Garrett’s clock management explanation keeps getting worse

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Cowboys coach Jason Garrett botched his clock management at the end of his team’s loss to the Cardinals.

His decision not to take one of his two timeouts to try run a few plays and try to get closer for a field goal was hard to understand, but his total lack of an explanation a day later is even more befuddling.

Garrett was asked if Tony Romo was told to clock the ball instead of take a timeout when Dez Bryant made a catch with 26 seconds left.

I don’t have a great answer for you on that,” Garrett said via Carlos Mendez of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Wait, what?

“Again, we’re just working through that situation to be honest with you. We’re talking timeout. He was getting them to the line of scrimmage and obviously when he got them to the line of scrimmage, the conversation we had going in was to clock the ball.”

But didn’t you have a plan or know what you were going to do before the play?

“He caught the ball on the 30-yard line,” Garrett tried to explain. “We kind of looked at each other and said, ‘Hey, he’s in field-goal range. Boom! What do we got here?’ Tony is getting to the line, which is what he’s taught to do – always be ready to get the team to the line of scrimmage.”

Garrett says he would have called a timeout at four seconds, but Romo clocked the ball at seven seconds. So basically Garrett risked having a penalty in the situation and seemed to have no communication with Romo.  He also didn’t seem to have a plan for what they’d do if they had a catch at the 30-yard line.

It’s amazing Garrett didn’t have a better answer with 24 hours to think about it. Explain why it was a mistake in retrospect. Or explain the thought process behind the decision not to run a few plays.

Don’t make it sound like you didn’t really make any decision because the situation got overwhelming, even if that’s what happened.

72 responses to “Garrett’s clock management explanation keeps getting worse

  1. As a Colts fan, this sounds EXACTLY like Jim Caldwell last year… Except he made the same type of mistake twice.

    Just a hint to the Cowboys… If your head coach is drawing comparisons to Caldwell…. Not a good thing

  2. If I were Garrett, I’d lie and say the plan was to line up and make the kick, but for the Cowboys to call the timeout just before the snap. The idea being the kicker would have chance to get his bearings and would know the TO was coming so there wouldn’t be the pressure or worry of the other team calling it.

    It happens all the time in the league where a kicker will follow through w/ the kick, nail it, and even if the other team called a TO, line up and nail another one right after that.

    But the Cowboys aren’t smart enough to come up with a legitimate cover story, so….this is what you get.

  3. I think the call came from Jerry and he is just acting like an idiot to take the fall and save his job.

  4. You can’t coach when you’re always looking over your shoulder. It’s hard to make decisions when you’re always wondering “What would Jerry want me to do here?”

  5. I don’t think Jerry Jones would have botched that one. Pretty unforgivable mistake if they don’t make the playoffs because of this.

  6. 3 Million Dollars as an OC in waiting, now a lot of talent but average results. Not ready for primetime.

  7. That’s the 2nd time this year Dallas has lost because Garrett was playing not to lose at the end of the game.

  8. There’s no excuse in the world for this, that’s just brutal coaching, period.

    But Vox (Howley, or whatever his name is today) will try to defend Garrett, I’m sure.

  9. He was also quoted as saying, “Winning? Psh. Winning is for losers.”

    To us Cowboys fans, these things are just part of the circus. We expect them.

  10. First of all, this was a press conference….

    Secondly, Garrett explained several times that, in going in the direction that the Cowboys were going, the 35 yard line was where they needed to get to. They got the ball to the 30. As they had 5 sacks and 3 runs for negative yards, they did not want to risk a negative play.

    Thirdly, as for calling the time-out, as the kicker was lining up for the kick, the play clock was at 7 seconds. He didn’t want the kicker rushed and called a timeout.

    I’m not happy with the decisions made by Garrett either. You’re on the 30, assuming you take a timeout, with 26 seconds and a time out to try to get another 5 – 10 yards. I say you do it, but I’m also not a head coach in the NFL. I can understand what he did, but I don’t agree with it…

  11. I like Jason but he needs to fess up and admit it was his bungling. I don’t know how a guy can be a HC and not be mentally ready for a situation like this. Isn’t this situation football 101?

  12. I heard the press conference and it was worse than described. I think everybody wanted him to say “this one is on me, not Tony, not the kicker, not the special teams coach, but me.” He didn’t. In fact, he sidestepped it and seemed to say it was the special teams coach.

    I really don’t blame him if he decided to kick from that spot. They were inside of a 50 yard kick. The Cowboy’s are notorious for critical false start penalties, they had two on that very drive. The problem is it looked like chaos, a decision by default if you will, not a purposeful decision.

    The timeout is what is unfathomable. You QB is the holder. If the play clock is going to run out he will call for the timeout like he does on any offensive play.

  13. Okay. So this is what the Princeton grad has for a response 24 hours after one of the biggest in-game coaching failures of the year. Whatever happened to getting closer to the goal line, or heck, maybe score a touchdown? Dallas had 2 timeouts and 26 seconds left and they were at the 30 yard line. There was more than enough time to get at least one more 1st down and a couple of shots to the endzone. When did a 49 yard field goal become automatic at the end of the game? Bailey had already missed a 53-yarder earlier and rattled another field goal of the left upright for a shaky conversion. Red-headed “genius”: The next time you have a lame answer like this rattling around in that brain of yours after another colossal screw up, just keep your mouth shut!

  14. I don’t get how these supposedly clever coaches make elementary mistakes like this. Just admit you screwed up and move on.

  15. I’m scratching my head over that one but the fact remains that it’s December and a rookie head coach has his team in first place against Reid and two coaches with superbowl rings.

  16. When your coach is nothing but a beard for a borderline psychotic owner, these things happen. You can’t expect figurehead coaches to make pressure decisions quickly. There’s a reason that a team that has had enough talent – on more than one occasion – to make a run has only won one postseason game in 15 years. Once Jimmy left and his players retired, it was all over. Unless Minnesota decides to give away an entire draft to grab a Dallas player on his last legs AGAIN, this team won’t win a Super Bowl until Jerry takes himself out of the picture. Snyder gets more blame because he’s the more blatantly obvious fool, but the truth is both owners are their team’s own worse enemy.

  17. This one is pretty simple to figure out. He doesn’t trust Romo. His choices were simple. Try to get into better scoring position via Romo’s arm or kick it. He couldn’t decide so he wasted 30 seconds. Then he panicked, called the TO for no reason and they lost.

    No composure. He’d make a great OC for the Lions.

  18. So many times you see an opposing coach try to ice a kicker, but the ball gets snapped and the kicker boots the ball. Its like a practice kick. Its like getting a practice shot in golf before you have to take the shot for real. Almost an advantage for the kicker to get that practice. I think Garrett wanted to give his kicker a practice kick….. which is basically cheating… which is why he is being so vague as to why he called that time-out when he did.

  19. Wow. Just when you think it couldn’t get worse…

    Garrett, admit it finally. You blew it. You can’t blame it on Romo. Your coaches maybe gave you bad advice, but you are ultimately responsible for the call to either kick away or call the TO. It was ridiculous to leave 2 TOs on the board when you could have run at least one, probably two more plays to get Bailey closer.

    This was a poorly called game against a poor Cardinals team. Now you’ve got the Giants coming to town. If you don’t tighten this up quick, this could very well come down the the final game of the season. Our secondary gives up yards in bunches as does the Giants. But with Eli’s weapons and our 10 yard cushions, he’s going to march up an town the field. Coughlin is probably going to outcoach you and outlast you.

    Please prove me wrong.

  20. At the end of the day, the problem is Jerry Jones. Jones buys the team with Walker already on it, Minnesota is so stupid to trade a net FIVE staters worth of potency for Walker and with that, and their normal draft rights, the Cowboys dominate the early 90’s. From that point on the Cowboys are the poster child for mediocrity with only one playoff win. Jones is over his head and without Minnesota’s stupidity probably would have been mediocre, or worse, his whole ownership. The Phillips’ and Garrett’s of the world are there on Jones’ say so – milquetoast yes men.

  21. Gingerhead is proof that you don’t need intelligence to be a HC, just a very brown nose and puckered lips.

  22. Wow. If they need anyone else to give a few million dollars to to not make decisions, I can be perfect for that. I think. I’m not ready to commit just yet.

  23. I don’t think Garrett realized the situation where a illegal formation or false start would end the game. He just let the team clock the ball instead. Not much Garrett has done makes sense. He didn’t committ to the run until after Wade Phillips was fired yet he was always calling the plays. Expect more of the same puzzling decisions as long as he is a head coach.

  24. One fun thing about being a Cards fan, is watching how many head coaches get into trouble after losing to the them. It’s hilarious. Cards get a win, and then the other team questions their head coach. It’s happened a lot, and I love it.

  25. Gonna take better clock management to beat the giants twice and win division. Realize that now, or be fired before february

  26. You Cowboys haters are so silly.

    What’s the big deal? In the only kick Dan Bailey had ever missed, it was the same situation. Play clock was almost gone and the kick was rushed, he shanked it.

    He didn’t want that to happen again as the play clock is running down. We weren’t making real good progress, Arizona was doing a great job of stuffing the run and getting pressure on Romo. Two false starts on the drive alone, and the center and left tackle were being destroyed all day. You take a false start it goes from 48 yards to 53 yards and your percentages shrink waaaay down.

    It wasn’t THAT crucial of a mistake.

  27. To quote The Rock “You should be concerned with fixing yourself a nice tall glass of shut up juice!” His explanation only makes him look like more of a dope. There is something strange that happens to the Cowboys of Dallas every year between 11:59 AM November 30 and 12:00 AM December 1.

  28. This guy is a MAJOR joke. Jerry needs to can his butt this week before the next game, unless you want to lose to the Giants. What a friggin DA this guy is…

  29. Del Rio, Garrett, Caldwell and Morris can have quite the golf foursome this offseason talking clock management skills and resume updating…

  30. What is up with all of the mealy-mouthed coaches? Guys who do not seem to be able to make a decision or take responsibility for anything? It’s fairly pathetic, to be honest. Be prepared on what you want to do, and then do it.

  31. screaming at the TV that whole drive.
    The most frustrating thing is that Romo did keep the team moving quickly, the only reason they were not at the 30 with 30 seconds left is because they apparently chose not to be.
    Seeing Jones and his son hide in the back of the luxury box to not be on camera was one of the most telling clips of the end of Garrets coaching career.

  32. The only reason the Cowboys are still in first place is because everyone else in the divisi0n stinks too right now. I mean when we look at Jason Garrett on the sidelines it reminds you a lot of Wade Phillips. Anyway the problem with the Cowboys is that Jerry Jones has never really cleaned house “completely” and I mean fired every coach,assistant,scout,cheeleader, etc. from a previous regime. He needs to do that and then hire a “real” GM and let him run the show. Oh well it’s always nice to dream.

  33. Are we so “advanced” as a football society that the captain of the offense, the qb, is not allowed to call timeout anymore? I mean if my dumbass jumps off the couch and screams timeout, isn’t it common knowledge?!!!

  34. I don’t quite understand what he was afraid of, it’s not like he had a terrible QB. Picking up 10 more yards should of been a piece of cake.

    You could of had a roll out pass he could of chucked if he got in any trouble at all.

  35. The more time goes on, the more I respect what Romo’s done with what he’s had to deal with. Staubach & Aikman would be missing the playoffs with the circus that has been this franchise for so many years now.

    Romo’s not perfect, but look at this team and its leadership – changing coaches, constantly shifting go-to players, a few divas coming and going, and a whole lot of lapses in judgment from every level of team leadership. How many people could keep it all together throughout that?

    Romo’s made his fair share of bad decisions and gaffes, but look at the setting he’s in. He probably saved the team from running the clock out altogether by making the decision to spike it for the do-nothing coach.

    This team is one strong, proud, accountable coach away from a championship. That’s close, and so far away. Jones can make that happen. Will he ever do it?

  36. Didn’t really understand the ultra fuss about the end of the game until I watched the sequence, starting at the non-TO call with 30-ish seconds to play. That was almost worse than the TO call during the FG attempt.

    I’m sorry, but NFL head coaches DON’T blow things like that. They just don’t. That was the kind of thing that haunted glorified position coaches like Mike Singletary — just not aware of all things at all times.

    Garrett will be shown the door within 2 offseasons. Maybe Jones will learn his lesson and instead of grandfathering in a protege, he’ll go out and find the best coach available (which was never Garrett.)

  37. Just another example of the privileged looking out for the privileged…which is ok but don’t cry about it…you got the wrong guy HEAD COACHING you squad…pump the brakes or go play polo! !!!

  38. Should have hired Cliff Clavin, the mailman from “Cheers”, to give explanation. Still wouldn’t make any sense but it at least it would be entertaining. “You know… contrary to popular belief, time-outs were originally designed for………….”.

  39. That was probably the worst and most embarrassing single instance of clock management that I have ever seen in 35 years of watching football. I’m not even a cowboys fan and I was yelling “what the h*ll are they doing” at the TV. And the non explanation afterward was just as embarrassing.

  40. Garrett’s .583 as a head coach, and that’s first full season with no off-season to speak of. Best W/L record in the NFCE, by the way. Better than Reid. Better than Coughlin. Better than Shanarat. Have some perspective, duanethomas.

  41. Since when did a .583 win percentage become a good standard, especially in a division with the Nightmare Team and the Dead Skins? I thought the mighty Cowboys had higher standards than that with all their talent? Or maybe just maybe the team is as overrated as its head coach. Bingo.

  42. That leftover timeout the Cowboys took with them to the locker room will come in handy when they need an extra one down the road.

    Oh wait…

  43. ROMO SHOULD HAVE TAKEN HIS OWN TIME OUT WHEN HE HIT DEZ. PERIOD! He isn’t a bus driver anymore. Its his team to lead; not Jason’s. Romo failed to lead the team to victory when it was their’s to take. He still think’s he is working for Parcel’s who made him a bus driver. TONY!!! PLEASE LEAD THE TEAM! It may be to late now and a tail-spin out of the playoffs or going as a wild card or not at all may now be the result. Sharks smell the blood!

  44. howley1 says:
    Dec 6, 2011 12:42 PM
    Garrett’s .583 as a head coach, and that’s first full season with no off-season to speak of. Best W/L record in the NFCE, by the way. Better than Reid. Better than Coughlin. Better than Shanarat. Have some perspective, duanethomas.
    If you had a clue, you’d know that it’s hardly a large enough statistical sample.
    Just looking at the uneven play of the cowboys shows that Garrett is not head coaching material (yet)

  45. Some of you are missing the point. The real blunder was not taking a timeout with a half minute left at the 31 yard line. Who cares if he iced the kicker. The kicker just as easily could have missed the first kick and made the second one. As an objective viewer, the real problem was not running one or two plays after they reached the 31.

    Garret’s explanation that they committed procedure penalties on that drive made him nervous that they would be out of FG range makes idiotic sense for the following reasons
    1) He is acting like a 49 yard FG is automatic while playing a mistake free snap is not. Both have risks.
    2) Just because there were penalties in the course of “routine” snaps leading up to THE snap does not mean you can’t take a timeout to save time and get the offensive unit enough time to get their bearings and focus on the upcoming task of not committing any penalty with the safe option of Romo throwing that ball away fast or run to the nearest opening and dive down with max protect attitude towards the ball. You can design safe plays because you really want to get only 3 or 4 yards, not a first down.

  46. Wow. With 2 timeouts and the clock running at 0:25 you have to take a time out. Epic fail and epic clock mismanagement. You had two timeouts!

    Run the ball to get a few extra yards use your other timeout and give the rookie with an accurate but weak leg an easier kick. Dont you know your own personnel?

    Garrett, go watch a few JV high school games and see how they handles timeouts. Or there is this thing called Tivo where you can record other NFL games. You are allowed to call a second and third time out in a half.

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