Dallas Cowboys: T.O.’s not totally wrong about Garrett

With only two playoff seasons during his Cowboys' tenure, Jason Garrett should again be on the hot seat in Dallas.


(Photo credit: Keith Allison)

Terrell Owens seems to be handling his own public relations ahead of his Hall of Fame induction this summer. In addition to claiming at 44-years old he still wants to play in the NFL, the ex-Cowboy also offered his opinion on Jason Garrett’s job security as the coach in Dallas. 

Now, playing at 44 seems like a stretch, then again, Tom Brady might go until he’s 60 at this rate. However, Owens’ disbelief about how Garrett is still running the Cowboys has credence. While Dallas still claims to be “America’s Team,” it has not won to a Super Bowl since 1995, which was also the last season it reached the NFC Championship game.

As we know, everything is bigger in Texas, especially in Dallas. That includes expectations for the Cowboys, which are always higher than most other teams in the league. Garrett is 67-53 since taking over for Wade Phillips midway through the 2010 season and has endured only one losing season as full-time coach of the Cowboys, but here’s why he should really be under a microscope now.

Good, but not great

One losing season in seven as a full-time head coach doesn’t sound bad, but after going 5-3 to finish 2010, Garrett guided the Cowboys to three straight 8-8 campaigns. And while he’s posted three winning seasons in the last four, only two resulted in postseason play. 

Last year’s 9-7 finish with star running back Ezekiel Elliott limited to 10 games would be successful in most NFL cities, but not Dallas. The Cowboys dropped three of their first five and were outscored 92-22 by Atlanta, Philadelphia and the Los Angeles Chargers during a three-game losing streak in November. Dallas beat only two teams with winning records – Kansas City and Philadelphia – and the one over the Eagles came in the final week when they were resting up for the playoffs.

Statistically, Dak Prescott took a step back in 2017 from his stellar rookie year, most notably his 13 interceptions compared to four from 2016 and 62.9 completion percentage down from 67.8. Any head coach should take at least some blame for that kind of regression.

Twice is not so nice

Perhaps, the one aspect of Garrett’s tenure that keeps fans and former Cowboys like Owens wanting change is his performance in the postseason. Only two of Garrett’s teams (2014 and ’16) have reached the postseason and they went 1-2 in the playoffs. Heck, Phillips and Chan Gailey each made two postseason appearances as Cowboys’ coaches and they weren’t in town as long as Garrett.

Two seasons ago, Dallas went 13-3 and won the NFC East, but lost at home to Green Bay in its only playoff game. It seems like that was the beginning of the Cowboys’ current descent to mediocrity, or perhaps worse, irrelevance in the league. 

The inconsistency of an every-other-year playoff trend is frustrating to the team and fans alike. Especially one overseen by Jerry Jones, who still has a fondness for Garrett and his ability. But for how long?

That’s a tall order

Garrett seems to really have his work cut out for him this season. Dez Bryant was released, Jason Witten has retired and Terrance Williams was recently arrested for public intoxication. While Prescott tries to rebound and Elliott looks to keep his name out of the tabloids, the Cowboys are banking on newcomers Allen Hurns and Tavon Austin plus rookie receiver Michael Gallup to provide a dependable supporting offensive cast that’s still without an experienced tight end.

Defensively, three of Dallas’ projected starters in the secondary were rookies last season and Sean Lee will again look to complete a full season for the first time in his career. Though the Cowboys proved stingier late in the season, they allowed at least 27 points six times and 35 or more on four occasions in 2017.

With the reigning Super Bowl champions and a New York Giants team that expects to be better both in the division, Dallas won’t have an easy time within the East. And with non-conference road dates at Carolina, Seattle, Houston and Atlanta, getting back to 9-7 seems like a chore.

If Garrett can get the Cowboys to the postseason despite all these obstacles, then he deserves a raise. Maybe they can sign Owens to help?

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Jeff Mezydlo

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Jeff is our NFL Editor, who has written and reported on the NFL for more than 20 years and spent a decade as the Chicago Bears beat reporter and columnist for two daily newspapers. His favorite all-time player is Walter Payton and he attended the famous 'Fog Bowl' Bears-Eagles playoff game as a teenager. He's also contributing to our coverage of World Cup 2018.

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