Despite currently sitting atop the NFC East with a narrow lead, could the Dallas Cowboys decide to move on from head coach Jason Garrett this week?
When former backup quarterback Jason Garrett was given the official title as head coach of the Dallas Cowboys after spending part of the 2010 season as an interim replacement for Wade Phillips, he became the first former player of the historic franchise to be given the helm of America’s Team.
Seven men had preceded Garrett as the Cowboys’ head coach before his first official season in 2011. And after a near decade in the position, only the great Tom Landry has held the post longer. Of course, Landry spent 29 years as the head coach of America’s Team. And it appears Garrett may not last the season.
In fact, after this week’s comments by owner and general manager Jerry Jones, some are speculating that Garrett may not last the week. Following the team’s 13-9 loss to the New England Patriots on Sunday, Jones expressed his immense frustrations to the media about the Cowboys’ lack of success and coaching blunders.
Here’s what Jones told NFL Network this week while promoting The Salvation Army’s annual Red Kettle Campaign per the team’s official site, DallasCowboys.com.
“I know we’ve got a lot of things to think about. Who’s coaching, who’s playing, who’s compared to another player someplace else. How about, let’s win some ballgames, folks. We can take that other stuff. I’m not known as a guy that gets hand cramps when I’m writing checks. But I want to win games.”
And Jones made Garrett’s role in this very clear.
“I want Jason to get it done.”
Garrett was believed to be on the hot seat in Dallas after Jones refused to extend his contract past this year, making the nine-year head coach a lame duck going into this season without a deal in place for 2020.
But Jones also used the phrase “bottom-line business” when referring to Garrett. And the results have yielded little fruit as the Cowboys have won just two playoff games during the 53-year old’s long and tenuous tenure as head coach.
Still, the fact is the 6-5 Cowboys do have a slim one-game led over the 5-6 Philadelphia Eagles for the led in the NFC East. If Dallas loses to the Bills, they’ll still retain that led over Philly even if the Birds defeat the 2-9 Miami Dolphins on Sunday because the Cowboys defeated Philadelphia back in Week Seven, 37-10.
So it seems unlikely Dallas would decide to move on from their head coach while still having the divisional lead with just four games to go. I could only think of two reasons the Cowboys might choose to take such drastic measures.
One, switching head coaches and allowing a new voice to dominate the locker room could spur the Cowboys players themselves to lift their game to another level to finish the season strong going into the playoffs. Some of that motivation figures to come out of the fear that sweeping changes are coming next season and they must prove themselves once again.
Two, the Cowboys could simply want to get a head start in finding and securing a replacement head coach for next season before other franchises poach the coaching carousel. This one seems less likely simply because Dallas has a chance to make the playoffs right now. And this seems like a move a more desperate franchise or rebuilding team would make.
The biggest issue facing Dallas is their schedule. Despite the Cowboys having the lead in the division, they are also seen a having a more difficult upcoming schedule than the Eagles. Dallas is set to face the 8-3 Buffalo Bills, the 5-6 Chicago Bears, the 6-5 Los Angeles Rams, and the 2-9 Washington Redskins. While Philly faces the aforementioned 2-9 Dolphins, the 2-9 Redskins, and the 2-9 New York Giants twice.
The real battle for the NFC East could take place in Week 16 when the Dallas Cowboys take on the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. It might easily be the contest that determines whether Jason Garrett remains the head coach of America’s Team or not. But even then, with just one game left afterward, Garrett would likely still finish out the season in Dallas.