His players, every single one of them, needs to know exactly what to do in that situation. It has to be worked on during practice and it should play out the way you practice it. Dez Bryant shouldn’t be arguing with an official while the clock is running down and Tony Romo shouldn’t be telling people what to do, all eleven players need to know what the heck is going on and they didn’t.
This year’s Dallas Cowboys look an awful lot like last years Cowboys team, which does not bode well for Jason Garrett and his “process.” I’m tired of hearing about it; I expect more wins and less excuses. Yes, the “process” is on going but it’s taking too long to get the message across.
The “process” needs to be about winning and that’s what the message should be about. Not getting better, but being better.
you can follow Ben on twitter @BenGrimaldi