Shepard: Jason Garrett was never the problem for Cowboys

Jason Garrett was a scapegoat for Jerry Jones and the Dallas Cowboys, David Shepard says, and getting rid of him was the wrong decision

CBS Sports Radio Weekend
November 30, 2020 - 3:33 pm
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Very difficult 2020 season for “America’s Team”
 
Through the Cowboys’ first 11 games this season, they have won just three. They are on pace to win just four games in 2020. That would tie the franchise’s worst record in the last THIRTY YEARS. Before you go “excuse mode” and say they didn’t have their franchise quarterback, Dak Prescott, for much of the season, look a little deeper. They had the two-time Pro Bowler for the first one-third of the season and still went under .500 with Dak. Andy Dalton has since started four games for the Cowboys as their backup. Dalton is not your typical backup quarterback. He happens to be a three-time Pro Bowler.
 
The three wins the Cowboys have this season have been by a combined seven points. They have given up 38 points FIVE times with Mike McCarthy as the Cowboys head coach this season. The former Cowboys head coach, Jason Garrett, who was fired after last season, gave up 38 points ZERO times in 2019. In 10 seasons with the Cowboys, Garrett had just ONE losing season. McCarthy, in this regard, will be going one-for-one.
 
Point differential is staggering
 
Last season, the Cowboys had a point differential of plus-113. That was good for THRD best in the NFC, a better point differential than the 13-3 Green Bay Packers. Through 16 games, they gave up 321 points. Through 11 games this season (with five remaining), the Cowboys have already given up 359 points. Aside from the inevitable 0-16 New York Jets, you know who has the worst point per game differential in the NFL in 2020? It’s the Dallas Cowboys. They rank 31st. Last season, with Garrett, they ranked sixth.
 
What have you done for me lately?
 
In Garrett’s last four seasons as Cowboys head coach, he went 40-24. You know what the record of current Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy is in his last four seasons? A whopping 24-30. The first three of those four seasons, McCarthy had Aaron Rodgers. Is Rodgers the most durable quarterback in NFL history? No one would argue that, but he did play in more than 80% of those three seasons. Also, most would say Rodgers is one of, if not THE, most talented player to ever play at the quarterback position. The Packers quarterback is closer to the end than the start, but Rodgers is still a top-four quarterback in the NFL. Rodgers made that clear when he took a rookie head coach in Matt LaFleur to a 13-3 record and a NFC Conference Championship appearance in 2019.
 
What have you done for me now?
 
You know who is currently atop the NFC East? It’s the New York Giants. Guess who their offensive coordinator is? His name is Jason Garrett. The Giants have already won more games this season than last season. Yes, the Cowboys did lose their most potent player in Dak Prescott to a gruesome season-ending ankle injury, but he did play in five games. The Giants lost their most potent player in Saquon Barkley for the season with a torn ACL. He played three fewer games than Dak and had a total of just 19 carries.
 
There is a very old saying in sports. Players get the credit for the wins, while coaches take the blame for the losses. The scapegoat in the Cowboys not getting to a Super Bowl in the last two decades was Jason Garrett. Owners tend to be impatient and, more often than not, are quick to put blame on others when often it starts with the owners themselves. Despite being abysmal for the first 11 games, stranger things have happened in sports than Mike McCarthy bouncing back in year two.  What this year showed for the Cowboys, however, is the problem was never Garrett; the problem runs deeper. To let Garrett go considering what we are looking at now when it comes to America’s Team was a rash and WRONG decision.

CBS Sports Radio producer David Shepard is a former ESPN researcher, a former Division I college basketball practice player, and the host of The Good Shepard YouTube channel. Follow him on Twitter @TheGoodShepard_.