Bruce Carter's out for the season, joining Sean Lee as a key defensive starter lost for the year with an injury.
DeMarco Murray hasn't played in weeks, Tyron Smith is banged up and Barry Church left the team short at safety when he went on injured reserve. Now Miles Austin is banged up and, long story short, there are no shortage of things outside of Jason Garrett's control that will leave a heavy imprint on the final record this season.
This is important because, based on how things are going, the Cowboys are going to have to make a decision on Garrett once the year is out. And you can be sure that the difficulty of the situation will be cited as a reason for not making a coaching change if Jerry Jones elects to go that route.
Garrett shouldn't get that benefit. The injuries are bad, but every team has to deal with injuries over the course of a season. Injuries aren't the reason why the Cowboys continually fall short in the fourth quarter, they aren't the reason why the Cowboys consistently get off to slow starts that turn into huge deficits and they simply aren't the reason why the Cowboys are 5-6 at this point in the season.
Garrett's not the entire reason either, but you have to judge a man off of his results. That means wins and losses, a metric that sees Garrett as a .500 coach and would suggest that he could be more than that with a few good breaks. It also means the actual performance of his team, though, and that's where Garrett comes up short.
Every single week it is the little breakdowns that wind up killing the Cowboys. A penalty, a missed tackle, a drop, poor clock management, a botched kick, ill-advised play call or blown coverage undoes everything that the Cowboys have done to put themselves in a position to win a game. Whether those are mental mistakes, mistakes of execution or poor planning, it all falls back on Garrett.
It's easy to think mistakes like this can be easily erased. At least, it's easy until you see Norv Turner snatching defeat from the jaws of victory once again on Sunday against the Ravens. Turner's teams have always found a way to implode, much in the same way the Cowboys have always seemed to find a way to implode under Garrett. The Chargers have focused on what might have been and kept Turner for years, a decision that's assured them a continued spot as a punchline around the league.
The folly of keeping Turner is exacerbated by the fact that he failed in other coaching jobs before failing in San Diego and, therefore, is even further removed from a reasonable bet that he could turn things around. Garrett still looks more like him through the first 35 games of his run as he does any other coach, though, and that's not a trajectory to feel good about.
If Garrett can't make that comparison seem silly in the next five games, the Cowboys should think long and hard about finding someone who does.