The absence of running back Ezekiel Elliott has exposed plenty of flaws in Dallas, with some of them come from coaching. Whether the inexplicable failure to adjust when left tackle Chaz Green made Adrian Clayborn look like Reggie White or the inexplicable failure to adjust when the defense was making Keenan Allen look like Jerry Rice, a stubborn commitment to scheme (which is another way of saying “inability to make meaningful adjustments on the fly”) has justifiably resulted in tough questions for coach Jason Garrett.
Those tough questions aren’t coming from owner Jerry Jones, who reiterated on Friday his commitment to the man who first became head coach during the 2010 season.
“Jason Garrett was named Coach of the Year of the whole NFL last year,” Jones said on 105.3 The Fan in Dallas, via Drew Davison of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “That was yesterday. This is today. The point is, I like this coaching staff.”
Garrett sidestepped a question from reporters on Friday regarding whether he’s concerned about his status.
“The biggest thing we’re focusing on is cleaning up this game and trying to get better as a football team,” Garrett said. “That’s really where all of our attention is.”
It’s not the first time Garrett has faced questions about his job security. Jones has stuck with Garrett during prior lean years, possibly due in part to Garrett’s willingness to let Jones claim all credit and seek all attention when things are going well. Garrett is content to be the head coach of the Cowboys, and he doesn’t need to share the spotlight with Jones.
For now, the spotlight has fallen on the failures of the Cowboys to move the ball and score points without Elliott, especially after halftime.
“We haven’t played as well as we need to in the second half of these ballgames,” Garrett said Friday. “We’re looking at that as a coaching staff, how we can do that better and how we can sustain consistent execution for an entire ballgame.”
Making meaningful in-game adjustments would be a good start. The failure to do so provides a good explanation as to why the Cowboys are seeing three straight close games through two quarters become butt-kickings after intermission.