Jason Garrett, Cowboys at Crossroads: JJT - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth
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Jason Garrett, Cowboys at Crossroads: JJT

Cole Beasley wanted to make it clear the receivers weren't the reason for the Cowboys' sorry passing game

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    It feels like we're at a crossroads for the Cowboys' season and Jason Garrett's tenure as coach.

    If Garrett can figure out a way for his offensively-challenged team to beat Jacksonville, one of the AFC's best teams, then the Cowboys will get back to .500 with winnable games against Washington and Tennessee sandwiched around a bye week the next three weeks.

    Hope would envelope the team and the fan base, and we might view that victory as the win that saved the season.

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    But if the Cowboys lose Sunday at AT&T Stadium to fall two games under .500 with yet another sorry offensive performance, this season could go south in a hurry.

    For real.

    After all, if we're honest, we've already seen signs the last couple of weeks.

    Photo credit: NBC 5 Sports

    Last week, Cole Beasley wanted to make it clear the receivers weren't the reason for the Cowboys' sorry passing game. Check the tape, he said.

    Then owner Jerry Jones second-guessed Garrett's decision to punt in overtime against Houston. The Texans promptly drove for the game-winning field goal in a 19-16 loss to their I-45 rivals.

    A day later, Allen Hurns told ESPN's Josina Anderson that Dak Prescott interception was the result of a poor play-call by offensive coordinator Scott Linehan.

    Dallas led 13-10 midway through the fourth, when Linehan called a play that required the outside receivers to run deep comeback routes. The Texans played a two-deep zone with man-to-man coverage underneath, which is a perfect defense against that play.

    It was the only time, said Hurns, they played that coverage all night.

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    "It's not like I'm just coming out saying a statement," Hurns said Wednesday in front of his locker. "People ask me a question, and I tell them how it is. I'm not throwing anybody under the bus. As far as me, I'm just going to call it as it is."

    "It was just an unfortunate situation, but I ain't questioning the play calling," he said.

    Photo credit: NBC 5 Sports

    So how come? Prescott didn't audible to a better play.

    "I'm not sure," Hurns said. "I don't think Dak had a chance or I am not sure he has the authority to check out of that."

    This is how a coach loses a team.

    It starts with public criticism from individual players. Then groups of players start complaining among each other. And at some point those criticisms grow louder, and if the losing continues the frustration mounts and the criticism becomes public,

    Eventually, the discord carries onto the field and the performance becomes listless. A blowout or two occurs and team is lost.

    We saw it in 2010, when the Cowboys started 1-7 and they quit during a 45-7 national TV loss at Green Bay.

    That's how Garrett became the Cowboys' coach.

    This is not time for Garrett to be passive aggressive. This is the time for confrontation - even if he has to go through the video and show every single player the mistakes he made that contributed to this 2-3 start.

    "One thing that's good about this group that we have in this locker room is that there hasn't been any finger-pointing at all," Elliott said. "The offense, we've struggled this year.

    Photo credit: NBC 5 Sports

    "When we go over to the defense, 'hey, we're sorry we didn't hold up our end.' It's more 'no, we need to do more, we need to go out there and win that game.'

    "There's enough accountability in this locker room that there's not going to be any finger-pointing."

    Garrett's biggest issue is that his offense is broken and there's been zero tangible evidence he knows how to fix it.

    Dallas ranks 28th in total offense (307.8), 30th in points (16.6) and third-down conversions (28.3 percent) and 26th in first downs (18 per game).

    This offensive trend started in Atlanta last season in the eighth game of the season. Since then, Dallas has been among the NFL's worst offense teams.
     
    Now, Garrett must get the offense right against one of the NFL's best teams.

    If he can't, it's hard to believe he'll be the coach in 2019.

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