The Dallas Cowboys are off to a 2-3 start and the fans are already growing impatient with head coach Jason Garrett.
Dallas fell to the Houston Texans, 19-16 in overtime on Sunday Night Football. Garrett made a crucial decision to punt on fourth-and-one, from the Houston 42-yard line. That was the last time the Cowboys would possess the football as Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson led a game-winning field goal drive, aided by a 49-yard play to wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins.
The decision to punt did not sit well with the fans nor owner and general manager, Jerry Jones. After the game, Jones said that was a time to take a risk and he has a good reason for thinking that.
Since running back Ezekiel Elliott and quarterback Dak Prescott were drafted in 2016, Dallas is 18/19 on fourth-and-one situations. That’s 94 percent. One of those conversions happened earlier in the game, so why not trust your prized back and offensive line?
After the game, Garrett defended his decision by saying he was putting trust in his defense, a defense that forced three punts and two turnovers, while allowing just six points (two field goals) in the second half. The same defense that ranks in the top-10 in yards allowed per game (8th, 397.7) and points allowed per game (5th, 19.6).
Social media went into a frenzy with many fans wanting Garrett to be kicked to the curb, but that might not be likely during the season. Since Jones took over as owner and general manager in 1989, he has made just one coaching change in the middle of the season. He replaced Wade Phillips in 2010 after a 1-7 start with none other than Garrett. Dallas went 5-3 in the remaining eight games.
Jones and Garrett have a great relationship, which is reason to believe there will not be a change at head coach.
In the seven-plus seasons as the fulltime head coach, Garrett is 64-53 with two NFC East crowns and a 1-2 playoff record. He has had just one losing season, but a lot of mediocre ones, including going 8-8 each of his first three season. His lone losing season (4-12 in 2015) wasn’t all on him as then quarterback Tony Romo suffered two collarbone injuries.
The team that is dubbed “America’s Team” is not living up to that moniker with just three winning seasons and two playoff appearances since Garrett took over the helm.
This season the offense has been atrocious, despite having who the team perceives to be the next franchise quarterback in Dak, a young, incredible running back in Zeke and a stellar offensive line. The lack of quality receivers hurts the tandem that shares the backfield and the offense as a whole.
Dallas ranks 28th in total offense (307 YPG) and 30th in points (16.6 PPG). Those marks might not get any better this week, as the Jacksonville Jaguars come to town with one of the best defenses in the NFL.
For as much criticism as Garrett is getting, and rightfully so, his team isn’t out of the running for the division title just yet. Dallas is tied with Philadelphia for second in the division and first place Washington is 2-2. Dallas also has the lone divisional win in the NFC East this season, which will inevitably change as the season grows older.
If Garrett can’t light the fire under his team and it finishes out of the playoffs, it might be time for Jones to pull the trigger and find a new head coach.
While it is only five games into the 2018 campaign, every loss or lackluster performance or bad decision will only make the seat hotter for Garrett.