Jason Garrett Another 8-8 Finish But Remains Coach of Cowboys

Three consecutive 8-8 seasons.

Three consecutive 8-8 seasons.


“Some men are born mediocre, some men achieve mediocrity, and some men have mediocrity thrust upon them. With Major it had been all three” [Joseph Heller Catch-22]

A quote from the novel “Catch 22” by Joseph Heller about a character named Major Major which was both his name and rank in the military. As a joke, his parents had named him Major. If you like, you may substitute Jason Garrett’s name in place of Major and read the quote again.

In the novel, Major Major (sounds like 8-8) is described as always following the rules and a portrayal of an inept role.

Major Major is swiftly promoted to commander but it really means nothing. “‘You’re the new squadron commander,’ Colonel Cathcart had shouted rudely across the railroad ditch to him. ‘But don’t think it means anything, because it doesn’t. All it means is that you’re the new squadron commander.’

You may substitute Jerry Jones in place of Colonel Cathcart. It works perfectly.

Owner Jerry Jones suddenly promoted Jason to head coach after a 1-7 start in the 2010 season that was going horribly wrong with Wade Phillips as head coach. Jason’s title and rank don’t really mean anything as we all know that Jerry is the real commander here. It’s his team and Jason plays the role of yes man.

Jason was a third string QB for the Cowboys in the NFL and in college he transferred from Princeton to Columbia University where his dad was head coach. After a 0-10 season, Jason’s dad resigned as coach and Jason headed back to Princeton to continue his rather mediocre football career at an ivy league school completing passes against future wall street analysts, not future NFL CBs.

Forgive me, but I can’t find anything outstanding about Jason’s football coaching career. What are his credentials exactly? It’s not like he ever even coached a High School team to a championship or anything. No wins as a college coach either. Is there a winning season as head coach at the Pop Warner level at least?

Cowboy fans have been forced to watch Jason learn on the job in matters of game management. It’s been painful to watch at times and the word inept would serve well to describe it.

So should we really be stunned to see a mediocre leader take the Cowboys team to a mediocre record three years in a row? See Jason is a 8-8 kind of guy. Players don’t really seem to dislike Jason but they don’t exactly go out and fight to the death for him either. He doesn’t make waves with them. It’s all kept on a medium level.

Jason’s ability to motivate his troops is highly suspect to say the least. Sunday night against the Eagles, was as big of a game as many of his players will play in their careers but I didn’t see a team that was ready to run through a wall or anything.

Fox analyst and former NFL QB for the Steelers, Terry Bradshaw, stated that Jason was no coach at all.
“He’s no head coach. Never should have been hired in the first place. He’s just a ‘yes’ man for Jerry.” STORY

Now that’s from a guy who won some super bowls in the NFL. And he said it before the Cowboys lost to the Eagles and missed the playoffs again.

But what is Jerry saying now? The guy who gave us Jason as head coach and has taken the franchise to a level of mediocrity unmatched. Jerry says Jason will be the coach in 2014 and explains,

“I justify it that … we have been in it, right there playing for it, in the last game for the last three years,” Jones said. “I’m in complete step with our fans that want more than 8-8. So that you don’t have to be playing for the NFC East championship in the last game every year. That’s where we can have improvement. We won some games that were hard fought. Having said it, I think there is a positive to have the team right there in a position to win the East, fighting for it.

Evidently Jerry is OK with being mediocre and coming in 2nd place in the East. Why change anything? He still calls the shots and 90,000 plus fans show up to watch his team play in his stadium. Even if he made a change in head coach, wouldn’t he just bring in another figurehead like Jason anyway? A different name and face perhaps but same arrangement.

Unfortunately I’m afraid Cowboy fans can expect more of the same with coach “Major Major” leading the Cowboys.

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Final 2013 NFL POWER RANKINGS

NFLTeams

Top 12:
Nailed it! All of my top 12 teams from last week qualified for the post season. I had the Eagles, Packers, and Chargers securing spots in the post season and they did it in the last week of the season.

Much of the team rankings go unchanged from last week. Back in week 1, I had Dallas ranked 13th, finishing 8-8, and just missing the playoffs. Don’t be impressed as Dallas just did what they do every year. It’s becoming quite predictable actually.

These final rankings reflect a Broncos/Seahawks Super Bowl. In week one, I had the 49ers and Patriots as the top 2 teams and they could possibly make it to the Super Bowl too. It’s very difficult to imagine the Seahawks losing at home in the playoffs.

FINAL 2013 / Change
1. Broncos (13-3) 0
2. Seahawks (13-3) 0
3. Panthers (12-4) 0
4. Patriots (12-4) 0
5. 49ers (12-4) 0
6. Saints (11-5) 0
7. Bengals (11-5) 0
8. Colts (11-5) 0
9. Chiefs (11-5) 0
10. Eagles (10-6) 0
11. Packers (9-6-1) 0
12. Chargers (9-7) 0
13. Cardinals (10-6) 0
14. Bears (8-8) 0
15. Cowboys (8-8) 0
16. Steelers (8-8) +2
17. Jets (8-8) +3
18. Dolphins (8-8) -2
19. Ravens (8-8) -2
20. Lions (7-9) -1
21. Titans (7-9) +1
22. Giants (7-9) +2
23. Rams (7-9) 0
24. Bills (6-10) -3
25. Vikings (5-10-1) 0
26. Bucs (4-12) 0
27. Raiders (4-12) 0
28. Browns (4-12) 0
29. Jaguars (4-12) 0
30. Falcons (4-12) 0
31. Redskins (3-13) 0
32. Texans (2-14) 0

Cowboys Face Defining Moment in Eagles Game

For the third consecutive year, the Dallas Cowboys find themselves facing a dreaded “play in game”. Let’s face it, these haven’t gone well for Dallas in recent years and they face added adversity especially at the quarterback position, going into this showdown with the Eagles.

Tony Romo, who hasn’t performed well in these type games anyway, has a major back injury.
Orton is an experienced but unproven backup and out of desperation the Cowboys signed former backup Kitna who is a math teacher currently. I’m reminded of a scene from the Blues Brothers movie:

Elwood: “It’s 106 miles to Chicago, we got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it’s dark…..and we’re wearing sunglasses.”
Jake: Hit it.

In a way the Cowboys are on a mission from God in a quest to finish with a winning record and make the playoffs for the first time in years. Losing this game means finishing 8-8 again and missing the playoffs …again. It’s almost unthinkable. Another offseason of Jerry Jones telling us the Cowboys are pretty close to “Super Bowl ready” and coaching changes that never pan out the way they were intended.

While it may seem like the same scenario as the previous two years, it feels different this time. The NFC east was as winnable this year as we have seen in a long time. The Redskins were awful, the Giants down this year, and then the Eagles with their new coach Chip Kelly from the college ranks. It was there on a silver platter for Dallas to take but they found themselves in a must win game last week and again this week. Fighting for survival.

This time Dallas faces a clearly defined crossroad for the organization. They either get over the hump and build a team that can contend or they lose and have to hit the reset button and just start over. They turn the corner or crash and burn. I can’t see much in between.

In my Blues Brother analogy, Elwood points out all the adversity that makes their mission not likely to succeed. For Dallas it’s easy to list many reasons why their mission will likely fail Sunday night. There is the defense that has allowed tons of yardage and points this season and the Eagles offense coming in after scoring more than 50 last week against the Bears. Then the whole shaky QB situation with Orton on a big stage and the coaches hoping they don’t have to put the math teacher in.

I could go on about all the injuries but it’s too easy to focus on the obvious reasons why the underdog Dallas will probably finish 8-8 yet again. Instead like Jake who focuses on the mission and simply tells Elwood to “hit it”, Dallas can’t fail. They must find and create a way to win by coming up with a turnover or two, getting a timely sack, and giving the ball to Murray to help their QB.

This is not the time to focus on why this mission is likely to fail. On Sunday night it’s just time to hit it and accomplish the mission one way or another.

Week 17 NFL Power Rankings:

NFLTeams
A power ranking of all 32 NFL teams after week 16 play.

The Twist: Each week my top 12 ranked teams will consist of 6 NFC teams and 6 AFC teams since 6 from each conference will qualify for the post season. I reflect the top 12 teams most likely to make the playoffs each week.

Each week, I have one NFC team and one AFC team in the top two to reflect who may end up in the super bowl.

Top 12:
The Packers and Chargers move into the top 12 with playoff hopes still alive. After very poor performances, the Dolphins and Bears drop out of the top 12. Spots 10 thru 12 are very much up for grabs in next weeks games.

WEEK 17 / Change
1. Broncos (12-3) +1
2. Seahawks (12-3) -1
3. Panthers (11-4) +1
4. Patriots (11-4) +2
5. 49ers (11-4) +2
6. Saints (10-5) -3
7. Bengals (10-5) +1
8. Colts (10-5) +1
9. Chiefs (11-4) -4
10. Eagles (9-6) 0
11. Packers (8-6-1) +6
12. Chargers (8-7) +4
13. Cardinals (10-5) 0
14. Bears (8-7) -3
15. Cowboys (8-7) +3
16. Dolphins (8-7) -2
17. Ravens (8-7) -5
18. Steelers (7-8) +1
19. Lions (7-8) -4
20. Jets (7-8) +1
21. Bills (6-9) +2
22. Titans (6-9) 0
23. Rams (7-8) -3
24. Giants (6-9) 0
25. Vikings (4-10-1) 0
26. Bucs (4-11) 0
27. Raiders (4-11) 0
28. Browns (4-11) 0
29. Jaguars (4-11) 0
30. Falcons (4-11) 0
31. Redskins (3-12) 0
32. Texans (2-13) 0

Tim Brown Tried to Warn Us About Cowboys’ Play Caller Bill Callahan

Callahan

Callahan


Back in January, former NFL player Tim Brown stated that Raiders head coach Bill Callahan (current Dallas Cowboys offensive play caller) sabotaged the super bowl against the Buccaneers. That’s a pretty serious allegation there. But what really jumped out at me was what Brown said about their super bowl game plan from Callahan.

Brown said that after preparing on Monday through Thursday before the Super Bowl for a run-first offense, Callahan sprung a new game plan on his players, a pass-first game plan that, according to Brown, Callahan knew would cost the Raiders the game

Article
Does that sound a little like the debacle in the Packers game where Dallas ran the ball successfully in the first half but then mysteriously abandoned it in the 2nd half to blow a 23 point lead?

Even a normally conservative Troy Aikman found the play calling against the Packers “mind-boggling”.
“But if there was ever a time that DeMarco Murray should have had 25 carries in a game, that was it. You’ve got a 23-point lead. And as it turns out, Eddie Lacy ran the ball almost twice as much as DeMarco Murray in the second half of that ballgame, which is pretty mind-boggling. It was as bizarre a loss as I’ve ever witnessed.” Aikman said.

After witnessing Callahan’s play calling last Sunday, Tim Brown’s comments don’t seem nearly as outrageous. Do I think that Callahan intentionally blew the game Sunday or even the super bowl? No I don’t, but I do think he is so terrible of a play caller that one might think it appeared to be the case.

After the loss, many commented “there was plenty blame to go around”. I get it, the defense was awful and Callahan doesn’t coach the defense. But running the ball would have helped keep that struggling defense off the field. On the interception that Romo threw late, we have learned that Romo didnt’ technically change the play. The play call from Callahan actually had a pass built into it based on the defensive alignment.

At the time when Jerry Jones added Callahan to the coaching staff, I didn’t have a good feeling about it based on Callahan’s coaching history, and now I feel even worse about the hire. Tim Brown was frustrated with a coach who would abandon the game plan to run the ball and suddenly become a pass happy team. And remember he was a wide receiver.

It reminds me of the frustration WR Dez Bryant displayed after Romo’s INT Sunday when they should have been running the ball. Dez bounced to the locker room early and the critics pounced on that action. But attention needs to get to the heart of the problem and that would be an incompetent play caller in Callahan.

A pattern exist of abandoning the run and going to the pass when it isn’t the smart thing to do. Callahan has done it in the past and he will likely continue to do it in the future.

Week 16 NFL Power Rankings: Broncos Stumble as Seahawks Roll

NFLTeams
A power ranking of all 32 NFL teams after week 14 play.

The Twist: Each week my top 12 ranked teams will consist of 6 NFC teams and 6 AFC teams since 6 from each conference will qualify for the post season. I reflect the top 12 teams most likely to make the playoffs each week.

Each week, I have one NFC team and one AFC team in the top two to reflect who may end up in the super bowl.

TOP 12:
Manning and the Broncos didn’t look into it as they fell to the Chargers on Thursday night.The Seahawks move back on top at #1 as they rolled over the Giants. I really like the Seahawks chances to represent the NFC in the super bowl.

Taking advantage of the Lions loss on MNF to the Ravens, the Bears move into the top 12 as the Lions drop down 4 spots to 15. The Lions hold a tie breaker advantage over the Bears by defeating them twice this year but for now, the Bears have a better record.

WEEK 16 / Change
1. Seahawks (12-2) ↑1
2. Broncos (11-3) ↓1
3. Saints (10-4) 0
4. Panthers (10-4) 0
5. Chiefs (11-3) ↑1
6. Patriots (10-4) ↓1
7. 49ers (10-4) ↑1
8. Bengals (9-5) ↓1
9. Colts (9-5) 0
10. Eagles (8-6) 0
11. Bears (8-6) ↑4
12. Ravens (8-6) 0
13. Cardinals (9-5) 0
14. Dolphins (8-6) 0
15. Lions (7-7) ↓4
16. Chargers (7-7) ↑1
17. Packers (7-6-1) ↑4
18. Cowboys (7-7) ↓2
19. Steelers (6-8) ↑3
20. Rams (6-8) ↑3
21. Jets (6-8) ↓3
22. Titans (5-9) ↓3
23. Bills (5-9) ↑6
24. Giants (5-9) ↓4
25. Vikings (4-9-1) ↑3
26. Bucs (4-10) ↓1
27. Raiders (4-10) ↓1
28. Browns (4-10) ↓1
29. Jaguars (4-10) ↓5
30. Falcons (4-10) 0
31. Redskins (3-11) 0
32. Texans (2-12) 0

Game Management to Blame for Latest Cowboys Debacle……Again

By now Cowboy fans should have learned to expect Romo to do what Romo does in December, but like Charlie Brown approaching the football that Lucy is holding, this time it will be different they think. But it’s not different. The ball gets pulled away once again as soon as Charlie Brown tries to kick like Romo throwing a late game pick in December.

Coach Jason Garrett, the absolute master of making an understatement, described the loss as “disappointing”. If Garrett had been in Dallas on that fateful November day 50 years ago when President John Kennedy was tragically assassinated, he would have described it as “disappointing”. Sometimes “disappointing” just doesn’t cover it Jason.

Coming into this game, Dallas knew their defense was awful and due to injuries to Lee and Carter, they were playing guys deep down the depth chart but for me, it’s no excuse for this loss. Afterall, the Packers offense was without their star QB Rodgers.

This blown lead of historic proportions, falls on game management or lack of it. The defense had a good first half so what went wrong in the 2nd half? Listening to Jason’s post game comments offers reasons why they let this one get away.

Jason called out Romo for changing the play from a run call to a pass on the last interception. And once again, we saw Romo and a WR not on the same page as Beasley read it one way and Romo another. All of this should look and sound familiar if you have been watching the Cowboys the last few years.

Defense: There is a correct way to play with a lead and it’s important in any sport to be aware of the circumstances. But Dallas seems to play the same no matter what the circumstances are. Jason pointed out the Packers ran the ball better in the 2nd half so the defense adjusted by putting more guys in the box. Big mistake because that made an already suspect secondary more vulnerable. With a big lead, you want the Packers running the ball and chewing up clock. Better that than having those young safeties exposed by a mediocre back up QB like Flynn. Time was on their side so playing the pass and inviting them to try to run it, was the right approach.

Offense: Many times this season I have pointed out that Dallas just abandons the run for some strange reason even when it is being successful. It defies any logic but Jason still tried to defend it. Jason said that the Packers were putting more defenders “in the box” so Romo was going to the pass to avoid running the ball. But that’s exactly what the Packers wanted Dallas to do. That’s why they showed them more guys in the box. By running it, Dallas would have chewed up too much clock for a Packers come back.

Murray was having plenty of success running the ball and just because the Packers had 8 or 9 in the box doesn’t mean it wouldn’t work. I’ve seen runs broken off for long TDs against short yardage defenses with 11 defenders on the line. Running the ball was the prudent thing to do but instead we saw Romo passing. It left Cowboys analyst Bryan Broaddus to describe the play calling as “curious”. He is too kind. I would use other words to describe it.

Once again, Garrett has proven himself to be an incompetent game manager while Romo has proven to be a pass happy, gun slinger that just can’t be content to hand the ball off when it’s the right thing to do.

We have been told that Offensive Coordinator Callahan calls the plays, then Jason sends it to Romo but Romo can change the play at the line. Problem is Romo has never seen a defense that needs to be run against.

After the last INT, Dez bounced for the locker room before the game ended and a lot will be made of it in the next few days by the media as if it had anything to do with the loss. While I don’t think it was a good thing for Dez to do, I totally get his frustration with Romo. I think most fans were headed for the exits at that point too. Like a predictable movie viewed countless times, we know how this December thing plays out for the Romo led Cowboys.

Some “glass half full” types will point out that Dallas can still win the pitiful NFC East in the next couple weeks but don’t fall for it Charlie Brown. Lucy is not going to let you kick it THIS time and Romo is not going to get it right next time either.