Not unlike any other day in the Dallas Metroplex, a performance, good or bad, is going to command attention and generate a buzz. Monday was no different. Jason Garrett and the Dallas Cowboys' performance in the new Meadowlands on Sunday afternoon had the masses buzzing again. Why not, it was news, and any good news surrounding the Cowboys these days is a miracle. But, as the old saying goes, let's not get the cart in front of the horse, and when it comes to the 2010 Dallas Cowboys, let's not put anything in the path of the cart, or the horse.
Facts are facts. Jerry Jones had to make a change. He actually rode the "wishful thinking" horse a little too long. This is the admirable, yet flawed, demeanor of Cowboys' Owner, Jerry Jones. How can you fault or dislike someone who desperately wants you to succeed? Isn't that what everyone hopes for in a boss, parent, friend and mentor? Jerry sincerely wanted Wade Phillips to have nothing but success as the Head Coach of the Dallas Cowboys. To think otherwise is pure stupidity. Jerry pulled for Wade at every turn.
Wade Phillips was "done in" by his defense. Self-proclaimed "Mr. Fix It" done got fixed by his own guys. They were his ultimate undoing. Three straight weeks of ineptness was a white flag ceremony, a cry for help, or a unit which had completely quit on their leader. There isn't a CPR or revival program out there that can bring back a unit that flat out quits on you. In reality, as far as accountability goes, Wade should have stayed and the defense should have been handed pink slips and shown the exit door. But reality rarely plays a leading role in the NFL. Scapegoats are sought and disposed of every day. With 8 games remaining in the 2010 season, Jerry couldn't very well have fired 11 players. It was much easier to pull the trigger on one Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator, and make no mistake about it, the defense had become offensive. Folks, when you are too nice, you will eventually get walked on and over. Wade Phillips was a trampling ground and first class doormat.
It's a shame when things like that happen to good people. Wade Phillips was good people. Make no mistake about that. You don't dedicate 34+ years of your life to professional football and not be worthy of recognition and accolades. Wade Phillips is a football man who comes from a football family. Wade Phillips is a tremendous defensive coordinator. Wade Phillips was not a long-term Head Coach. His previous stops proved that, and why Jerry thought he could ride Wade for the long haul is still a giant mystery. You cannot be liked and be a successful NFL Head Coach. You must be respected, but liked opens the door for player personnel flip-flopping. One day we're with you, and the next day we're against you. Respect is a whole different world than like. Respect will get you long-term results.
So, is Jason Garrett respected? Too early to tell, but he appears to have put the right foot forward. When you command players to show up on time for meetings or the doors will be locked, you're going to garner some respect. When you tell players to dress a certain way on road trips, portraying a professional business environment, and you have a black sheep malcontent, the malcontent is going to pay the price. While the media and fans clamor to know the punishment for the Black Sheep, the team will know, and that's all that matters. MBIII will know, and hopefully he'll get the message and fall in line. If you want to rock the boat, why not make it "Man Overboard?" Jason Garrett was in the most unenviable position possible, yet he set out to change a climate. He silently made a statement that fat, happy, lazy, and undisciplined football was not going to cut it at Valley Ranch, Cowboys Stadium or in any NFL venue. It was quite an opening statement.
Will Jason Garrett be the long-term answer as the Dallas Cowboys Head Coach? It's way too early to place that stamp of approval on Garrett, but the wagering has already started, and why not, it's the Dallas Cowboys, and everybody has to have something to talk about. Everyone would expect a difference in Game 1 of a new regime. Mission accomplished. The next contest is against a NFL patsy at home, so the Cowboys should win this one as expected. If they don't, Chicken Little will be back faster than Ozzie Newsome swallowed Pepto Bismol watching Brian McCann "pick six" Eli Manning and steal NFL Defensive Player of the Week honors. The real test is Thanksgiving Day. That's when Cowboys' fans can weigh in and render an opinion on the new Jason Garrett regime. By then, against a quality opponent, the dust will have settled at Valley Ranch, and we'll see the real effects of a Jason Garrett led team.
The accomplishment in New York is not to be overlooked. By Week 8 in the NFL, teams have pretty well established themselves, and make no mistake, the New York Football Giants were playing good ball. Especially their defense. The Cowboys beat a good team, and it was a great way to start off the Jason Garrett interim era. Let's see if they can maintain their focus, stamina and stay in this thing for the long haul. Only time will tell.
Jason Garrett does have the demeanor of a NFL Head Coach. He has been in training for this since the early days at Princeton. He's no dummy and never has been. He knows football as he's been around it his entire life. He possesses Coach Landry like qualities, and you can never go wrong emulating one of the NFL's most-respected individuals. Could he be the next Tom Landry? Today's NFL makes longevity and tenure a tenuous proposition, but I wouldn't bet against Garrett. He has a nucleus to work with, and he has a potential franchise quarterback in his prime. Those two factors bode well for Garrett or any other Head Coach entering after the conclusion of the 2010 season.
You have to have the right man in the Head Coach chair. Make no mistake about that. He has to possess all the skills, traits and qualities that players will respect and respond to. He cannot be undermined or stripped of power when it comes to decisions and football operations, and this folks is the real issue moving forward. How much personnel and football operations power will Jason Garrett be given if his interim tag is replaced with a multi-year contract? If the Cowboys are to return to prominence, then Jerry Jones must stop playing Japedo.
It has to stop right here and right now. No Head Coach, Jason Garrett, Bill Cowher, Jon Gruden, Perry Fewell, Leslie Frazier or Mike Zimmer is going to enjoy one ounce of success if the strings remain attached to the Jones' puppet sticks. The freedom and latitude to do what a NFL Head Coach must do have to be granted. Intervention and meddling is just a continuous recipe for disaster, and this recipe has been out at Valley Ranch for way too long. It's high time for new ingredients. What has transpired in the Dallas Cowboys head coaching ranks since the departure of Jimmy Johnson is the ultimate definition of "INSANITY." The General Manager doing the same thing(s) over and over and hoping for different results. It's just not going to happen until Jerry has the brass ones to cut the strings. For if he won't, then the hope is Jason Garrett is the interim Head Coach and then on his way out. He's too good of a Head Coach prospect to be dangled by the Jones' sticks and strings.
Let go, Jerry! For the organization and fan base sakes. Do you want to return this proud franchise to prominence? Then the recipe is easy. Let go.
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