It’s a bit too soon to call for Jason Garrett to be fired as coach of the Cowboys so I’m not going there yet. After the bye week, JG has six games to make the case to keep him as coach.
But has Jason already lost this team? In the Saints game, it sure appeared that the team folded up quickly after they fell behind. It was an epic defeat and collapse in fact, the kind of loss that can lead to staff changes eventually.
I’ve just never gotten the impression that Garrett, who rules in the shadow of a very hands-on owner, is a strong leader. A lot of diplomacy and avoidance of creating waves, when he speaks. But leaders don’t sit on fences. They make a decision, go a direction, and lead. If you are concerned about everyone liking you, then being an NFL coach may not be for you. Or coaching on any level for that matter.
“The art of leadership is saying no, not saying yes. It is very easy to say yes.” –Tony Blair
As parents, many of us have to lead by doing what’s in the best interest of our children even if it’s not a popular decision at the time. And we hope one day they get it.
After the Saints game, Jason said he should have taken Romo and Dez out of the game late when they were down 32 points.
“We should have taken all those guys out,” Garrett said. “They all wanted to stay in, ‘We’re not coming out,’ but that was a bad decision by me. We should have taken them out of the game.”
Well it sounds like it wasn’t Jason’s decision at all. Sounds like the players involved made the call.
I picture the conversation going something like this.
NOT ACTUAL BUT MY TAKE:
JG: Hey Romo, this game is a wrap. Got to take you out of the game to not risk injury.
Romo: Hell No. I’m staying in.
JG: OK. Just a suggestion.
Romo: It’s Jerry’s team. Heck, you don’t even call the plays anymore. What do you do besides stand over here and exchange chest bumps when we score a TD?
As head coach, I would expect Jason to do what is best for the team and not have an open forum to discuss the decision. Grow a pair and make the call. If it’s in the best interest of the team to sit them, then just do it. Sitting Romo much sooner would have been justified just because the offense was stinking up the joint.
What is worse than not taking them out of the game and therefore risking a unneccessary injury, is that it appears Jason didn’t even make the decision he felt he should have made. Leaders aren’t indecisive.
Early in the game my man Dewayne Harris (if every player gave the effort Harris does, Dallas would be 10-0 right now) had a nice kickoff return and was pushed from behind late as he went out of bounds. It clearly should have drawn a flag but it didn’t and Harris was injured as he crashed into the Saints sideline.
Garrett just strolled over like he was checking the mail or something. I expected him to get in the official’s face and point out that there should have been a flag on the dirty play. These Saints were the bounty gate guys remember?
Making a stand for his hurt player, could have provided his team something to rally behind. And trust me, they needed something to light a fire under them. Jason was far too calm for my liking, given the situation. A missed opportunity to assert as a leader.
Lions game with Dez and Romo:
The media was all over Dez ranting toward Romo on the sideline during the Lions game. Again, no leadership demonstrated by Jason in the situation. Couldn’t he have at least gone over there and talked to them and get the two guys on the same page? Just be a leader, take control of the situation, and pull everyone together.
Jay Ratliff Hot Mess:
When Ratliff was playing Jerry as a fool by cashing the checks and not playing, Garrett was telling us how hard Rat was working to rehab and get back on that field for the Cowboys. We all know now that he has been cut, Rat had no intention of playing another down in Dallas. And in this blog I stated before the season, Rat wasn’t going to play and didn’t want to play for Jerry and the Cowboys.
But why couldn’t Jason, the head coach pick up on that fact? Does a large disconnect exist between Jason and the players in the locker room?
I just think a good coach makes sure he knows what is going on with the players behind the scenes. If a guy doesn’t want to be there, coach should know it before it hits the sports channel on TV.
Garrett should have identified Ratliff as a toxin in the locker room last season and disassociated his team from him quickly. But that would have been an action that only a true leader would take.
While cracks in the foundation exist, I don’t know if Jason has completely lost this team or not. But I do think we are going to find out real soon, in these next six games, whether he can get his guys to respond to him or not.
At the end of the 2011 season, when Dallas just missed qualifying for the playoffs after losing to the Giants, DT Jason Hatcher called out Dallas as in need of accountability and leadership.
“You’ve got to have somebody hold you accountable,” Hatcher said. “With a leader like (Ray Lewis), everybody is accountable and guys aren’t doing their own thing. (Lewis) is in there. Everybody is going in one direction. So once you have that, you’ll be good. We’re still looking for it.”
By “it”, Hatcher means leadership.
At the end of the 2013 season, will Hatcher and the Cowboys still be searching for it?