Jason Garrett picked a bad year to have a bad year.
Obviously the Cowboys’ 2-3 record is mostly due to injuries to Tony Romo, Dez Bryant, Orlando Scandrick and Terrell McClain. But when the head coach trumpets his tired, old cliché – “Next man up! – he needs to gaze in the mirror. Because Garrett, when the Cowboys need him to be better, is having a 2-3 kinda coaching season.
First of all, he inexplicably believed in Brandon Weeden. I know Jerry Jones makes the ultimate personnel calls, but if Garrett went to management in Oxnard and said “this guy can’t win us a football game” I assume a trade for Matt Cassel, etc. would’ve happened sooner. Whatever the logistics and timing, Weeeden starting three games for the Cowboys is a gross misevaluation that led to three straight losses.
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On the field, Garrett’s game management continues to be just as confounding.
Twice in the last three games he’s botched the precious time before halftime and allowed the opposition to sneak in a field goal before intermission. Against the Falcons the Cowboys took a timeout on offense to set up a 1-yard run by Joseph Randle, allowing Atlanta to save a timeout for its ensuing possession. And last Sunday against the Patriots he called a pass play deep in Cowboys’ territory when running out the clock would have been prudent. The resulting incompletion saved a timeout for Tom Brady, who led New England to a late field goal and a 13-3 halftime lead.
The Cowboys had 12 men on the field to surrender a key first down against the Saints. They had only 10 players defending a two-point conversion made by the Falcons. Against the Patriots they burned a timeout on defense – with New England facing 1st-and-Goal. And, of course, on a 3rd-and-1 last week – despite arguably the NFL’s best offensive line – the Cowboys called for a rollout pass for Weeden.
Their margin for error is too small to not be perfect in the little things like clock management, play-calling and personnel substitutions.
Bottom line: Without Romo and Bryant you don’t expect the Cowboys to be good. But with Garrett you at least expect them to be well-coached.
And so far in 2015, they just aren’t.
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.