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  1. #1126
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr.B View Post
    I don’t think Dalton is as good as Dak. You are correct though that Dalton put up very similar numbers in his first 4 years when he had healthy weapons to throw to and a good OL. As the Bengals let those players leave in free agency though and as the ones that stayed continued to get injured, Dalton’s play declined.

    I think with this exact team Dalton has a ceiling of 10 wins and is capable of getting a Wild Card playoff spot. Dak with this same team has a ceiling of about 12 wins and capable of winning the NFC East. So I would say that Dak is worth about 2 games over Dalton.

    As far as the cap is concerned Dalton would be invaluable to the Cowboys.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    I agree with all this

    Your baby can't do this

  2. #1127
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr.B View Post
    What did the Cowboys defense do in those same games?


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    I averaged the scores up and in those 10 games against teams that finished the season 6-10 or better the cowboys defense gave up 21.6 points per game. That’s not far off from their season total of 20.1 points per game and is still above average (would be 14th best in NFL).

    The cowboys offense in those 10 games put up 19.4 points per game compared to their season total of 27.1 points per game. 19.4 points per game would be 8th worst in the league

    Seems to me like the cowboys defense was more consistent than the cowboys offense

    Your baby can't do this

  3. #1128
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    I think there is way too little emphasis on the drag that Jason Garrett was on the Cowboys. Does anyone here have a subscription to The Athletic? If so, read these two links:

    https://theathletic.com/1818986/2020...-of-2011-2013/

    https://theathletic.com/1822960/2020...-in-2015-2019/

    It's just painful to remember the (basically) decade of incompetence from Jason Garrett as the head coach. He is a good coach for a rebuilding team, IMO, but he's not a guy that will get you over the hill because his approach leaves way too little room for error.

  4. #1129
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mamba42 View Post
    I think there is way too little emphasis on the drag that Jason Garrett was on the Cowboys. Does anyone here have a subscription to The Athletic? If so, read these two links:

    https://theathletic.com/1818986/2020...-of-2011-2013/

    https://theathletic.com/1822960/2020...-in-2015-2019/

    It's just painful to remember the (basically) decade of incompetence from Jason Garrett as the head coach. He is a good coach for a rebuilding team, IMO, but he's not a guy that will get you over the hill because his approach leaves way too little room for error.
    I do think Garrett played a factor for sure

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  5. #1130
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    I’d read that but I don’t have a sub to the athletic

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  6. #1131
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mamba42 View Post
    Does anyone here have a subscription to The Athletic?
    If you do, just copy and paste that stuff here.

  7. #1132
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    Here is part one:

    This shall forever be known as “Jason Garrett Week” here in my little corner of The Athletic. I wanted to let the smoke clear and the tensions fade, and the time is right. Only two coaches in franchise history coached more than 80 regular-season games in Dallas: Tom Landry’s 418 and Jason Garrett’s 152. Enough books to fill a library have been written about Landry, so the least I can do is write a few pieces about the man who oversaw the Dallas sideline for 10 seasons. I invite you to treat these stories as a series and read each part as I close the book on a very memorable and frustrating era of Cowboys football before we cleanse our palates for the new dawn in 2020.

    “I would have fired him long ago.”

    Forgive me for quoting myself, as that can be quite rude. But this became my stock answer at some point over the thousands of times I was asked about Jason Garrett’s coaching tenure by the time we got to 2016. Or 2017. And 2018 or 2019. So, yes, by the time we were coming down the stretch of this latest season, it had literally felt like the Cowboys had been extending him mulligans and second chances for as long as I can remember. Let’s be clear: Nobody in this business wants people to lose their jobs. Everyone has empathy for the difficulty of doing a job well and for decent humans finding success in a very difficult situation, but there is also the question of whether being a very nice human qualifies you for an indefinite job running the Dallas Cowboys. From the perspective of someone tasked to cover this team since 1998, I certainly have attempted to slow play my decisions and to allow a man to fail and learn before we suggest it is time to try a new coach. I try to be patient and understand that any new job requires a growth period, but when the growth appears to have halted, I do grow tired of what appears to be stubbornness about the coach.

    This is Jason Garrett Week, and most of it will probably be a biting analysis of moments where this team clearly underachieved due to the head coach, but I would also stress that an alternative name for this exercise would be Jerry Jones Week. Jerry does the hiring and firing, and if we have learned anything from his three decades, it is that he can’t get these simple tasks right. His main job, unless you really think he scouts and selects players like normal general managers, is to hire and maintain good coaches and fire the bad ones. If he could get that simple job description right, this franchise would probably win more. Keep the good coaches and fire the bad ones. Easy, right? But he was quick to break up with his two most competent and successful coaches — Jimmy Johnson and Bill Parcells. We could re-litigate both cases, but the evidence shows that he chased both away due to their insistence of having things their way as he preferred to have it his, alongside a heaping share of the credit. On the flip side, he simply could not fire Jason Garrett no matter how thoroughly Garrett earned it.

    Jason Garrett did many things very well. In fact, I will dedicate my third piece this week to that entire list. But the thing that seemed to be most vital for his entire existence past 2012 or 2013 was how well he got along with the Jones family. He was the dream coach they always wanted in that he would abide by their rules and boundaries and work well within their structure. Why didn’t Johnson and Parcells listen as well as Garrett did, they must have wondered. Well, he did a wonderful job of keeping his bosses happy, so that he lasted longer than almost any modern coach who never even won a single playoff game beyond the wild-card round. They have generally seemed more interested in a pleasant working experience with their coach than a hard-driving and difficult head-man who would maximize their win total.

    Maybe the best way to describe Garrett and his memory is through those of us who want to qualify every critique of the man by talking about how good a guy and nice a man he seemed. We feel dirty for suggesting how much time was wasted trying to make him work. See, we are charmed, too. Just like the Jones family. His best quality is that he was incredibly likable, and that took him places. But it didn’t get him to the Super Bowl. Or even close, it seems.

    Today, as inspired by one of our great readers, I shall begin the task set below:


    Nick wants me to assemble the most fireable moments of the Garrett era, and I have spent the weekend putting them together. This will take two entries, as he coached for 10 years. Today’s entry will include 2010-2014, and then we will cover 2015-2019 next time. Here we go.

    No. 1 – October 2nd, 2011 — Detroit
    In a game against the Lions where the Cowboys led 27-3 in the third quarter, the team was unable to usher home that lead and get a victory. Instead, the quarterback would throw three interceptions in the second half with two of them being pick-sixes. The Lions went on a 31-3 run to finish the game and left the 2011 Cowboys behind the eight ball in a game that was badly butchered by coach and QB. Jason Garrett’s first full season began with an inexcusable exhibition of incompetent football.

    Hopefully, we will all look back at this and laugh someday. Surely, these are merely some early growing pains.


    No. 2 – October 16th, 2011 — at New England
    It’s not advisable to fire your coach when he hasn’t even coached 16 games yet. But this was the first time any of us were concerned that the Cowboys’ new “offensive coach” went full-conservative in a close road game and called three consecutive run plays that lost yardage when they were ahead 16-13 and had the ball in Foxboro late in the fourth quarter of a game. We knew what would probably happen if the Cowboys gave the ball back to Tom Brady with two minutes to go. Bill Nagy, Phil Costa and rookie Tyron Smith were not ready to move the chains, and a fantastic effort in New England went for naught despite Dallas being in a real position to win. And that will be the theme. The Cowboys were in a great position to win a game and still lost.

    Yikes. Twice in the first six games of 2011, we are wondering how a coach could be playing so fast and loose with wins.


    No. 3 – December 4th, 2011 — at Arizona
    This was the first time that everyone started getting pretty concerned about Garrett’s “in-game” coaching ability due to his losing of the plot again to end the Arizona game and appearing to ice his own kicker. Everyone will talk about calling a timeout right before the snap and “icing your own kicker,” as Dan Bailey makes the kick, then misses the re-kick. But the actual issue of a coach not helping increase the win probability is absolutely having time to stop the clock multiple times when Tony Romo hits Dez Bryant for 14 yards with :25 to play. Instead, they don’t do anything but let the clock run down.

    Here is the piece I wrote that day:

    And one of the reasons for this defeat – not the only reason by a long-shot – was the way their coach seemed to lose the plot a bit down the stretch in the final moments of the contest. Jason Garrett and his offense had just converted a very difficult 3rd and 11 when Tony Romo made yet another late-game play on a throw to Dez Bryant and set the Cowboys up at the Cardinals 31-yard line. As a point of reference, there was about :25 left in the game when Dez rose to his feet. The Cowboys owned 2 timeouts at this juncture, and despite that reality, the Cowboys did not stop the clock until Romo clocked the ball with :07 left. The waste of 18 precious seconds made very little sense really.

    But, to me, this demonstrates a problem that I have felt has been in place since Jason Garrett was hired last November. The job of head coach is one that I believe fits him well. However, the job of Head Coach on top of his prior post of offensive coordinator is too big in my opinion for most in the early portion of their coaching career. Very few people know how many decisions a head coach must make in 3 hours. I imagine, only those who have done it would know for sure. Now, add in a couple hundred more decisions that any offensive coordinator must make and put them all inside the head of one human. Surely, it must make someone feel like the most important human in the world to make all of those decisions for the Dallas Cowboys. But, every time I see a challenge call that should have been used, a timeout wasted, a 12-men on the field penalty, a needless delay of game (which happened about a minute earlier), or something else that proves curious (forgetting a key weapon for several possessions in a row) I always come back to feeling like Jason Garrett is trying to do too much.

    I would not have fired him for this game, either. It is his first full season. But we are making note of multiple cases now.


    No. 4 – October 14th, 2012 — at Baltimore
    This is where the body of evidence is starting to grow, because in Baltimore, the Cowboys botched another game and turned a dramatic and unlikely win into another hard-fought loss with a series of events that so resembled the Arizona debacle on a number of levels.

    Again, from my Morning After piece:

    In this fifth game in 2012, the situation was slightly different. It was a short pass to Dez Bryant who was tackled with :22 left. The Cowboys held one timeout. It was now second down and the easy thing to do here would be to clock the ball with :14 or so and preserve time for at least one more snap and throw to anywhere on the field – knowing that you still have one last timeout to get the field goal unit back on the field.

    Instead, the clock ran and ran before the timeout was finally called with :03 left. The Cowboys left Dan Bailey to try another field goal from 51 yards away, which he missed. It isn’t the coach’s fault his kicker missed. But it is the coach’s fault he again did not maximize the win probabilities by decreasing the distance with the remaining resources of time and timeouts.



    If my coach is butchering significant moments in significant games repeatedly, how can I blindly stand by and offer support for his overall program? Either he gets it right or he gets the assistance he needs to get it right. Hiring a play-caller last spring wouldn’t have assured anyone that Bailey makes a kick. But, it would likely make many of us feel better that they did everything they could to increase their chances. A great coach sees short-comings on his team – even if it is in the mirror. Again, I am not trying to hang this around the neck of Jason Garrett. But, I sure wish he didn’t offer so many opportunities for the media to do just that.

    Patience was beginning to run thin, as a team that finished 8-8 annually was seemingly giving away two wins per season. 10-6 might just be a matter of having a coach who understood these things.


    No. 5 – December 30th, 2012 — at Washington
    In this situation, with the NFC East on the line and playing against a team with a QB who had wrecked his knee and could hardly move, the Cowboys played one of their worst games of the era.

    From that game’s Morning After:

    Did you know the Cowboys had the ball in Washington territory on 8 of their first 9 possessions last night? 8 times on the Washington end of the field in their first 9 possessions (they only had 11 – the 10th possession was the interception to Jackson and the 11th possession was the garbage time sequence with 1 minute left) only resulted in 3 scores. 3 others ended in punts from plus territory and then, of course, the 2 interceptions that both ended drives early.

    That is why this offensive performance must be positioned as nothing short of a failure. The job, in particular by Tony Romo – the man who is most responsible for the Cowboys being in this position to begin with – was just not nearly at the level it needed to be to win a tough divisional road game on the final night of the season. Romo, as I am sure you are well aware, picked a horrendous time for his 4th multi-interception game of 2012. In those 4 games, as you might imagine, the Cowboys were winless. The first 3 were home games against the Bears, Giants, and these same Redskins, but this one had all of the trimmings of a playoff game and the picks were all damaging and key. But, no interception of Romo’s career might hurt as much as the last one of 2012. For that was a pick that comes down to that moment that everyone dreams when they discuss the credentials of their favorite QB. They always ask the question, “can this guy get your team down the field on that one drive with everything on the line?”

    And later that week,

    Jason Garrett is a bright offensive mind, but I also believe that he has had more than enough time to sort this offense better than he has. You could make the case that he was sabotaged by a poor personnel offseason as it pertains to the offensive line, but 6 years is a long time. 6 years for a play-caller and a QB to work together is a very rare luxury in the NFL, generally afforded to iconic offenses that are clearly not broken so there is no need to fix them. This offense, on the other hand, is never confused for flawless, and looks more problematic every year, despite continuity at QB and near perfect health all season on the unit.

    By the final whistle of 2012, I had enough of Jason Garrett. Sure, 40 games isn’t a long time for a head coach, but the true math added up to way more than that. It was 99 games in total from the time of his hire in 2007 working with Tony Romo and the offense. And here at the end of 2012, their partnership was almost as long as anyone in the industry who did not have a Super Bowl appearance. They still were losing winnable games and missing the playoffs. It made no sense. Enough time had passed. And there were enough examples.

    This was the first time I thought Jason Garrett should have been fired. Not because of that one game and that one collapse, but because they were 16-16 in those two seasons with a fully fit Tony Romo, and at worst, they should have been 20-12 with two divisional titles and playoff berths. Underachieving at this level cannot go on and on.

    This one was truly fireable. The Cowboys needed a new coach. They would not get one for seven more years.

    No. 6 – December 15th, 2013 – Green Bay
    They were playing a team with Matt Flynn at QB. An organization that had gone 1-4-1 since Aaron Rodgers had been injured. The Cowboys were up 26-3 at halftime in a game they had to win in Week 15 of a season after a four-year playoff drought. They played arguably the worst half of home football in the history of the franchise and lost to a backup QB and a team that had pretty much given up.

    Surely, this was the last straw. Amazingly, it was not. The December 15 performance, on the heels of the Washington loss in 2012, demonstrated that perhaps nothing could get Jason Garrett fired. I wrote the next day.

    Teams don’t blow leads of that magnitude very often – in fact, according to Scott Kacsmar, the NFL has only blown 3 home leads of this size since 1999. 3 times, of which the Cowboys have authored 2 of the 3 with Jason Garrett and Tony Romo at the helm. That’s right. The Cowboys have done it twice in the last 3 seasons with this loss and the home loss to Detroit back in 2011 (when they enjoyed a 27-3 lead early in the 3rd Quarter before ultimately losing).

    Realizing that the margin for error in both of those seasons is a single win separating a divisional title from another season on the outside of the playoffs, those facts alone might be enough to get many coaches fired under the “fireable offenses” bylaws that circulate around professional football.

    We can get to the discussion of how close the Jason Garrett era is to ending in the next 14 days where it will either be put to bed or it will happen, as I am now convinced that the next 2 weeks decide his job future 100%. This loss is unpardonable on the heels of the disaster in Chicago and considering the way this team has a history of playing just well enough to stay alive in the race until the end and just poor enough to spit the bit at the moment of truth.

    They would not win out and they would miss the playoffs again. And it still didn’t matter. They did not fire Jason Garrett again. He would survive to coach six more years.

    As you know, 2014 would really offer the false dawn of the Garrett era turning a corner. Surely, 2011-13 was simply a finishing school. After the great 2014 and the bad beat in the playoffs, the Jones family will be rewarded for patience and understanding that it sometimes takes a bit to figure things out. Heck, even I had started to second guess and confess that perhaps I had been too hasty. Maybe Jason Garrett was actually an elite NFL coach.

    2015-19 would, unfortunately, refute that case. But despite all of these incidents in his first five seasons, he would receive another five years before the Cowboys would admit that he wasn’t the guy they hoped he was to return the franchise to the promised land. It was truly a lost decade.

    Next time, we will detail the many wrong turns from the post-Tony Romo era.

  8. #1133
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    Here is part 2:

    This shall forever be known as Jason Garrett Week here in my little corner of The Athletic. I wanted to let the smoke clear and the tensions fade, and the time is right. Only two coaches in franchise history coached more than 80 regular-season games in Dallas: Tom Landry’s 418 and Jason Garrett’s 152. Enough books to fill a library have been written about Landry, so the least I can do is write a few pieces about the man who oversaw the Dallas sideline for 10 seasons. I invite you to treat these stories as a series and read each part as I close the book on a very memorable and frustrating era of Cowboys football before we cleanse our palates for the new dawn in 2020.

    We began Jason Garrett Week with Part 1 Monday: The unpardonable sins of 2011-2013

    Today, we will tackle what happened after the unlucky break at Lambeau Field in January of 2015. Seemingly both teams involved on that frigid day admit that Dez Bryant caught the ball. Disagreements ensue on what would have happened next. The Cowboys would have led with 4:06 to play — by a score of 28-26 after an extra point or perhaps 29-26 if they had cashed in for two. Green Bay had 17 points in their last three drives and seemed to have the Dallas defense spinning in circles against Aaron Rodgers. With a little luck, Dallas closes the deal and the Cowboys go to their first NFC Championship Game in 20 years with a trip to Seattle where they had already won three months earlier. The Super Bowl would have been on the line, and Garrett’s legacy would have taken a noticeable shot upward. Perhaps that fork in the road would have validated all of the blind faith from the Jones family for his first five years on the job.

    There would be no such luck, though. Dallas would not be given the completion at the Green Bay one-yard line. They would not touch the ball again as the Packers would run a 10-play drive to kill the remainder of the game, and the Patriots would ultimately win Super Bowl 49 in Glendale, culminating one of the most dramatic postseasons in history.

    The Cowboys seemed so close. Everything seemed so perfect. And then it was all gone. Tony Romo, the quarterback whom the team invested so much in, would finish just two more games as starting QB in his entire career. The throw to Dez Bryant in Green Bay might have been his crowning moment, and it serves as the high-water mark of a career that required years of build-up. It also might have signaled the door being closed on it all as his body had been battered along the way to a level where NFL football was too much for him to handle any longer.

    If one thing is certain in the NFL, it is that there is an end date on every career. Some players get a little luck with the health of their body, and some do not. Romo started 32 consecutive games to start his career and then only exceeded that mark one time: when he was able to take the field 47 times in a row from 2011-2013. There is no question this franchise has been blessed with absurd happiness. Much has gone right for America’s Team. But QB health has rarely worked out well for Dallas.

    So 2015 would be an exercise in figuring out how to climb those final few spots to the Lombardi Trophy and then having to demolish all plans when Romo was lost. The Cowboys tried to play a season without their starting QB and no real ideas behind him. For Jason Garrett, who now owned a brand new five-year, $30m contract extension that would cover 2015-19, it would be the ultimate test of taking a team that many thought could win it all, subtracting the franchise QB upon which everything has been built and still demonstrating competent NFL football.

    It did not go well. At all.

    Let’s continue our chronological list of the most firable offenses of Jason Garrett’s coaching tenure by starting in 2015 and concluding with his eventual dismissal.

    2015
    No. 7 – 2015 – One win in 12 games without Tony Romo
    Perhaps this is not specific enough. Maybe it’s simply unfair. I don’t believe it is, but the total collapse of the entire organization because Romo got hurt again (something that should not have been a surprise given his big injuries in 2008, 2010, 2013 and 2014) was simply inexcusable. With a team that was loaded at just about every position — aside from the ill-advised idea of trusting RB Joseph Randle and backup QB Brandon Weeden — the team went into an epic freefall that saw them lose every single game without Romo for almost the entire year. No single time period did more to enhance the public perception of the QB — which is incredible, given how split the fanbase was on the man at the end of 2013 and that he saw his public approval rise without taking a snap — and less for the coach of the team. It seemed completely reliant on Romo to bail everyone out in the entire organization. That clearly makes you question what the coach is there for. All goodwill that was earned from the valiant efforts of 2014 quickly disappeared for Garrett.

    They went 1-11 in the 12 games when Romo was inactive and lost them in every style imaginable. They lost games late because of silly mistakes. They were blown out early and hardly even showed up. They would show some scrappiness on the road and then play just well enough to lose at the end. Through it all, Garrett seemed to offer no real solutions and then, when chaos would ensue — such as Greg Hardy and Rich Bisaccia in a dustup on the Giants Stadium sidelines — he would stare straight ahead and not address a single thing as you would want your man in charge to properly do. It would be tough to explain firing a coach who spent an entire season without his starting QB and just signed a new five-year deal, but Garrett certainly did not inspire the slightest amount of confidence throughout 2015. If the Cowboys had a top coach in the NFL, they certainly offered no signs of that during one of the most disappointing seasons in memory.

    2016
    No. 8 — January 15, 2017 — Divisional Playoff vs Green Bay
    This one seems particularly unfair. The man had done the near-impossible. He had navigated a preseason loss of a franchise QB. He had handled the preseason loss of a backup QB. He had sorted through the rookie season of a third-tier QB taken at pick No. 135 and the even-more-unlikely run to 13-3, despite the original franchise QB coming back and having most of the fanbase and media rooting for him to retake his “rightful” starting job. Romo’s health status surely prevented this possibility from ever being seriously considered by the team’s decision-makers (and maybe even Romo), but that didn’t keep those on the outside from fanning all flames, causing the noise to increase. Through it all, though they had the No. 1 seed in the NFC and were two home wins from the Super Bowl in Dak Prescott’s rookie year. Even just this was the very ceiling of any reasonable expectation on September 1st.

    It would be a playoff game against their old friends in Green Bay. A team Garrett could never lose to as a player was a team he could not beat as a coach, aside from back in October with his rookie QB. This might just be the year.

    Here was the thing about that year, though, and we all knew it going into the game: The two offenses were opposites. One had the best QB in the game and would not run the ball. The other had the best running attack in the game and wasn’t really into throwing it. Styles will make fights here, but Dallas knew that since they drafted their vaunted offensive line, the Packers had been murdered on the ground against them. They simply could not stop the Cowboys in Wisconsin or Texas, in the regular season or the playoffs. The Cowboys ran the ball against the Packers for 6.3 per carry, which is off the charts. They were set up to stop the pass, not the run. Everyone knew it.

    We thought we did, at least. Here is what I wrote from the offensive breakdown after another loss when they buried themselves with a few missed passes in the first half before their rookie QB got rolling:

    What is the most legitimate critique of Sunday’s effort? For me, it is that the Cowboys had an unstoppable force against a defense that has no idea how to slow it down, and Dallas elected to not destroy its opponent with it. We talked about this in the Linehan preview last week: Since 2013, the Cowboys have played the Packers four times. In each game, they ran all day and had no issues whatsoever. They ran and ran and ran. They have run the ball with this massive offensive line against the Packers and Dom Capers 99 times in four games and have rolled up an absurd 641 yards. That comes out to 6.48 yards per carry. Oh, and the Cowboys are 1-3 in those four games.Well, make it 123 times for 779 yards in five matchups — 6.33 yards per carry! And a 1-4 record against Green Bay.

    Let’s go back to the question/critique of the entire offensive operation: Even with 31 points and 429 yards, why isn’t the answer to nearly every play-calling situation (within reason) running Elliott behind this offensive line you have built? The Cowboys are a running team. They claim that, identify that and lead all rushing categories. And yet, when it is third-and-2, they pass. Even when there is no reason not to give the ball to Elliott twice. I can understand the premise if the opposition was stopping you. The Giants have a chance. Surely, there are others. But Green Bay? You can barely find one play in five meetings where Green Bay is stopping the Cowboys’ running game. And yet the Cowboys are passing in run situations with the season on the line. I really don’t understand.

    Would I fire Garrett for what happened in a playoff game that required a Green Bay miracle after a 13-3 Dallas season? Of course not. But I left that game again thinking that Dallas had the second-best coach on the field. In the NFL, that means too much.

    2017
    Several examples in 2017 come to mind, starting with allowing the entire three-month-long Zeke suspension fiasco and the national anthem controversy to invade the locker room in a way a stronger coach might not tolerate. Of course, a more assertive coach might not tolerate Greg Hardy, Randy Gregory, Rolando McClain, Josh Brent and probably most Dez Bryant sideline tantrums, either. For that matter, a coach with a stronger sense of how things should be no doubt wouldn’t be starting his eighth season as head coach for the Jones family, so I guess we don’t need to go on.

    We could point out at least three more games, but I will limit my feelings about 2017 to one game and one game only, so as not to run up the score.

    No. 9 — November 12, 2017 —At Atlanta
    Chaz Green. Are you kidding me? From the Morning After:

    Could it have been avoided by the time you get to game day? Yes. The coaches did him no favors. You can’t hide a left tackle, but you can help him. In the third quarter, the Cowboys were still in the game. They take their first drive of that quarter right down the field with great power on the ground. Down just 17-7 with much of the second half to play, they marched all the way to the Falcons’ 12-yard line after Alfred Morris had runs of 14 yards, 20 yards, and 11 yards. They have actually salvaged the situation and now have a first down in the red zone. Why then, would you decide to hop back into shotgun on first down and ask Chaz Green to pass protect – on an island – against a guy who already has 4 sacks against him? It is first down and your offensive line and power personnel groupings had just mowed all the way down the field in a few short plays. And now, you want to take those tight ends off the field and get back into shotgun on first down? Predictably, the play ended in a sack and that drive was killed, too.

    Unfortunately, the coaches had not done enough damage yet. Even though the game was over in the fourth quarter (after a few more sacks), the staff that evidently had their brains suspended for the game are calling timeouts down 27-7 to try to get the ball back so they can call more plays in shotgun and get their star QB blindsided a few more times by Clayborn and friends who have savaged the left tackle spot long after Chaz Green was gone and Byron Bell (their other idea) was being served up on a platter. They should have been running the ball or even taking a knee – not calling timeouts to prolong the destruction – but Jason Garrett is going to never stop being Jason Garrett. They never really helped out Chaz Green, nor did they modify their strategies to protect him from getting Dak killed, but instead wanted to get the ball back to rerun their same poor strategies. Madness.

    I would like to tell you right here that this is where I thought Garrett should have been fired. Honestly, though, you already know that was in 2012. This was the game when I suggested Garrett and Scott Linehan should have been left on the tarmac in Atlanta. Ridiculous doesn’t fully categorize it.

    2018
    Starting 2018 with no wide receivers after cutting Dez Bryant and deciding Allen Hurns, Terrance Williams, Deonte Thompson and Cole Beasley were sufficient receiving options will not make our list. Nor will the ridiculous showings in both Carolina and Seattle to start the year. I might also apologize to the game at Washington and the goofy appearance at home against Tennessee on Monday Night football. Nope. In the interest of time and your sanity, this headliner was always going to be the trip to Houston.

    No. 10 — October 7th, 2018 — At Houston
    He had to go. How did the Cowboys enter a ninth year with this millstone still around their neck?

    Again from the Morning After, this time after a beautiful new site known as The Athletic had gone online:

    This is a game they needed to win, with Jacksonville coming to town next week. For all the imperfections of an offense that can hardly produce 300-yard days anymore (and this one even gave the ball away a couple of times), Dallas scrapped its way to this moment in time with under six minutes to go in overtime with the ball. Their choices were as follows:

    A) Take the talent you do have on this offense, with first- and second-round picks Tyron Smith, Zack Martin, Connor Williams, Ezekiel Elliott, and honorary first-round pick La’el Collins (who we all know was certainly thought of as such before his unfortunate draft weekend in 2015) and challenge the Texans to stop you on 4th and 1 from the Texans’ 42-yard line. Do this because you are 18 out of 19 in the Ezekiel Elliott era on 4th-and-1 for 95%, and only failed last year in Week 17 in Philadelphia. You probably can just sneak your big QB for the yard, but if not, there are about a dozen different variations of either ramming Zeke or using him as a decoy for a bootleg or a wide play with speed.

    B) Punt, because you are a very conservative coach on a team that can’t overcome your conservatism any further.

    Again, this is not the first quarter. Your team has battled its tail off for about three hours already and you need this win. The team is not good enough to overcome coaching themselves out of a few wins anymore. If you cost the Cowboys any games in 2018, you are most likely missing the playoffs which hypothetically should mean a regime change. Let’s ask this question about the rest of the league. Well, according to the greatness of the Profootballreference.com play finder, there have been 52 situations like this one (including five from Dallas) in the NFL since the start of last season — that is, 4th and 1 from between midfield and the opponent’s 40-yard line — at any point of a game. The rest of the league has decided this is where you go for it, and have done so 37 of 47 times (79%). Incidentally, they have succeeded on 25 of those 37 attempts on 4th and 1 (68%).

    Not Jason Garrett. For he is the only coach in the NFL in the last two years who faced this situation and called out the punter on multiple occasions. The league, as a whole, has punted only 12 times in those 52 occasions. Jason Garrett is the only one to do it twice. He punted on the first drive of the game against Kansas City last year and then in overtime last night.

    “It was a long yard.”


    Again, those are 10 different moments when I was pretty concerned or convinced that this wasn’t the guy to lead this team back to the promised land. Maybe I was unfair, but in which direction? I might have been too tough on one or two, but if you said I need to get to 25 moments, it wouldn’t have been that hard. Remember Calvin Johnson going for 300? Josh McCown putting up 45? The Saints scoring seven touchdowns in eight drives? No? Just as well, I promise.

    2019
    In his 10th and final season, Garrett seemed convinced he could not be fired. He now tried to test the limits of his job security with one crazy idea after the next.

    Here is but a shortlist.

    Dallas refused to bring in a single kicker to compete with one who was inarguably bad in 2018. It would cost them dearly.
    Dallas lost as a road favorite in Week 4 against a Saints team without its QB.
    Dallas lost to Green Bay at home despite outgaining the Packers by 230 yards, playing them without their only WR of note in Davante Adams, giving up 55 yards receiving to wide receivers and holding the Packers to only three third- or fourth-down conversions.
    Dallas lost to a Jets team which only scored a combined 39 points in four games. The Cowboys were a seven-point favorite and playing a QB who had been missing for several weeks. They would allow Sam Darnold one of the best performances of his life. This would also represent the third time Garrett would face the Jets and the third time he would lose to the Jets. In a nutshell, this actually explains much of his Dallas career in three acts.
    Dallas would lose a crucial game to Minnesota at home. Their QB played nearly perfect football but would be sabotaged by two coaching issues that included a red-zone play-calling snafu inside the final two minutes and an incredibly bizarre command to order Tavon Austin to take a fair catch despite nobody within 20 yards of him inside the final 20 seconds. It was among the worst moments of Garrett’s coaching career.


    Perhaps, as opposed to commenting, let me just round out the list.

    Another incredibly absent-minded day of special teams work in New England. Dallas couldn’t score a touchdown, then got a punt blocked, muffed a few kickoff returns and received a punt without a deep return man. Those details get you beat.
    Dallas then laid another egg against mighty Buffalo despite being a touchdown favorite at home on Thanksgiving.
    Dallas allowed Mitchell Trubisky to throw for three touchdowns and run for another, accounting for a season-high four scores. The Cowboys lost as a favorite once again, something they did a season-high seven times (tied with the Chargers).
    They finally cut the worst kicker in football when it was too late. The damage had been done.
    They were nearly full strength when playing the Eagles, who were missing so many parts they started a rookie and a college QB as their two wide receivers. They also were on their fourth RB and played a backup right tackle. They lost in a very humiliating way, and here you would blame the Jones family again for insisting that a fired-coach-to-be was better than an interim coach. The product disagreed.
    With one play left, the season on the line and all their timeouts available, Dallas ran a 4th-and-8 play without Amari Cooper on the field. They then tried to suggest it was by design. If ever a coach had to explain a ridiculous, inexplicable decision, I imagine this was it. The franchise ended up giving Cooper $100 million, which seems to indicate they were befuddled, too.
    I wrote this after the disaster in Chicago. It followed a similar article I wrote after the Buffalo game, in which I wondered why the Joneses refused to fire Garrett when the team was beyond lifeless:

    I see no logical reason to counter the simple belief that Jason Garrett must be fired today. Actually, the counter was to do it a week ago. There is simply no air left in the balloon. We have reached the part of the story when everyone knows what is around the next corner.

    The coach knows he is gone. He understands the business and he understands his room. He has been in the NFL for three decades and is far more familiar with how this works than most of us could ever be. Coaches talk about the moment they realize they are a “dead man walking,” and then it becomes an exercise in simply carrying out your own role with dignity and class. No, he is not going to quit on his team, but he knows they stopped responding and he knows who will ultimately pay for that. Cats have nine lives, and this Cowboys coach had nine full seasons. We believe he just used up the last one.

    The amazing part of this decade-long story is that even toward the end, the Cowboys still wouldn’t fire Jason Garrett. The final game was played on December 29th, 2019. From then until January 5th, 2020, there was no word — just a series of bizarre stories and half reports that still indicated internal wrestling about Garrett’s future.

    He was the coach they couldn’t fire. He helped authorize a lost decade of Cowboys football. We will never forget it, but many hope to soon.

    On Friday, we will complete Jason Garrett Week by trying to figure out what we learned before turning the page completely.

  9. #1134
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    Quote Originally Posted by QB_Eagles View Post
    Allowed 1.88 points per drive in 2019 (14th) compared to 1.91 in 2018 (15th).
    So they were still very average on defense and they finished 8-8. If their defense had played up to the hype and finished in the top 10 like their offense did it’s conceivable that they would have won 2 more games which would have won them the NFC East.


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  10. #1135
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    Quote Originally Posted by jaydubb View Post
    I averaged the scores up and in those 10 games against teams that finished the season 6-10 or better the cowboys defense gave up 21.6 points per game. That’s not far off from their season total of 20.1 points per game and is still above average (would be 14th best in NFL).

    The cowboys offense in those 10 games put up 19.4 points per game compared to their season total of 27.1 points per game. 19.4 points per game would be 8th worst in the league

    Seems to me like the cowboys defense was more consistent than the cowboys offense
    The defense was consistently average.


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  11. #1136
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mamba42 View Post
    I think there is way too little emphasis on the drag that Jason Garrett was on the Cowboys. Does anyone here have a subscription to The Athletic? If so, read these two links:

    https://theathletic.com/1818986/2020...-of-2011-2013/

    https://theathletic.com/1822960/2020...-in-2015-2019/

    It's just painful to remember the (basically) decade of incompetence from Jason Garrett as the head coach. He is a good coach for a rebuilding team, IMO, but he's not a guy that will get you over the hill because his approach leaves way too little room for error.
    I was just about to say that Garrett was sooooo freaking bad at making decisions with this team. It would kill me when he would play so conservative at the end of close games. And I have never seen a coach that was worse at making adjustments during a game. Then you hear about all the crap that Kris Richard was teaching and honestly I’m surprised they won 8 games last year.

    I know a lot of people on this board criticize Dak for this or that and some of it is warranted but he really can’t be blamed for this teams overall record. He had an anchor for a head coach. He was really bad for a really long time.


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  12. #1137
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr.B View Post
    So they were still very average on defense and they finished 8-8. If their defense had played up to the hype and finished in the top 10 like their offense did it’s conceivable that they would have won 2 more games which would have won them the NFC East.


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    And if the Eagles catch 3 passes to end games they would have 3 more wins, still winning the division.

    No reason to play what-ifs though. Dak didn't lead them to the wins they needed.

  13. #1138
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    Garrett is the worst. I feel for you Giants fans, it’s going to be a long, slow, boring, mistake filled years for you guys.


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  14. #1139
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    I’ll tell you who needs sports back .. sports radio . Lol .. my god do they need it back . I listened to Anthony Gaurdano rank NFL teams since 2000 . Right away he put the Eagles at #2 . I’m in my car so I’m just listening but I’m thinking that seems high . Big Red was the beast of the East and they do have a ring to add now but I’m like .. I don’t know . So his people start reading winning seasons , playoff births , SB appearances and rings .. and Gaurgano just kept saying OMG .. OMG .. OMG ... when I got out of the car they slipped to 7th 😂😂

  15. #1140
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr.B View Post
    The defense was consistently average.


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    Well, consistently above average. They gave up 16.5 points per game in those easy 6 games and in those 10 less easy games against teams 6-10 or above they gave up 21.6. So that’s like a 5 point swing which isn’t terrible and like I said, that 21.6 points per game is still above average and should definitely be enough to keep a high powered offense in games.

    However, like I said the offense put up 19.5 points per game in those same 10 games which would be amongst the worst 1/4 in the league. The point per game average they put up in those other six games was 36.0 points per game. That’s a huge difference. Nearly a 17 point difference for the offense and a 5 point difference for the defense.

    Your baby can't do this

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