Unanimous Decision


sense, as I remember from that Thanksgiving Day 1994 when he started his second NFL game and threw for 311 yards and directed the Cowboys to a club-record 36 second-half points in the 42-31 needless to say come-from-behind victory over the Green Bay Packers. Afterward, instead of gushing all over himself, he went way out of his way to mention his wife Brill, who told him as he left for the game, "Just throw it up high to Alvin" if you get in trouble, meaning the Cowboys' 6-5 wide receiver Alvin Harper, who ended up catching just three passes, but for 91 yards and a touchdown, a 45-yarder. 

Now, is he perfect? No, and there isn't a coach alive who is. I know this will be hard to believe, but Jimmy actually made mistakes around here. So did Tom. And Garrett will be the first to tell you he should have taken a knee at the end of the first half in the season opener at Washington. 

And that seems to be the biggest beef with his detractors, that he is not. They will bring up that fumble. They will bring up Cowboys failures in the red zone at times under Garrett's coordinated offense. They will blame a lackluster running game on him. And for heaven's sakes, he calls too many passing plays, despite the fact in 2009 the Cowboys' 2,103 yards rushing were the second most since 1995. 

What they fail to tell you is the Cowboys set the franchise's single-season record for yards gained in 2009 or that Tony Romo threw for more yards in 2009 than any of the previous Cowboys quarterbacks and for the second most in 2007. Now those detractors will tell you the Cowboys didn't score enough points in 2009 to go with all those points during the 11-5 season, and they are right, but what they won't tell you is that the 394 scored with a 6-10 team this season were the team's third most since 1995 or that the 455 in 2007 were second most in club history to only the 479 of 1983. 

And while everyone seems to be quick to point out Garrett certainly was part of the team's 1-7 start, and he was, they sort of get a frog stuck in their throats when they are mystified by the team's 5-3 turnaround the second half of this most disappointing season in franchise history, especially when they try to swallow the fact those three losses were by a total of seven points and mostly because they were unable to score 30 points in any of those games. 

Again, other than being perfect, what's the beef? 

Now Garrett's biggest decision, bigger than any he makes about player personnel or what call he makes on third-and-goal from the four or who he campaigns to take with the ninth pick in the April NFL Draft, which very well could take place prior to the start of free agency with labor unrest gaining momentum in the NFL, will be choosing his defensive coordinator. 

This will be a huge choice, one Jerry Jones scampered way out of his way to insist will be Jason's, just as it should be, telling you Jerry's level of trust in Jason. When a head coach has expertise on just one side of the ball, he needs unconditional loyalty and help on the other side of the ball. Just like the defensive-minded Jimmy Johnson needed Norv Turner to rescue this Cowboys offense after two years of David Shula. Just as more recently Sean Payton needed Gregg Williams in 2009 to rescue that Saints defense after three seasons of Gary Gibbs. 

Maybe he retains Paul Pasqualoni. Maybe he has someone he closely knows in mind that's not a household game. Maybe someone comes free that isn't today. But it must be someone he trusts, he can work with and run a 3-4 defense if indeed the Cowboys stay the course with their current defensive philosophy. A team just can't continue giving up 27 points a game or resetting the club record for most points allowed if you plan on at least reversing this year's most dismal record. 

Yep, this will be vital to the start of Garrett's head coaching career. 

But at least it's begun - for real. No interim. And at least it appears Jerry has totally gotten it right this time with his next educated gamble on a head coach. 

"I'm going to be very candid with you," Jones said. "Everything that I did to get to this point today had to do with how much I thought of Jason and where I thought our future was. 

"I interviewed this guy over here four

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.
Advertising