Grading Jason Garrett's first year
IRVING, Texas – It’s easy to forget that Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett inherited one of the worst situations in franchise history last year. It’s worth remembering he also played a significant role in the Cowboys’ 1-7 start last season that resulted in the midseason firing of Wade Phillips.
Now that Garrett has 16 games under his belt as head coach, it’s time to take an account of his overall performance. Just don’t expect him to offer anything valuable in the form of self-evaluation.
“I think you’re always trying to put your program in place,” Garrett said Thursday. “I think it’s an ongoing process for every team in the league. ... I do like the direction we’re going. I like the group of guys we have.”
To put it politely, Garrett is one of the worst quotes in the NFL, but that hasn’t kept him from making a profound impact on this organization in a relatively short amount of time. His proudest moments over the past year came in the immediate aftermath of the Phillips administration.
Garrett stood before his players and told them things had to change. He put them in full pads that first week and sped up the pace of practice. Players were no longer allowed to walk between drills. Garrett brought a sense of urgency that had been missing, and the Cowboys saw immediate results in the form of a stunning upset of the New York Giants in the Meadowlands.
Garrett instituted a stricter dress code for road games and he placed an emphasis on takeaways that helped the Cowboys close the season with a 5-3 mark. However, he hasn’t exactly built on that momentum this season as the Cowboys currently sit with a 4-4 record.
In six of the seven losses under his watch, the Cowboys have lost by four points or less. It speaks to how competitive they’ve been, but it also illustrates how they’ve had trouble finishing games. In losses to the Jets and Lions this season, the Cowboys gave up double-digit leads in the fourth quarter....
There's no right way to do the wrong thing.
To compete for the playoffs, Dallas has to improve here: Only four sacks against Eli Manning over the past six games!