Jason Garrett didn’t simply fall on the sword for last week’s dispiriting loss to the Saints — he was pushed onto it.
And Kellen Moore takes major umbrage with that.
Holding his weekly press conference with reporters Thursday, the Dallas Cowboys‘ rookie offensive coordinator strongly defended his embattled head coach, who, Moore explained, is no more culpable than anybody else for the disappearance at the Superdome.
“JG gets the heat when we score 10? No, we went through the same process the exact same way,” he said, per ESPN’s Ed Werder. “Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn’t.’’
Moore is snitching on himself, but for good reason, as the play-calling was surprisingly inconsistent against the Saints, an issue that cannot be laid at the feet of Garrett.
Really, the entire operation seemed … off. Dak Prescott was held without a touchdown pass while tossing an interception; Ezekiel Elliott averaged roughly two yards per carry; the Cowboys finished with 257 total yards and went 4-for-11 on third downs.
It was the inaugural and inevitable clunker by wunderkind Moore, whose creative scheming has been a gust of fresh air. It was a reality-check moment for the baby-faced 31-year-old who raised a good point:
Garrett, being the team’s leader of men, is a hero when Dallas wins and a goat when they lose. It’s the oldest but appropriate cliche in sports, and it applies directly to a head man facing the pressure of a Super Bowl-or-bust season.
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ICYMI, Jerry Subtly Blamed Jason
The criticism dam was busted wide open immediately after the game, when Cowboys owner Jerry Jones seemingly tweaked Garrett’s coaching — or lack thereof — against Sean Payton and the Saints, who eeked out a 12-10 victory.
“Obviously we’re very disappointed. … Let’s give them some credit. Their defense was the biggest concern for me coming in. They did a great job. They won a hard fought game. But they won it with a good scheme, good coaching,” Jones said, via The Athletic.
Fortunately, Dallas seems to possess selective amnesia. The team has already forgotten the result of that singular, non-benchmark game, and what positives did occur in New Orleans were extracted for Week 5 and beyond.
“We know the potential of this team, we know how good we can be and we can’t focus necessarily on what the record is,” Prescott said Thursday, via Werder. “You take the good, you take the bad, you live and learn from it and you get better because of it.”
JJ Could Dump JG Mid-Season, Claims Analyst
Also, in case you missed it, Garrett is coaching for his professional life in the weeks ahead, as far as Jason Whitlock’s concerned. The Fox Sports 1 hot-take artist, appearing Tuesday on Speak for Yourself, argued that Jones could — and should — fire Garrett mid-season if the team’s record does not match the collective dollars Jones has poured into it.
“If the results that he’s looking for aren’t there, I do think he would make a move on Jason Garrett,” Whitlock said. “It’s because Jerry wants what he feels like he paid for and is paying for. He wants a Super Bowl this year. He feels he’s built a Super Bowl team. He wants it this year. Not next year — he doesn’t want to come close this year. He wants to be playing in the Super Bowl this year because that’s what he feels like he’s paid for. He is not happy to concede, ‘They have a better coach than me.’ Jerry is a billionaire and, ‘Oh, you got something better than me? I’m going to go buy something better than you.’”
Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL