Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has never been one to be patient while his team flounders in mediocrity. Although he’s stuck by head coach Jason Garrett longer than most of his hires, his patience must be wearing thin, and if the Cowboys squander yet another chance to make the playoffs, Garrett’s job status will suddenly be in question.
Since taking over as the team’s head coach in 2010, Jason Garrett has failed to lead the Dallas Cowboys to a winning record. Following the Wade Phillips era, Garrett was able to lead the Cowboys to a 5-3 record in the second half of the 2010 season after Dallas started just 1-7. Since his strong start, Garrett has led the Cowboys to back-to-back 8-8 seasons, and at 7-7, he has his team on track for a third straight .500 season.
In the Cowboys’ most recent loss, a 37-36 collapse in which Tony Romo once again failed to perform in the clutch, Jason Garrett pulled no punches in pointing out that Tony Romo made a bad decision throwing the ball when the Cowboys were trying to eat the clock.
“Tony threw a pass on what we call a smoke — or a flash — that we have accompanying runs if he gets a bad look. That's what happened on the interception. It was a run call that he threw the ball on.”
That pass, of course, set the Packers up to pull off the final portion of the comeback, leading to more questions about the job status of Jason Garrett.
It’s fair to question Tony Romo’s ability to pull out wins in the clutch. After all, we’ve seen him throw games away time after time, but in this case, Tony Romo’s inability to win big games wasn’t the biggest problem. Sure, he collapsed at the worst possible time for the Cowboys, but it was Jason Garrett’s continued inability to manage the clock that ultimately doomed the Cowboys.
According to ESPN, the Cowboys dropped back to pass on all but one of 15 plays between the 1:04 mark in the third quarter and the 2:58 mark in the fourth quarter, a time period in which the Cowboys led by no less than five points. In shorter terms, the Cowboys were passing when they should have been running the ball.
This is nothing new to Cowboys fans, and it’s the biggest reason Jason Garrett hasn’t experienced success as a head coach in the NFL. His clock management is terrible. There’s a time to pass the ball, but it’s not with a huge lead, especially when that lead was built with a robust running attack. Why would you ever pass the ball when the opponent can’t stop the run?
Will Jason Garrett be fired at season’s end? That’s not a simple question. If Dallas is able to make their way into the playoffs, Garrett will likely stay on board for an extra season, but if the Eagles are able to hang onto the division lead, it’s hard to imagine Jerry Jones constructing an argument for keeping Garrett.
If, however, the question becomes, should the Cowboys fire Jason Garrett? The answer is far simpler. Yes. Since taking over in 2010, the Cowboys have been chronic underachievers, and Garrett has been able to sabotage the Cowboys from the sidelines. He may be a more-than-capable play caller, but he’s not a natural leader, and results such as Sunday’s loss to the Packers are the evidence.