Three Reasons Why the Dallas Cowboys Must Fire Jason Garrett

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Ricky Dimon

NFL

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Since graduating from Davidson (The College That Stephen Curry Built), I have been writing about sports--just about any and all you can think of!--and coaching tennis in Atlanta, Ga. Beyond the four major sports, I am an avid tennis fan and cover the ATP Tour on a daily basis. If I'm not busy writing, you can generally find me on a tennis court or traveling the world wherever a sporting event takes me.

It’s time for the Dallas Cowboys to finally fire Jason Garett. It’s past time, in fact. By that franchise’s lofty standards, it has been lousy for the better part of two decades and early returns during the 2018 campaign suggest things are not improving. But longtime owner Jerry Jones is nothing if not loyal and Garrett is his guy. So it would not be a surprise to see Jones and his front office continue tinkering with the player personnel instead of with the coaching staff. Careful, rational consideration, however, would convince Jones to make a change at the top for three primary reasons.

Playoff Futility

Since winning three Super Bowls during a dominant four-year stretch from 1992 through 1995 (two under Jimmy Johnson, one with Barry Switzer at the helm), the Cowboys have not even appeared in the NFC Championship Game. Chan Gailey, Dave Campo, Bill Parcells, and Wade Phillips are partly responsible for the current drought, but Garrett is the team’s longest-tenured head coach other than Tom Landry and in turn must accept the majority of the blame. Dallas has won just a single postseason game under Garrett, unspectacularly scraping past the Detroit Lions 24-20 in the 2014 wild-card round before getting bounced by the Green Bay Packers 26-21 in the infamous Dez Bryant catch or no-catch game. The Cowboys could not even prevail in the playoffs when they were the NFC’s No. 1 seed in 2016, getting upset at home by Green Bay 34-31. A 1-2 playoff record plus five out of seven seasons watching the postseason festivities from the couch is not going to cut it. And at 3-4 so far this year, Dallas may be on the outside looking in once more.

Conservative Play-Calling

The Cowboys’ two most recent losses have come three points each. With a little more aggressive—some would simply say “better”—decision-making by Garrett, they could be 5-2 instead of 3-4. During Week 5 action at the Houston Texans, the 52-year-old elected to punt on 4th-and-1 from the Texans’ 42-yard line. A 59-yard field goal is makeable for just about any NFL kicker these days, while one yard with a decent offensive line and Ezekiel Elliott at running back should be a gimme. Instead, Houston happily accepted a punt and promptly drove down the field for a game-winning field goal. In a Week 7 setback at the Washington Redskins, Garrett settled for a game-tying field-goal attempt despite having 52 seconds left and one timeout in his pocket with the ball at Washington’s 46-yard line. Three conservative plays later, a 47-yard field goal turned into a 52-yarder because of a bizarre illegal-snap penalty and Brett Maher missed it off the left upright to hand the ‘Skins a 20-17 win.

New Era

Most teams don’t beat around the bush when they go into rebuilding mode; they go all out to the tune of new players, a new head coach, and perhaps even new upper management. That’s not say that the Cowboys are rebuilding. After all, they’ve endured only one losing season (4-12 in 2015) in Garrett’s seven full years running the ship. But they do feature plenty of somewhat new players at key positions. Both Elliott and quarterback Dak Prescott are in their third seasons. Wide receiver Amari Cooper was just acquired from Oakland to basically replace Bryant. Garrett’s guys were Tony Romo and Dez Bryant, plus tight end Jason Witten. Those guys are gone; Garrett should be, too.

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