Bill Cowher added his voice to the din surrounding the Cowboys' loss Sunday by firing off biting criticism of Jason Garrett regarding his management of the Cowboys' final offensive drive during regulation last Sunday versus the Arizona Cardinals.
When the Cowboys found themselves at the Cards' 31-yard line with 26 seconds left on the clock and two timeouts still in their possession, their coach elected to clock the ball rather than use a timeout to set up a play to at least get a few yards closer to the goal post before sending his rookie kicker onto the field.
Carlos Mendoza of the The Fort Worth Star-Telegram attributed the following quote to Coach Cowher:
“I was totally mystified. I heard the coach’s explanation afterwards, and listen, I know in the heat of battle we all make decisions, we all do things that, sometimes, it’s a very quick decision. I know that he had confidence in his kicker.
“If I’m the defense, I’m kind of on my heels. Do I put eight guys in the box and stop the run because I don’t want them to get closer? And if I do that, I’m one on one on the outside? Or do I sit there? To me, you’ve got the advantage on the offensive side of the ball because you still have a time out. You can go up there and throw the ball or run the ball with a ‘check-with-me.’ Let Tony Romo read the defense. Eight in the box – let me throw a quick hitch or a slant to Dez Bryant. And if it’s incomplete, I can still run the ball again.
Do you believe in Jason Garrett?
“So I think in that situation you’ve got to have more confidence in your offense and not look at it as being, ‘Well, you can lose yardage.’ Yeah, but you can also gain yardage. And I think championship teams don’t think about what they don’t do. They think about what they can do.”
Call me jaded. Call me crazy. Whatever you call me, I still have a hard time not thinking there may be ulterior motives behind the criticism by a former NFL coach when it is aimed at a current one.
I remember a few years back, when Cowboys coach-turned-Fox broadcaster Jimmy Johnson had the Miami Dolphins' Don Shula in his crosshairs. Johnson accused Shula's Dolphins of underperforming, saying they had one of the best teams, personnel-wise, in the NFL, but were not fulfilling their potential.
Of course, you know the rest of that story. The Don Shula era in Miami ended unceremoniously and ingloriously and the Jimmy Johnson era began...the very next season.
I am not saying that Bill Cowher is wrong in his assessment of Garrett's indefensible decision-making gaffes Sunday past. I am not even saying Cowher is coveting the Cowboys' head coaching position.
That said, I cannot help but arch an eyebrow when a coach still so close to the game, with plenty of fuel left in his tank, publicly levels such acute criticism at the coach of a team he has been rumored to have interest in coaching in the recent past.
I'm just saying.