Can Cowboys Build On 2016 Draft Success?

Cowboys 2016 NFL Draft

Talent wins championships.

In 1961 The Dallas Cowboys had (arguably) the finest “first draft” of any team in NFL history. Reportedly HC Tom Landry had demanded a specific player as a condition of him taking the job and the Cowboys had received a wink-nod-bob’s-your-uncle deal where no other team would select DT Bob Lilly until the expansion Cowboys pick at 13.  The team snapped up the  Texas Christian product with their first-ever selection of the first round. Then in the 14th round the team added to it’s future Hall of Fame roster by selecting OG Billy Shaw. Name me a better first-ever draft.

That initial draft surrendered two Hall of Fame inductees, two pro-bowlers (2nd round center Houlb and 3rd round tackle Barber) and was followed up by three pro-bowlers in the next two drafts. Then in 1964 the team added Pro Bowl OG Kupp and future Hall of Fame inductees CB Mel Renfro (2nd round), WR Bob Hayes (7th round) and a QB from the Naval Academy by the name of Roger Staubach in the 10th round. The die was cast.

Sidebar: when you draft (late) and wait four years on a Hall of Fame QB you’ve just made the best value pick in the history of the NFL. Get over the Tom Brady pick. He was available in year one.

The Dallas Cowboys went on to draft Pro Bowl and/or Hall of Fame players for 15 straight years. Generally several each season. There is no doubt (in my mind) that Tom Landry was one of the greatest coaches and innovators in the history of the NFL. There is also no doubt (in my mind) that GM Tex Schramm was THE best GM in the history of the game. In a nod to historical accuracy I’m obligated to mention he was (by all accounts) a ruthless, lying SOB as well. Thank you Peter Gent.

Back in the day the Cowboys were light-years ahead of the league in scouting. They computerized their internal systems, invented an incredible collegiate scouting program and rode the talent infusion to a 20 year winning-season run that resulted in a winning record versus the entire league, two Lombardi trophies and historical recognition of their excellence and innovation.

The point here is one Rafael Vela and myself have made often. It takes consistent, quality drafting to create a NFL dynasty. Head Coach Jimmy Johnson got the ball rolling again by landing 13 elite players (Hall of Fame/Pro Bowlers) in 4 short seasons leading to a staggering 3.5 elite players a year average. The wheels fell off the talent drive shortly after Johnson left and the results, 20 years of .500 ball, were predictable.

“It takes consistent, quality drafting to create a NFL dynasty” – Van & Raf

With 2 Pro-Bowlers,  4 current and 8 probable starters from the 2016 draft on the team has the current club finally turned the “talent acquisition” corner? Perhaps. As exciting as the 2016 draft was, recent drafts, though an upgrade over recent efforts  have fallen far short of previous Cowboys dynastic efforts. Can Dallas replicate their incredible 2016 draft haul? To be frank, I am concerned the team had two big advantages in 2016 they won’t have this season. Due to their 2014 melt-down sans Tony Romo the staff both coached the Senior Bowl and was on the field working with the combine players in drills before the 2016 NFL Draft. They won’t have that hands-on advantage this time round.

Cowboys staff were in the bleachers with the rest of the play-off teams this senior bowl. Combine access will be similar. Pete Rozelle’s vision of parity begins with the draft. The more successful the team, the higher the next-season-mountain. This is the next challenge for the Cowboys front office. How to build on the knowledge from that seasons experience when they went against the pundits “grain” and took the “best available” player with their fist pick (RB Ezekiel Elliott) versus drafting for need (edge rusher).

“I am concerned the team had two huge advantages in 2016 they won’t have this season.” – Steven Van Over

In a modern NFL Catch-22 if the Cowboys draft for “need”this year they will fail as other teams get the cream of the crop and Dallas will be trying to get starter minutes from JAG’s (just another guy). However if the club doesn’t get the players they need they won’t succeed as other teams exploit their weaknesses. Former GM Tex Schramm would’ve figured it out. The Patriots, Steelers and Seahawks have it figured out. Do Will McClay, Stephen Jones & Jason Garrett have the answers for 2017?

I hope so. Rudy makes for a great movie. Talent wins championships.

What say you Sports Nation?

Another Left Coast Sports Post: on Twitter – Steven Van Over

Shout out to Bridget – Thanks for the Chili

Dallas Cowboys – What Was, Is & Shall Be

Lett and Marinelli

The Dallas Cowboys and you. What a pair. For some, it was the 70’s that brought home the Lombardi and cemented the team in our psyche. For others it was the 90’s run of Super Bowl bling that brought us into the fold. A lot of fans became such during the incredible euphoria of winning it all. However before the champagne was uncorked, tattoos were received and utter dedication to all things Cowboys was a period of time we tend to forget. The suffering.

Tom Landry’s Dallas Cowboys had a label before they played the perfect game against Miami. Dallas “couldn’t win the big one.” They were all flash and no bang. A finesse club that couldn’t hang with the physical Steelers teams of the era (70’s steroid scandal that wasn’t). The team would literally own the regular season games only to flame out in the playoffs when it mattered. You knew your team was awesome, however the rest of the world was laughing as talented Cowboys teams came up short year, after year, after year. It was a brutal time to be a Cowboys fan. You suffered.

Then all became right in the world when an entire team played as one against the Miami Dolphins and it was as if the preceding years of agony had never occurred. I watched a similar phenomenon as my son was born and my wife went from a place of intense pain to one of wonderment and joy in the blink of an eye. Instantly uninterested in the intensity of her discomfort only moments before. The same was true for Cowboys fans as years of waiting, of being denied only made the victory that much more intense. The nectar that much sweeter.

After a 20 year run of football excellence the wheels fell off for Tex Schram and Tom Landry as the team fell on hard times as the rest of the league caught up with their modern techniques. The doldrums set in hard as a lengthy period of poorly played football was put on display in Dallas. Fans used to excellence were left suffering and confused as cats chased dogs, the sun shined in Seattle and the rain poured in Arizona. Life was not as it should be. You suffered.

Jerry Jones and Jimmy Johnson changed all that in the 90’s in quick order. It was again “cool” to be a Cowboys fan as the team was talented and down-right nasty on game day. The club was built for the playoffs and the fans were treated to a wonderful run of NFL dynastic euphoria that most never experience and now Cowboys fans had twice. It seemed as if it would never end. Then Jimmy Johnson left. The team he built grew old and again fans suffered.

Next up was 20 years of mediocrity as Jerry Jones got in a fight with his ego at the expense of the team and of course, the fans suffered. Nay, the fans were tortured really, for unlike a Cleveland Browns fan, a Dallas Cowboys fan was made to believe every year their team was only “one player away” giving them false hope when in reality the team was “one GM away” from being competitive again. Regardless, each year the obligatory big-trade, big-announcement, new-player con played out at Valley Ranch. The media bought the hype and thanks to UDFA QB find Tony Romo the club had a chance to win almost any (regular season) game they were in. But the team wasn’t built for the second season, it was built for flash. With no bang, the fans suffered.

2014 was the beginning of real hope. Analyst watched closely as the team built it’s offensive line and Jerry Jones became some-what restrained in the draft and free agency. I recall you could tell in camp it was a new gig as the talent on the field was visibly improved. After years of living and dying on Romo’s arm the running game returned to big D. Then #DezCaughtIt and fans (again) suffered.

2015 was an outlier that once and for all proved the value of the QB to the front office and Jerry Jones. It was a brutal year that left fans bruised yet unbent as the problems were obvious as were the solutions. Could the organization find the right players in the draft to bring it all together? That was the only question. The pieces were in play and yes, the team was “a player or two away” from being a real contender.

2016 was special. The pieces to win via “Cowboys football” were in place. Hope became expectation. However fleeting hope can be let go. Expectation denied hurts to the bone. Short version …. in truth, the team was too young. The club got out-coached and out-played. The fans suffer.

Unlike recent seasons this years disappointment doesn’t feel like a blind date gone bad. I don’t feel cheated. I don’t feel lied to. I feel disappointed certainly, but I clearly see this team is now just that, a team. 2016 was a special run. Unlike a teen with a fold-out of his favorite model taped over his bed this year’s fan had the phone number of a Victoria’s Secret model with a date penciled in on the calendar. They were close. It was a special  year. But this offseason, when carnival-barker Jerry Jones begins his annual dog and pony show trying to convince fans the team is only one player away I will nod and enjoy my suffering.

The 2016 season ended in bitter disappointment. However the arrow is pointing up for this club and I haven’t even listened to Jerry’s take on the offseason yet.  Today this is an organization waiting to hear (good) news about nerve regeneration, new draft picks and intense interest in the progress of Dak, Zeke, Irving, Mayowa, Collins, Lawrence, Brown & Jones over the summer. The QB/RB/WR/OLine combination is here for the long haul. The answer at LB may already be on the team as the defense is starting to come together after years of neglect. The NFL draft is coming up and salary cap relief is readily available with the departure of Tony Romo. The team believes in and never quits on it’s young head coach as he continues to grow his game day chops. They are young, talented and hungry. Their offseason began a bit earlier than they would have liked. They are ready to get to work.

This year Cowboys fans again suffered. But I’ve seen this script play out before. This is a team on the brink. Enjoy your suffering while you can. Sweet nectar is in the future. I can taste it.

What say you Sports Nation?

Another Left Coast Sports Post: on Twitter – Steven Van Over

Jason Garrett Could Be Jerry Jones’ Tom Landry

Jason Garrett as Tom Landry

When Jerry Jones bought the Dallas Cowboys and hired Jimmy Johnson, I made a bet with my brother (Steelers fan) that the Cowboys would win a Super Bowl within 5 years. I still have that $50 bill in the box for my Cowboys memorabilia (beside the press pass I somehow got for training camp in Oxnard a few seasons ago). When Jerry Jones replaced Wade Phillips with Jason Garrett, I went double-or-nothing on that precious $50 bill (actually, to be precise, it was in the offseason after the press conference when Jerry Jones announced that Garrett would have control of the team).

I bet that Jason Garrett would have the Cowboys in a Super Bowl within 7 years (anyone who thought it could be done in 5 years didn’t understand the bloated contracts, salary caps issues, and how top-heavy that roster was).

I assumed that Garrett had the requisite knowledge and intelligence to simply replicate Jimmy Johnson’s team of the 1990’s. Garrett would not have a Herschel Walker trade, so it would take longer, but Garrett could do it.

When people were lambasting Garrett the ex-QB for being “pass-happy” and not running the ball enough and condemning Jerry Jones for bringing in Scott Linehan (who was just going to exacerbate Garrett’s proclivity for passing), I argued that they couldn’t see the forest for the trees.

My faith in Garrett hit a high point after meeting him and getting to talk privately in Oxnard. His Princeton degree had never convinced me that he was as “intelligent” as the media pundits assumed he must be. (First, it was one degree; second, average people, or worse, often get into elite universities). However, speaking with the man, and watching him interact with players, coaches, and the media convinced me that he was in fact much smarter than everyone else.

Even before the success of the 2014 season, when Garrett was perennially 8-8 and the media seemed convinced that Garrett was on the “hot seat”,  I was arguing that it was smart for Jerry Jones to continue trying to let Jason Garrett develop into his Tom Landry.

The thing that struck me most about Garrett when I was in Oxnard, other than him just being obviously quicker and more aware than everyone else, was the way the players talked about him, and how they used his words to answer 80% of the questions. I mean all the players, from the vets like Witten, Lee and Romo, to the high-priced free agents like Carr, to the rookies like Frederick, Escobar, and Wilcox, to the undrafted guys like Beasley, all the players were not just constantly referencing Garrett, deferring to Garrett, and praising Garrett, they were also always repeating what would become “Garrettisms”.

I’ve been a Cowboys fan since just before the Danny White era. Dallas players have never spoken about their coach like they do Garrett, other than with Landry and Johnson. Dallas players did not talk about Bill Parcells that way. Players never used Parcell’s mantras when answering questions like they do “Garrettisms”. As effective as Bill was, he was a hired gun, so no one thought he would co-exist with Jerry Jones for an extended period of time. The current Dallas players accept Jason Garrett’s leadership and buy into his program.

As I have argued before: the Jones family has a relationship with the Garrett family. Jerry wants desperately for Garrett to be his Landry. Jerry likes Jason, not least because Jason is content to let Jerry take all of the spotlight. There are few, if any, (good) head coaches in the NFL that could co-exist with Jerry Jones for an extended period of time.

Jason Garrett as Tom Landry

The lack of a stability at head coach, coupled with Jerry’s being the GM, is one of the biggest reasons the Cowboys have not been successful since Jimmy Johnson. Garrett has fixed at least that problem.

Garrett continues to hold the promise of long-term stability at HC. He has built a very good offense, but more importantly, he has created a system that the players believe in. That leadership has helped the team forge an identity and create an ethos that leads to winning football games.

Jason Garrett deserves a ton of credit for managing Jerry Jones.

Garrett has changed the way Jerry Jones manages the Dallas Cowboys. I am not suggesting that Garrett has total control of anything, but Jerry Jones went almost 20 years without drafting an offensive lineman in the 1st round, then, under Garrett, they did it 3 times in 4 years. Building a franchise around a dominant offensive line was not Jones’ idea.

I wrote a post in 2014 about “The Evolution of Jerry Jones in the Jason Garrett Era“; the following was part of the conclusions:

“An examination of the history of operations since the 2010 offseason reveals several distinct patterns and trends:

1. There has been a concerted effort to jettison aging players, overpriced players, players that do not fit Garrett’s RKoG model, and players that do not buy into the overall philosophy that Garrett has for his team.

2. The Cowboys drafting has improved considerably.

3.  Without sacrificing the level of talent, the roster has become significantly younger (from one of the oldest teams in 2010 to one of the youngest teams in 2013).

4. The frequency of terrible trades/signings has been drastically reduced, though some would argue that they have not been eliminated.

5. The tendency to overpay players out of loyalty or as payment for past performance has been significantly curtailed.

6. Jerry Jones appears to listen to Garrett and company more when making decisions, and he is also ceding more and more control to Garrett.”

In 5 years, Jason Garrett has overhauled almost an entire roster and simultaneously built one of the best offenses in the NFL. All of the key players on this offense are young enough, with the possible exception of Dez Bryant, for the unit to continue be rock-solid for years to come.

In the next 2-3 years, expect Jason Garrett to switch from building an elite offense to maintaining an elite offense; this will give him the freedom to focus on building a dominant defense.

The length of Garrett’s tenure and his legacy, along with the fate of that special $50 bill, will ultimately be determined by his ability, or lack thereof, to field a defense that helps to win games, as opposed to the current defense that aspires to not lose them games.

I feel better about my chances of keeping that treasured $50 now more than ever.

Dallas Cowboys fans should revel in the fact that the future of this team, both immediate and long-term, look much better than it has at any time since the 1990s. You should thank Jason Garrett – many of you probably owe him an apology.

Click here to follow C. Joseph Wright on Twitter.

Cowboys Have Stallions In Clubhouse – Again

Bill Bates

In 2014 the Dallas Cowboys reverted back to their power running roots to great effect. In 2016 a re-emphasis on Special Teams is hoped to create a similar boost.

Former Head Coach Jimmy Johnson had a precise winning formula he implemented during his tenure with the Dallas Cowboys. In order to come away with a victory on game day a club needed to win two of the three phases of the game. The three phases being offense, defense and of course special teams.

Offensive and defensive units garner the majority of NFL practice time each week. Special teams gets attention as well, yet not near as much. Johnson recognized this as an opportunity early in his football career. By putting just as much emphasis on his special teams his clubs started out of the gate with a big advantage in one phase of the game leaving him only needing to split the other two in order to bring home the win.

Thus began “the Stallion Club” and the 90’s Cowboys dynastic winning streak. With the team keeping both special teams stars RB/FB Rod Smith and LB/FB Keith Smith on the final 53 the team is indicating it has ratcheted it’s attention towards special teams up a notch for the 2016 season. For it’s not just practice time, a superior special teams unit is comprised of players who’s primary attributes are special teams versus excelling on either the offensive or defensive units. A club has to pay, identify and keep “special team players.” Back in the day Tom Landry holdover safety Bill Bates epitomized this approach. Though never starting a game for Jimmy Johnson the coach kept Bates on the club for one reason and one reason alone, special teams. It worked out pretty well.

Being key contributors on EVERY special teams unit with Rod and Keith Smith (no relation) the club seems to have struck versatility gold. Both players are game day Swiss Army knives that could fill in at FB, RB or LB while excelling in the passing game and (of course) special teams. The team can activate one or both depending on that weeks needs and matchups. RB corps a little thin? Rod’s the man. LB’s limping? Keith can help. Need a Mike LB dug out of the gap in short yardage? Dial up either player. These RKOG’s live for the moment and play at one speed, pedal to the metal.

With only eight defensive linemen currently on the final 53 some feel the team made a mistake keeping two FB/ST guys on the roster. However with Tony Romo most likely going to the IR, designated to return list an extra roster spot should become available and the team would almost assuredly call up one of the practice squad designees to fill the slot. FYI – Romo had to first be on the active 53 before he could be put on the “designated to return” list.

I see the team’s strategy here. The defense wasn’t the strongest unit on the club before having three starters suspended for the first four to ten games. Keeping an extra rotation player (or two) isn’t going to change that. However if the club can win both the offensive and special teams battles then the defense only has to maintain, not win it’s contest in order for the club to bring home the victory. That is an aggressive game day strategy but one that bespeaks an honest assessment of the clubs individual units. Offense AND special teams should/can be dominant. The defense is/can be “ok.” That’s proper assessment versus drinking the kool-aid and reflects well on the staff.

The Smith’s are not house hold names, NFL stars or fantasy football round one draft targets. They do however represent the Dallas Cowboys best chance for victory on game day. A Cowboy should have a stallion. This team has two.

What say you Sports Nation?

Another Left Coast Sports Post: on Twitter – Steven Van Over

Cowboys Question Marks – Flexing For $

Jaylon Smith

We have all seen at least one “that guy.” You know him. Wears the fishnet muscle shirt with dark shades inside a dimly lit room. His teeth go luminescent in a black light and his sneakers are too clean. He’s a poser. A wanna-be. Legend in his own mind. Remember that video game “Leisure Suite Larry?” Not the best guy to build a team around.

Under Egoist/Fan/GM/Owner/Saboteur Jerry Jones the Dallas Cowboys have made a habit of acquiring flash versus substance. I am not hear to debate reasons rather to acknowledge the fact. Jerry Jones prefers to swing for the fences while making personnel decisions. You already knew this?

From the very first pick in 1994 when Jerry Jones wrested the GM reigns from his ex-friend/head coach/GM Jimmy Johnson Jerry has applied his wild-cat, oil business approach to personnel decisions. It was a tactic that had paid off (literally) quite well for Jones in the past in oil and football. To be clear, without this trait Jerry would almost assuredly not have pulled the trigger on replacing legendary coach Tom Landry with college coach Jimmy Johnson. You know, the guy that brought the most recent Lombardi bling to the Cowboys trophy cabinet? I would understand if you didn’t remember right away. It’s been a long time since then.

Wild-cat owner Jerry Jones went way outside the lines (for that era) when he purchased the team and gave his old college buddy total control of an actual NFL franchise. He then backed Jimmy while he used his first year as a week to week audition via Plan B Free Agency as a tool to rebuild the team from top to bottom in short order. 1-15 was the first seasons result. It was a wild time. It was a wild coach. It was created through the vision of a wild owner.

The draft and free agency immediately became the “wild” owners tools of choice as he adamantly put his imprint on the legend that is the Dallas Cowboys once he and Jimmy Johnson parted ways. DE Shante Carver was the first dart blindly thrown at the board in 1994. This was followed by RB Sherman Williams, DE Kavika Pittman, TE David LaFleur, an under-productive number eight pick DE Greg Ellis, DE Ebenezer Ekuban, DB Dwayne Goodrich, QB Quincy Carter and a host of free agent/trade targets that made headlines but  … I can’t go on. The utter destruction of the Dallas Cowboys talent base is too painful to list. Jerry hit a grand slam with Jimmy Johnson. Players and subsequent coaches? Not so much.

At some point in the self-anointed billionaire GM’s tenure “draft value” became the holy grail. It didn’t really matter what a player did on the field. What was important was the “grade” or “plaudits” the teams GM received (in the press) after a player was acquired that seemed to matter most.

MLB Sean Lee. OLB Bruce Carter. Training Room Attendant Matt Johnson. CB Morris Claiborne, DE Demarcus Lawrence. DE Randy Gregory. Incredibly rated “value” selections. It’s like letting Mel Kiper run the draft for your team. The results are fairly easy to predict. Bad hair, bad talent and the term “glory hole” being forever attached to your club.

Right now the Dallas Cowboys are looking at opening the season with LB Jaylon Smith, RB Lance Dunbar, DE Randy Gregory, DE DeMarcus Lawrence and MLB Rolando McClain unavailable. Two are due to injury and the rest to stupidity, both the team and the players.

I applaud Jerry Jones doing what it took to quickly remake the Dallas Cowboys into Super Bowl contenders when he purchased the team. Kudos. I also acknowledge the 20+ year demise of the team under his tenure. Sucks. You can’t acknowledge one without the other.

Let’s be blunt. Jerry Jones has decided it’s more important for him/his family to get total credit for a championship than it is to actually get one. Three Lombardi Trophy’s will get you that kind of latitude with a fan base. Regardless of how, Jerry’s son Stephen Jones has quietly been righting the good ship Cowboys over the last few years in regards to personnel madness (yea!!!). Totally impressive except for the “draft value” mantra that Jerry can’t seem to get out of his head.

I love it when Lance Dunbar makes opposing defenders look like high school kids trying to track down the quick kid in the sand lot. I got juiced when Randy Gregory got some sacks last preseason. I was excited at the way DeMarcus Lawrence finished 2015. I’m certain I will love it when Jaylon Smith goes sideline to sideline one day. Ever read the classic “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty?” Spoiler alert. He was a guy who lived in a fantasy world.

Until the Dallas Cowboys can keep it’s best players on the field the hollow mantra echoed by Jerry and Stephen “availability is the best ability” will be the carnival barker credo it sounds like coming from the lips of an organization that talks one way, but walks another.

I believe the Cowboys offense will be awesome with Romo on the field. I believe the Cowboys defense is better this year than in 2014 or 2015. Unfortunately I also know I’m looking at a piece of offseason paper versus a game day roster. I look forward to the day the Jones family sees that as well.

What say you Sports Nation?

Another Left Coast Sports Post: on Twitter – Steven Van Over

ENOUGH Already! Jason Garrett Isn’t Bill Belichick – Who Is?

Jason Garrett Training Camp

Every offseason the cry and hue for ACTION goes out. Cut/trade Tony Romo (too fragile), Jason Witten (too old), Dez Bryant (too diva), TWill (not diva enough), Randy Gregory (too stoned), J.J. Wilcox (geometrically challenged), Brandon Carr (too expensive), Morris Claiborne (drafted too high) and of course Jason Garrett (not Bill Belichick). Dr.  Guillotine could not have envisioned such carnage.

From an emotional standpoint I get it. As a practical exercise it makes absolutely zero sense.

There isn’t a better option available (yet) at QB. Witten is still a top five TE and a glue guy for the team. Dez is a player who wears his heart on his sleeve and gets better every year. TWill … ok. You may have me on that one, but as long as Dez is on the field he’s money in the running game and produces big plays in big games.

It’s still too early to throw in the towel on Gregory. Wilcox is in his rubber year. He either learns too take better angles or gets replaced. Carr and Claiborne are also facing make it or break it seasons. Competition is the critical criteria. As better options become available THEN, and only then do you make a change.

That brings us to Head Coach Jason Garrett.

Is Garrett the games best game day tactician? No. That title belongs to Bill Belichick and has for many years. I don’t see that changing anytime soon. Actually, I don’t see that changing period. Belichick is the NFL’s best game day tactician. He’s also the best game planner, best offseason assessment guy, best talent assessor and probably makes a mean quiche as well. You’ve heard of a five tool baseball player? Belichick is a six tool coach. The total package. The real deal. In the discussion for the best coach in the history of the game. Garrett … not so much.

Note: Enter Belichick cheating comments below. I’m referencing all those rings he can wear on his fingers and his skill set versus Garrett.

Garrett isn’t Belichick. Stipulated. What the Cowboys head coach does bring to the party is significant however. The Dallas players bring it for their head coach. They play hard for sixty minutes. They work full tilt during the offseason. Garrett is a “process guy” and his players, his “right kind of guys” buy in to the concept. He’s a team leader and it shows. That’s job one for any coach.

Word is still out on Garrett’s ability to affect team building. The results are certainly a far cry better than the pre-Garrett years however. A lauded offensive coordinator in his own right that mantle has passed to Scott Linehan now as Jason focuses on game day task, his greatest challenge. A winning formula is something every coach strives for and Garrett has found his in the form of a dominant running game.

Like Belichick Garrett implements a lube-free self assessment each offseason. Unlike Bill Jason doesn’t have the chops to style his team to different schemes each offseason. He’s not that good. Few are.

Garrett also has another trait he shares with Belichick that few give him credit for yet it’s a critical component. Both men are not slaves to their egos. Instead they both seem to be driven by the pursuit of excellence. This is key.

Which leads us to the Dallas handicap known as Jerry Jones ego. The Cowboys owner burns through coaches like a silver-spoon kid does hookers at his birthday party. But enough about Jerry’s annual celebration. I’m pointing out Jason Garrett is a rare bird. He can exist as a head coach for Dallas at the same time Jerry Jones is on his mission to get his GM bona fides at the expense of history and wins. Jones will be the GM of the Cowboys (in name at least) for the foreseeable future. Jones doesn’t see change at the GM position as an option. He isn’t afraid however to swing the hatchet at the top of the coaching tree.

Jerry Jones has fired every head coach the Dallas Cowboys ever had.

Tom Landry, Jimmy Johnson, Barry Switzer, Chan Gailey, Dave Campo, Bill Parcells, Wade Phillips. Ok, ok. Switzer technically “resigned” after going 6-10. Call it what you will. Garrett is next in the cross hairs.

Are there better options than Jason Garrett out there right now? Almost assuredly. It’s a big world. However finding “the” head coach is more of an art form than drafting in the first round. Tabbing a guy who can co-exist with Jerry Jones ego? You get the picture. To be the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys requires a unique skill set.

You don’t get rid of a someone unless you have a better option in hand or in sight. The exception to the rule is a cancer guy. Terrell Owens, Greg Hardy locker room splitters are guys you fire no matter the depth chart. A coach that’s lost his players? Same thing. You get better through subtraction in those cases.

If Belichick becomes available in the near future show Garrett the door and work some magic. Sean Payton? I like Garrett but you make the switch because with Sean’s Cowboys history Jerry just might ease up enough for it to work. Do I hire Lovie Smith? No. Bring Bill Parcells back? Why bother. Un-retire Jimmy Johnson? That would be great for reality TV. Resurrect Vince Lombardi? That would last a week.

Jason Garrett seems to get better each season. He has the ability to operate in the Jerry Jones circus arena. His team plays hard for him. He has a winning formula he understands how to implement in the offseason and on game day.

There may be better coaches out there. I don’t believe there are any better options for the Dallas Cowboys right now. You need the right guy for every job. Until Bill Belichick becomes a free agent I’ll hang my hat on Garrett’s wagon.

What say you Sports Nation?

Another Left Coast Sports Post: on Twitter – Steven Van Over

Ed Note: Check out NYG writer Tom McAlister’s take on Romo, Bryant & Elliott Not Being The New Triplets here. Interesting viewpoint from the NFC East.