As a diehard Cowboys fan since 2006, the first memory I have is Tony Romo infamously botching L.P. Ladouceur’s snap in a wildcard game vs the Seattle Seahawks. Dallas would go on to lose the game 21-20, which meant another disappointing season for a team filled with expectations.
The 2019 Cowboys find themselves in a similar situation; a team filled with talent that is once again underperforming. Luckily for most Cowboys fans, this average season from Jason Garrett, who’s been subpar ever since he overtook Wade Phillips in 2010, seems like it will end in his eventual termination. While I’m on board with firing Garrett after the season, there are a number of reasons as to why now is not the right time to fire Garrett.
When has a division-leading team fired their coach midseason and experienced success?
Most midseason firings take place when teams are at the bottoms of their divisions and playing for nothing. The Redskins firing Jay Gruden after an 0-5 start and the Panthers recently firing Ron Rivera after losing four straight and falling out of playoff contention are perfect examples of this. At the end of the day, in the NFL at least, this is another way of waving the white flag. Dallas is in no position to be surrendering their season and doing it at this point would lead to havoc within the organization.
Dallas’ next two games (likely) don’t matter.
No, I didn’t believe it either. Thanks to Ryan Fitzmagic, the Philadelphia Eagles dropped to 5-7 this past Sunday, which was a bigger deal than most people think. The Cowboys already hold a 1-game lead over the Eagles, but thanks to their 37-10-win vs the dirty birds on October 20th, Dallas holds the tiebreaker. Here’s where it might get a little confusing. Assuming the Eagles defeated the Giants this week on Monday Night Football and beat the Washington Redskins the following week, they’ll improve to 7-7.
Dallas will travel to Soldier Field tonight and then play host to the Los Angeles Rams, who knocked Dallas out of the playoffs a season ago. If the Cowboys lose those two games, they’ll be 6-8. The following week, the Cowboys and Eagles will meet in Philadelphia and if Dallas wins that game, they’ll go to 7-8, and so will the Eagles. This win would give Dallas two wins over the Eagles and the division-deciding tiebreaker. Dallas would then just have to beat Washington week 17 and they’d clinch a playoff spot. So, yes, Dallas’ next two games don’t really matter unless the Eagles loss to the lowly rated Giants and Redskins. Therefore, firing Garrett less than three weeks before his biggest game ever, against a team he’s 11-8 since he took over and beaten four straight times, would be the wrong decision.
Who would take over at this point?
Throughout the entire Cowboys coaching staff, there’s three realistic replacements – and each one has a major flaw.
- Kris Richard – Richard received head coach interviews last offseason but ended up staying with Dallas as a Passing game coordinator/defensive backs coach. The main problems with Richard are how he’s never been a head coach at any level and his lack of knowledge offensively. He’s never coached on the offensive side of the ball, which means 31-year old first-year offensive coordinator Kellen Moore would likely have full control of the offense. Not ideal.
- Rod Marinelli – While, yes, he’s the only coach on the current staff to have been a head coach, it doesn’t necessarily work in his favor. Marinelli notoriously coached the Detroit Lions from 2006-2008 and led them to an 0-16 season, making them the first team to ever do it. Mix this in with how the Dallas defense has struggled under Marinelli this year, it would be a foolish interim hire.
- Kellen Moore – Considering this is Moore’s second year as a coach, promoting him to head coach would turn into a dumpster fire. The lack of experience and the inconsistency within the offense makes it easy to argue against Moore.
I understand the frustration from the fanbase as a team with this much talent sitting at 6-6 is unacceptable. However, for the reasons listed above, firing Garrett before seasons-end will only mean more disappointment from the organization. This current scenario could honestly be viewed as a win-win; The only way Jason Garrett remains the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys is if he wins a Super Bowl, which is obviously a good thing. Falling short, however, means Garrett would finally be fired which, regardless of who they hired next, is a tremendous step for this team’s future. So, either way, it’s Super Bowl or a new coach in Dallas, which, in my opinion, is a win-win.