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Philadelphia's Success Puts Spotlight on Jason Garrett

Whether he chooses to admit it publicly - or even acknowledge it - Jerry Jones must wonder how in the world the Philadelphia Eagles wound up in the Super Bowl, while his team missed the playoffs.

The Eagles lost several key starters to injuries this season, including quarterback Carson Wentz, who was playing at a MVP level, when he tore a knee ligament against the Los Angeles Rams in December.

They also lost Pro Bowl left tackle Jason Peters, starting middle linebacker Jordan Hicks, running back Darren Sproles and special teams captain Chris Maragos among others.

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None of it affected them.

Philadelphia coach Doug Pederson figured out how to make it work. He adjusted. He adapted.

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And he refused to let his team find ways to lose, when no one would've blamed them if they did.

When Wentz suffered a torn ACL, Pederson had to replace a quarterback with 33 touchdown passes, seven interceptions and a 101.9 passer rating with Nick Foles, a former starter, who played in one game last year with Kansas City.

Still, the Eagles finished 13-3 and posted the NFC's best record.

They manhandled Minnesota, 38-7, in Sunday's NFC Championship game with a flawless performance from Foles. Now, Pederson has his team in the Super Bowl. It's the Eagles' first appearance since 2004.

Meanwhile, the Cowboys failed to handle the adversity that every NFL must endure during the course of a 16-game season.

They went 1-4 when weakside linebacker Sean Lee (hamstring) missed five games. They allowed an average of 29.8 points in those games and blew double-digit leads in home losses to Green Bay and the Los Angeles Rams that ultimately kept them out of the playoffs.

They went 3-3 without Ezekiel Elliot, but lost each of the first three games he missed by at least 20 points, eliminating any margin of error when he returned.

Pathetic.

And who will ever forget Tyron Smith's missed game against the Atlanta Falcons. Tackle Chaz Green allowed four sacks to a no-name defensive end like Adrain Claiborn and the reality is Dak Prescott was never the same after that game in which the Falcons sacked him eight times.

That's Garrett's fault.

He didn't react quickly enough to fix the problem that day, and we shouldn't be all that surprised.

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After all, Garrett has an analytical mind. He's a thinker, a man so obsessed with his process that he can't always see when it's broken whether we're talking about a one-on-one matchup against Atlanta or his broken offense.

Garrett, entering his eighth full season, has two years left on the five-year, $30 million deal he signed after the 2014 season.

He has one playoff win. This is the first time he's had consecutive winning seasons.

Pederson' s performance with a team ravaged by injuries puts pressure on Garrett to perform. And if the Eagles, a five-point underdog in the Super Bowl, manage to beat New England it'll simply put more of a spotlight on Garrett's failure this season.

Two years ago, Jerry blamed the Cowboys' 4-12 season on Tony Roma's twice-fractured collar bone. He blamed last season on Goodell's suspension of Elliott.

Well, Garrett has kept both coordinators, but will wind up hiring at least four new offensive coaches and two defensive coaches.

If next season doesn't meet Jerry's expectations, there is no one left to blame except Garrett.

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