Dallas Cowboys: Can Jason Garrett Save the Cowboys' Sinking Ship?

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Dallas Cowboys: Can Jason Garrett Save the Cowboys' Sinking Ship?
Chris Chambers/Getty Images
The New Sheriff in Charge

In many ways, the 2010 Dallas Cowboys are not much dissimilar to the U.S.S. Titanic. With their many talented players, their gigantic organization ego, the team has at times been viewed as larger than life; and with a billion dollar stadium it’s not hard to do. 

Despite all the glitz, glamour and armor, we see the 2010 Cowboys are not invincible and like the ill-fated ship at 1-7 and coming off one of their most embarrassing losses in franchise history more than a week ago, they have struck an iceberg of metaphoric proportions. 

Even as a non-Cowboys fan, it was hard to watch the team play without any inspiration and fire. The Packers simply steamrolled the Cowboys, 45-7, and sent them packing and heading towards what would appear to be rock bottom. 

When training camps opened, many folks liked the Cowboys chances heading into the regular season because of the tremendous level of talent this team possessed. But as some same, talent can only get you so far.

In 2010, all their talent wasn’t even enough to get them out of the gate and into the race. The Cowboys lost their season opener in the same manner that they have been losing all year long, and since Week 1, they have been looking up from the bottom of their division. 

By now the poor play of the Cowboys has been well chronicled, so on this vast ship over-hyped with great talent, is Jason Garrett the right man to save this sinking vessel? A lot of what I have already read has given me an early impression that it may be too late. I have also seen a few scribbles and heard a few queries questioning Garrett’s own responsibility for the team’s current misfortunes; after all, he was the offensive coordinator. 

Stephen Dunn/Getty Images
The Dynamic Duo they are no more.

Through the first half of the season, the Cowboy’s offense that is filled with all of this great talent we keep hearing about ranks 19th in scoring. What is obviously an undisciplined bunch, the Cowboys rank 30th in the turnover ratio with a scintillating minus-nine and their 62 penalties on offense also rank seventh-most in the league.

One of the team’s other Achilles this year has been their running game which is ranked 31st in the league and has only two rushing touchdowns (tied for the fewest in the NFL) this season. 

For being the man in charge of the offense, it’s hard to imagine that Garrett takes no responsibility or suffers any blame. Some would have to ask why team owner Jerry Jones doesn’t hold him more accountable. 

If there is a simple answer, and for this team nothing seems to be simple it really makes no sense to fire Garrett along with Phillips and put this franchise in a complete upheaval. Leaving Garrett in place to ride this ship either into the mud of obscurity or maybe keep this pile of wreckage afloat long enough to sail back to mediocrity before making any permanent changes has some logic. 

What sense would it make to bring in a new face now, with a built-in excuse for failure. They wouldn’t have any commitment of loyalty to these players or coaches. It’s the smart move financially anyway since Garrett is making head coach money. 

Now that Garrett is seated in the saddle, will this cowpoke go riding into the sunset or will he go down with the ship?

Earlier this week Garrett held his first press conference as the new sheriff in town, and explained “how we do things around here.” It seems the new “Garrett-inspired” Cowboys do things with more tempo and no-nonsense; so where was this during the Wade Phillips era? 

If Garrett was a big part of the culture that existed before, how does he expect to change things at Valley Ranch now? 

It’s no secret that Garrett and Wade Phillips are two very different people and it sounds very much like there is a new sheriff in town. No-nonsense Garrett seems to be making every effort to tighten up the ship, but one has to wonder if he realizes what he has inherited. He has one big mess to clean up. 

From this fan's point of view, the team’s failure starts with accountability and lack of leadership. For weeks now we have been hearing from not just the coaches, but some of the players how it was not time to panic. While all of them were calming down the media, their season has been slowly slipping away.

What I would have to ask; where are those players that are needed to step up and take charge, and accept some of this blame?

I am not going to point fingers at any players, but I do think a lot of the analysts have had it right about quarterback Tony Romo, for example. He’s a player with a lot of talent, but doesn’t seem to be a great fit in the leadership role.

He’s played well at times, but throughout this entire fiasco, little has been said about him and even less has come from him. And like Romo, there are many others just as talented, but what seems to be missing in all cases is the needed leadership to pull the troops together 

Garrett may be holding the reins at this point, but it’s going to take a little more than some pep talks, a firm whistle and the Marlboro man to shake things up at Valley Ranch. After 16 weeks of football (which includes all of training camp), if these men have not found the motivation to become Cowboys, I can’t imagine a simple changing of the guard doing it.

Maybe Garrett has some magic or pixie dust in his pocket, but if he’s going to get this group to follow him like the pied piper, he’d better start playing some great music quick. 

Four months is a long time for this squad to become very comfortable and accustomed to things and how they are done. What is that saying? Bad habits die hard and in this case they may take a few Cowboys along the way.

The Cowboys should note too, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over, and expecting different results.” A change of routine may be the start, but I would not be surprised and believe that personnel changes could be needed to make a real difference.

Not to put a hopeless spin on everything, of course anything is possible, but rather than just looking at the new coach for the answers; the real answers will come from the players. If anything, the coaching change should be a wake-up call and put everyone on notice.

I thought these next eight games might be an audition for Garrett to earn this job, but just as his opportunity at a head coaching career in the Dallas is on the line, for some of these Cowboys so should be their careers in Texas.

I won’t offer any opinion of what I think the outcome will be for the Cowboys this season because at 1-7 there really aren’t too many options other than to finish the season with pride. While the task at hand is great, I do believe the insertion of Garrett could be a start, but is it the right start? Only time will tell.

For Garrett and those Cowboys that hope to be back in Valley Ranch next season, these eight games will offer, at the very least, an idea of how much and what kind of character they have. 

While the football world watches and waits to see if the Cowboys can pull off the impossible and the prospect does not look good without Romo and any real team leadership present (at the moment), the big questions to ask are: Who will Garrett call on to help rally the troops and is there anyone he can call? 

The Dallas Cowboys' 2010 season may be all but over, but if Garrett and company are still holding out for that miracle comeback, one positive note looking ahead, it’s very close to that time of the season.

Just my take.

 

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