The 5 o’clock club aims to provide a forum for reader-driven discussion at a time of day when there isn’t much NFL news being published. Feel free to introduce topics that interest you in the comments below.
Jason Garrett is the perfect 8-8 coach.
Don’t let my use of the word “perfect” confuse you; it’s not really a compliment.
I mean, don’t get me wrong — it’s better than being the perfect 7-9 coach (not that I’m mentioning any names).
From 2011 through 2015, Garrett’s first 5 full seasons as a head coach, his record was perfect: 40 - 40.
He messed up a little bit last year when his starting quarterback broke his back and he accidentally had to play two rookies and shift to a run-heavy offense that took the team to a division title, but that wasn’t the Garrett plan, and anyway, the Cowboys are working hard to restore the natural order of the universe. They’ve spent most of this season with a losing record, and they’re likely to lose another three Zeke-less games before entering the final two weeks of the season with Elliott back on the payroll, but nothing left to play for.
I feel sure that Jason Garrett must be on the hot seat as the head coach in Dallas right now. He seems to be a fair bet to be one of the coaches that make up the 25% annual turnover. One thing that makes me feel like Jason Garrett is in trouble in Dallas right now is the fact that I keep reading so many headlines saying that he isn’t in trouble.
If he isn’t in trouble in Dallas, why is it news to say that his job is safe?
From the Star-Telegram on Friday:
Is Cowboys coach Jason Garrett concerned about his job security?
From Bleacher Report on Saturday:
Jerry Jones Hasn't Thought of Replacing Jason Garrett Despite Cowboys' Struggles
NFL.com weighed in this week as well:
Jerry Jones gives Jason Garrett 'vote of confidence'
With everyone suddenly telling us that Jason Garrett isn’t in trouble, he must be okay, right?
Well, Jerry Jones wanted to make things perfectly clear this week:
We're not playing good. We're not a good team right now.
Okay, no argument from me. But what about Garrett and the coaching staff? They’re not in any trouble, are they?
I feel about this staff the same way I feel about my mirror -- that's what if there's some changes made, don't change what's in front of the mirror, because I can change what you're doing that the mirror is seeing.
Yeah, thanks for that, Jerry. What I’m looking for here is some assurance that Jason Garrett’s job is as safe as all the headlines say it is.
Candidly, I'm really not shaken. I'm disappointed....
So, you are disappointed in your coaches?
this isn't the negative vote of confidence at all.
Jerry, are you telling us that you do endorse your coaching staff?
I want to say it the best way I can. That's not what I'm saying.
So, bottom line, do you or do you not fully endorse Jason Garrett and his staff?
"What I'm reluctant to do here is say a affirmative thing about our staff, and look like that endorsement. I don't want to look like they're getting the proverbial endorsement. That's not what's happening.
Okay. So we’re clear on the incredible level of support that Jason Garrett enjoys from his boss. Jason and his staff are not getting “the proverbial endorsement” (which proverb was that in, by the way?).
I think it’s important to point out that Jason Garrett’s staff is just as secure in their jobs as Garrett is in his. I know, because, well, there are more headlines to tell me so.
Sports Day from Dallas News this week made it very clear:
Jason Garrett confident in OC Scott Linehan despite Cowboys' offensive struggles
Boy! I’m glad I don’t work in an industry where my boss has to reassure me about my job security by being quoted in the paper that I’m doing a good job “despite” my “struggles”.
No smoke. No fire.
That’s not to say that things couldn’t go south — or maybe I should say continue south. After the past three games, this Jason Garrett led team is pretty much standing on the bank of the Rio Gande, getting ready to wade across. Again, I know because the ESPN headlines tell me so:
With five games left, Jason Garrett needs to find answers to Cowboys' woes
You know, when I read the words “struggles” and “woes” in headlines, I usually think things are going badly somewhere, but it seems pretty clear from the headlines that everything is honky dory at the Star in Frisco. There are no problems there right now... no-siree-Bob. I read the news, and everyone is saying that everything is peachy keen.
According to ESPN, Jason Garrett isn’t worried at all,
“I think the biggest thing you try to do is not really concern yourself with what the wins and losses are at this point,” said Garrett.
It’s good that Jason isn’t concerned with the losses, because everyone else is. The win-loss count is 5-6 overall this season, with 3 consecutive losses in which the Cowboys haven’t scored more than 9 points in any game.
But — hey! — nothing to worry about, right?
The latest headline from Pro Football Talk assures us that Jason Garrett certainly isn’t worried; that the 22 points in three games isn’t leading to panic in Dallas. In fact, looking at the headline, it apparently isn’t leading to any changes whatsoever:
Jason Garrett: No drastic changes coming to offense
The article itself is a little less sanguine than the headline.
Dak Prescott called it a “funk.” Other words perhaps better describe the Cowboys’ offense the past three games. How about “worst ever?”
The Cowboys have scored fewer than 10 points in three consecutive games, a feat never before seen in team history.
But coach Jason Garrett said Friday the Cowboys will not make drastic changes as they seek answers. Among the things that will remain the same: Offensive coordinator Scott Linehan as play-caller.
“Certainly we’re always looking at ourselves and things that we can do better, but our convictions as a coaching staff, or as a football team, really won’t change,” Garrett said, via Drew Davison of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
“You’re looking for different ways to implement things. You self-scout. You do a lot of different things week by week to give your team the best chance possible. But the core convictions about how you win ball games? They remain intact.”
The Cowboys’ 28.3 points average per game heading into the November 12 game against the Falcons ranked fourth in the NFL. Since then, they have scored two touchdowns, including one on a 21-yard drive following a turnover. The Falcons, Eagles and Chargers outscored the Cowboys 92-22.
Look, I’m being too negative. I realize that a dose of positivity is what I needed.
Forget the dissatisfied owner, the coaches under pressure, or the jaded journalists looking for some clickbait headlines. If I want to feel good about the Cowboys and their future, all I really need to do is visit the SB Nation fan website, Blogging the Boys. These guys are die-hard, bleeding silver & blue Dallas Cowboys fans. They can see the Silver & Blue lining behind any dark cloud. If I want to be able to find real support for Jason Garrett and his team, I’m sure to find it there.
This week, you'll likely hear a lot about how the Cowboys still have their fate in their own hands, about how Dak Prescott can still lead this team to the playoffs, about how the Cowboys could still run the table, or how a win next week against the Redskins can put them back into the playoff race.
Forget about all of that. The Cowboys are not making the playoffs this year. This is not a team that can suddenly go 5-0 down the stretch. Because contrary to what the Cowboys have said in the past, they have no secret sauce - or it's all used up.
With the 2017 season down the drain, the Cowboys' braintrust can now start asking themselves some of the same questions the 2004 braintrust must have asked at the time.
Is it time to move to a different defensive scheme? Do the Cowboys have the right players for their offensive and defensive schemes? Is shopping at the thrift store the right strategy in free agency?
The question, “Do we need a new head coach?” seems to fit neatly into that list doesn’t it?
The Cowboys will eventually win another game or two, perhaps when Ezekiel Elliott makes it back, perhaps when they face an even more inept opponent. It won't matter.
Whatever secret sauce they had last year is not working this year, and the Cowboys don't appear to have any idea how to make it work again.
I guess it’s time to accept it. Despite what all the headlines this week are telling me, all is not well in Arlington Texas.
Things are not gonna be okay.
The owner isn’t going to not exactly not endorse the coaching staff to avoid publicly throwing them under the bus.
Even the die-hard fans from the Cowboys number one fan site are already talking about next season!
Here’s one more article from Blogging the Boys that sums up the situation rather nicely:
It is also apparent that Jason Garrett has failed, miserably so, in getting the team out of it’s death spiral. The calls are mounting for the dismissal of him and/or members of his staff.... Is this [poor] season because of his failings, or because the various obstacles became too much for anyone to overcome? The answer is probably a bit of both, but a large part of the blame also has to fall on Jones’ shoulders for his role in building the now-inadequate roster and stirring up or aggravating so much controversy.
It may be time to close the books on this season and start working on getting things fixed for 2018. It almost certainly will be if the team loses even one more game. Right now, that looks almost inevitable....
Wins are the only solution for that problem. Unfortunately, those look to be very hard for this team to accomplish. And if the team does rebound only when Elliott returns for the last two games, that is another kind of problem for the team to face going forward.
Thursday can’t come quick enough. I want to see the Redskins kick ‘em while they’re down! I’m a child of the George Allen era, so I celebrate problems in Dallas. I hate the Cowboys.
It’ll be good to see the Redskins give Jason Garrett another little shove toward the door.
Actually, when I think about it, they’d be doing him a favor. If Jason gets the axe at the end of the season, he’ll actually leave the Cowboys with a winning record. Even if the ‘Boys lose their final 5 games, Jason Garrett would be 4 games above .500 in his seven full seasons as the Dallas head coach, and that’s an accomplishment that’s more important than getting to a NFC Championship game, which he hasn’t been able to do in his 7 1⁄2 seasons since taking over in 2010.
Of course, If he isn’t fired this season, then Garrett will have the entire 2018 season to drop his career record back to a perfect .500.
I have total faith that he can make it happen.
Do you want Jerry Jones to retain Jason Garrett and his staff at the end of the 2017 season?
This poll is closed