Jason Garrett, like his Dallas Cowboys team, has had an awful year.
His time management of Pop Warner-esque elementary situations has been mind-boggling bad. His conservative approach in desperate circumstances has been beyond frustration. Him trying to convince us this is all part of some “process” got old years ago. And now his unwavering confidence in Matt Cassel is just baffling.
Despite all that, no way in Hell should Garrett be fired for his team’s 2015 debacle.
I know, Garrett is the epitome of the average NFL coach. His demeanor is average, never too high and never too low. His body sideline language is average. His monotone, repetitive press conferences are average. And his record – 40-37 since taking over full-time in 2011 – is average.
In five years he’s had one losing season, one winning season and three 8-8 seasons. He’s won one playoff game, same as Wade Phillips but one more than Bill Parcells.
But while Garrett certainly did nothing extraordinary to “coach up” this year’s team, the implosion from Super Bowl hopes to 4-9 shouldn’t fall on the head coach but rather the general manager.
Last year Jerry Jones was the NFL’s Executive of the Year. This year? Back to reality.
Obviously you start with the injuries to Tony Romo. I’d say 80 percent of the teams in the NFL are one injury away from mediocrity or worse, and Romo’s absence for all but two full games proves the Cowboys are in that slop.
Romo’s injury was compounded by something out of Garrett’s control, however, and that’s the lack of a quality insurance policy.
Brandon Weeden was bad. Matt Cassel might even have been worse.
Garrett, who came close to a checkered flag in 2014, suddenly found himself driving a car with two flat tires and a square steering wheel.
Add to that the wasted year of Dez Bryant. Because the GM waited until the last second to sign him, the star receiver never got in football shape. Hamstring injuries led to foot injuries led to a nightmare season of dropped passes, locker-room outbursts and one lone touchdown.
Garrett spent a chunk of his year coddling Bryant and trying to be a father figure to Greg Hardy. Life lessons he taught, above and beyond football strategy.
Last January the head coach coming off a 12-4 season signed a new five-year, $30 million contract. Because a lot of the Cowboys’ problems this season were out of his control. Garrett at least deserves another year.
A native Texan who was born in Duncanville and graduated from UT-Arlington, Richie Whitt has been a mainstay in the Metroplex media since 1986. He’s held prominent roles on all media platforms including newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Observer), radio (105.3 The Fan) and TV (co-host on TXA 21 and numerous guest appearances, including NBC 5). He lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.