Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Dallas Cowboys [Print without images]

Saturday, December 10, 2011
Jason Garrett does the right thing

By Calvin Watkins



Sometimes, the media demands answers. We want players and coaches to be held accountable for their actions on and off the field.

And that was the case this week regarding Jason Garrett, who didn't publicly admit a mistake for not reacting quicker either with a timeout or spiking of the ball in the overtime loss to the Arizona Cardinals last Sunday.

But now we await an interview DeMarcus Ware gives NBC's Michele Tafoya in which he says Garrett apologized to the team for his gaffe at the end of regulation. (The interview will air Sunday prior to the Cowboys-Giants game).

So is Garrett square with his team because he told them in private he was wrong?

Yes, he is.

Several players supported Garrett in public despite the mistake and said it's not his fault.

The next question: Why wouldn't Garrett just say so this week when asked by reporters?

With the revelation that he did tell the team he messed up, Garrett's decision-making process is open to more scrutiny.

If the Cowboys lose Sunday night to the New York Giants, their first-place lead is gone and the season may be on the brink of collapse.

Garrett's decision to let Dan Bailey attempt that 49-yard field goal looms larger, as the Arizona loss might cost the Cowboys a playoff spot.

It won't cost Garrett his job, but it's just another negative mark on his record.

People like to say Garrett is a smart guy because he went to an Ivy League school. That's fine. But it's funny how so many of us in the media have questioned his football IQ.

*A few years ago, he didn't give Felix Jones a single carry.

*He had trouble getting the ball to Roy Williams on a consistent basis.

*There was Tashard Choice's run near the end of the first half at Washington last year that led to a fumble returned for a touchdown. Garrett should have taken a knee, and didn't. He later admitted he should have.

*Garrett has taken all sorts of questions about why he doesn't run the ball more, something he's decided to do this year with the emergence of DeMarco Murray.

*At the end of the debacle against Detroit in which the Cowboys blew a 24-3 lead, there was an issue as to whether Garrett knew there was time on the clock when Felix Jones ran out of bounds to end the game. Garrett is seen on the sidelines looking at his play sheet as if he's about to call a play. Garrett did say he knew the game was over.

*In Week 2, he called for a run play with a nicked up Miles Austin, who clearly wasn't himself.

*The Cowboys continue to commit silly penalties at the wrong time. Dallas has 32 penalties in the fourth quarter this year, tied for fourth most in the NFL. When Wade Phillips was the coach, he was questioned repeatedly about the discipline of his team. Should Garrett get those same questions?

Jerry Jones said Phillips never got a honeymoon from the media in his four seasons here. Is Garrett getting one?

The players like Garrett. Respect him. Most of these same players liked and respected Phillips.

Somehow these players didn't get the job done for him and Jones was forced to do something he never wanted to do, and that's fire a coach.

Garrett is doing the right things for his team and should be given a chance to get Jones a title he cherishes. But Garrett is on the line here if the Cowboys don't beat the Giants.

He mismanaged the loss at Arizona, which might haunt the team down the line.

His apology was needed; now, his team must do something for him, and that's beat New York.