Is Jason Garrett the Most Powerless Man in Entire NFL?
For most football coaches, at any level, becoming a head coach in the NFL is the ultimate goal, the top of the mountain, the pinnacle of their profession.
The latest indignity suffered by the beleaguered head coach of the Dallas Cowboys happened Tuesday, when, as Todd Archer of ESPN Dallas reported, Garrett confirmed what the rest of us already knew.
Garrett has been relieved of his play-calling duties in favor of Bill Callahan.
Mr. Jones, Stephen [Jones] and I, we're all on the same page and have been on the same page for months and been acting that way around this building. We just hadn't said it out loud. It just finally got to the point this year since Bill Callahan has been here for a year. He was our run-game coordinator last year and getting more and more comfortable with our entire offense over the last couple of years. He's someone we believe is capable of doing it and doing a really good job for us.
Garrett may not have said it out loud, but "Mr. Jones" had already let the cat out of the bag, telling reporters to "watch practice," according to ESPN's Calvin Watkins.
It's fitting that Jones broke the news, while Garrett followed behind to sheepishly confirm it. After all, that's how things work in Dallas.
Jerry Jones makes the decisions, and then Garrett waits for Jones to pull the strings so he knows how forcefully to nod.
That's what Garrett's tenure has become in Dallas: an episode of The Muppet Show. Garrett can talk all he wants about everyone being on "the same page," but that's only because Jones keeps taking the book and whacking Garrett upside the head with it.
No one really believes that the decision to strip Garrett of play-calling duties was anyone's call but Jones. When Garrett was hired in 2010, his acumen in that regard was touted as one of the reasons for the hire.
What? He suddenly forgot how to call a football game? Callahan might have. It's been a decade since he did so in the NFL.
Frankly, from glancing at the numbers, it looks like the Cowboys are trying fix a problem they don't have.
In the past five seasons, the Cowboys have ranked outside the top 10 in total offense only once (2011). Garrett's been calling the plays over that entire stretch.
Sure, critics will point to a running game that has fallen from 16th in 2010 to 18th in 2011 to 31st in 2012, clamoring for offensive "balance".
You know what would help with that? A starting running back who can stay healthy for than 20 minutes at a pop.
The Cowboys are re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. Making change for change's sake rather than address the real issue.
That's because the real issue is the man making all the decisions.
Not Jason Garrett. Jerry Jones wanted Monte Kiffin to be the defensive coordinator, so now Monte Kiffin is the defensive coordinator. Ed Werder of ESPN reported at the time that it was a hire Garrett was on board with, but what else is Garrett going to say?
Jones pulled the string, and Garrett nodded.
Personnel decisions? All Jones. We won't even get into the matter of the wisdom (or lack thereof) of these decisions. That's a whole different kettle of fish. The only thing that's really germane here is that Jones is the team's owner and general manager.
Where personnel are concerned, the only time that Jason Garrett's opinion counts is if it matches Jones'.
What's the biggest problem facing the Dallas Cowboys?
Jerry pulls the string, and Garrett nods.
Frankly, the fact that Garrett is willing to "coach" with about as much autonomy as the head coach of the North Korean soccer team may be the only thing that's saved his job this long. Most established NFL coaches probably want no part of the circus in Jonestown.
However, if the Cowboys struggle again in 2013 then Garrett will all but certainly be fired. Four straight years of missing the playoffs in Dallas just isn't going to cut it, no matter how willing you are to run to Starbucks and grab the boss a latte.
That's actually kind of ironic, given that with each passing day Garrett has less control over what's happening on the field in Dallas.
If and when that occurs, maybe Jerry Jones should give Kermit the Frog a call.
After all, Kermit's a very popular guy, and he's familiar with Jones' ownership and management style.
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