Jason Garrett is who he is. You might not like it — heck, you probably hate it — but he won’t compromise himself. Until he no longer holds the Dallas Cowboys‘ top coaching position, Garrett will continue doing what he feels is in the best interests of the team.
This means going back to the same well that’s sustained him over the past decade. It entails clapping, coach-speak, and cautious optimism in the face of even the sharpest criticism.
And it leads to decisions that bring about said criticism. Such as …
“In effort to get the Cowboy out of their slump coach Jason Garrett showed his team a reel of their highlight plays this week to show them how good they are at their best. It included a few plays from last season,” Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported Thursday.
Hey, nobody denies that Garrett is a bit tone-deaf. Little else can explain the decision to show your squad a highlight-reel from 2018, days before facing the same foe — the Los Angeles Rams — who brought that season to a bitter and premature close.
The 2019 tape, too, is a questionable choice. While the Cowboys jumped out to a 3-0 start and their offense certainly has made some “wow” plays, they’ve yet to beat an opponent with a winning record and lost three of their last four games. Fan morale has plummeted to new lows while Garrett’s seat has never been hotter.
To his credit, however, the message was clearly communicated. Garrett’s bunch isn’t ready to wave the white flag despite it being nearly a month since they won a game.
“You can’t confuse losing with fight. You can’t confuse losing with not good leadership. When you win there’s ‘great chemistry,’ but when you lose it’s in ‘disarray.’ You have to play better,” tight end Jason Witten said earlier this week.
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Todd Gurley Makes Playoff Guarantee for Cowboys [WATCH]
Whatever the opposite of bulletin-board material is, Todd Gurley has provided it. The Rams’ Pro Bowl running back admits Dallas, who he’ll face Sunday at AT&T Stadium, isn’t “in a good place right now.” But …
“Sh*t, they’re in a better place than us because they’re gonna make the playoffs,” Gurley said. “I don’t know why everyone’s concerned about them. As long as they take care of what they need to take care of, they’ll still be playing in January.”
The Cowboys’ disappointing record aside, they are firmly in control of their own destiny. Thanks to tiebreakers, they can finish 7-9 and win the embarrassingly weak NFC East, provided they beat the 6-7 Philadelphia Eagles in Week 16.
The Rams, meanwhile, are on the outside looking in, currently holding the seventh seed behind wild-card leaders Seattle (10-3) and Minnesota (9-4). Sean McVay and Co. will have to win out and get some help to punch a postseason berth. A loss to the Cowboys and a Vikings victory would unofficially eliminate them from contention.
Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL