Playoff Win Is the Only Way Jason Garrett Should Retain His Job

Chris Roling@@Chris_RolingFeatured ColumnistNovember 15, 2012

CHARLOTTE, NC - OCTOBER 21:  Head coach Jason Garrett of the Dallas Cowboys walks onto the field during their game against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium on October 21, 2012 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett has once again led his extremely talented team to mediocrity and unless things drastically change, he should be promptly fired after the season. 

Garrett has failed to take the Cowboys to new heights after showing some promise as the interim head coach in 2010 after Wade Phillips was fired. He is suffering from similar issues that resulted in Phillips' being canned—he's a player's coach but fails to get the most out of his talent on the roster. 

Entering Week 11 of the 2012 NFL season, the Cowboys are only 4-5 despite having one of the more talented rosters on paper. The lack of competitiveness is a direct result of Garrett's ineptitude in game and in the locker room. 

A perfect example of Garrett's struggles is the Dallas offense this season. Despite having a solid veteran in quarterback Tony Romo, the Cowboys offense is ranked in the top 10 in yards per game at 373 a game, but only ranked No. 21 in points scored per game with 21 points per game. 

Garrett's defense has suffered a similar fate. Despite limiting opposing teams to only 319 yards per game, good for a No. 8 ranking, the unit surrenders 23 points per game, placing the Cowboys at No. 17. 

It's dumbfounding that with stars like Romo and linebacker DeMarcus Ware, Garrett's teams have failed in Dallas. 

Not only is Garrett horrendous at getting the most out of the potential on the roster, he cannot keep them in line. Against the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 10, the Cowboys committed 13 penalties—that's the fourth time it has happened this season already. 

There's no excuse for a team to be that undisciplined that consistently. The blame falls directly on the shoulders of Garrett. He cannot control his locker room or his players, and the numbers speak for themselves. 

Owner Jerry Jones has given Garrett all the tools to succeed. Entering last offseason, the big knock about the Cowboys was the defensive secondary. What does Jones do? He trades up in the 2012 NFL draft to select the best cornerback in Morris Claiborne and signs a highly-pursued free agent in Brandon Carr.

Despite Jones' willingness to do whatever it takes to give Garrett what he needs, his head coach continues to fail him. 

All is not lost for the Cowboys in 2012. After all, the NFC East is having a down year with the 4-5 Cowboys in second place ahead of the 3-6 Washington Redskins and the Eagles. Catching the New York Giants is a long shot, but making the postseason isn't. 

Things are going to have to change quickly in Dallas if the 'Boys are to make the postseason considering the other candidates for the Wild Card slots already have six victories on their record. 

The changes start and end with Garrett. His team notched a big victory last week against the Eagles thanks to Philadelphia being led by a rookie quarterback. Both sides of the ball were noticeably better, as was Garrett's play calling and gameplan. 

With a cupcake schedule looming, the Cowboys have to ride this current wave of momentum to the postseason. Garrett cannot allow his team to play down to the competition and eventually miss the playoffs. 

Last season, the Cowboys disappointed at 8-8, and that could happen again. This is the most crucial stretch of Garrett's head coaching career, as his legacy in Dallas to this point will be defined and ultimately decided by his ability to propel the 'Boys to the postseason or simply disappoint again. 

Jones cannot make the same mistake with Garrett that he did with Phillips. He allowed Phillips to hang around too long and it cost the franchise dearly.

Jones is apparently already flirting with the idea of bringing in a new head coach such as Mike Holmgren after the season. Unless Garrett can take the Cowboys to the postseason and win, Jones has no reason to keep the experiment running any longer.