Dallas Cowboys: 10 offseason questions

The Dallas Cowboys have major decisions to handle regarding their franchise this offseason. Todd Archer and Calvin Watkins, along with some guests, answer some of biggest issues for the Cowboys this week.

Is Jason Garrett the right coach for the Cowboys?

Garrett
Garrett
Todd Archer: We’re about to find out. He is entering the last year of his contract and has to win or he is out. I’ve said this before, but I think Jerry Jones wants Garrett to be his Tom Landry. Does that mean he lasts 30 years? No, but it means he makes it to a second contract as the coach at least. Jones has showed patience with Garrett that he has not shown other coaches. What Garrett says and how he is trying to build makes sense. It’s how every team tries to get it done. I believe Garrett still has the room, which says something after three straight 8-8 finishes. The players play hard if not for him than for themselves because, as he says, they’re the right kinds of guys. That means something, too. He needs to be better on game day, there is no doubt. He needs to be better during the practice week, too. Jones has talked about wanting to see the payoff from those growing pains. Garrett gets one more chance. If he doesn’t get it done this year, then he will be out and Jones will look for the next “right coach,” for the Cowboys.

Calvin Watkins: Jason Garrett knows how to run a franchise. He understands how to get players to play for him and other coaches. He understands what type of player he wants. The problem with Garrett is the results. He's missed the playoffs in three full seasons as head coach. That can't happen again in 2014. He enters the final year of his contract as the best man to deal with Jerry Jones and his mercurial ways of running a franchise. Garrett knows about the Cowboys Way. He respects the tradition and history of the Cowboys. He just can't get the results to warrant a contract extension or confidence he's the man for the job. Garrett is the man for the job. He's got game-management issues, like some other coaches we've seen across the league, but Jones hasn't been a good general manager the last few years and that's hurt Garrett in some ways. Jones is an outstanding owner, which does help Garrett, because the head coach can get whatever he wants. But when Jones, the general manager, wants to take over, it hurts Garrett. So, while Garrett knows what he wants as a coach, the lack of playoff appearances are not helping him gain more job security.

10 offseason questions: Cutting Ware

February, 11, 2014
Feb 11
10:00
AM ET
The Cowboys have major decisions to handle regarding their franchise this offseason. Todd Archer and Calvin Watkins, along with some guests, answer some of biggest issues for the Cowboys.

Should the Cowboys release DeMarcus Ware?

Calvin Watkins: No. I know Ware didn't have his best season, six sacks, and was handled too easily by opposing tackles in 2013. But you have to take into account Ware's health. He dealt with elbow, back and quad injuries throughout the year. Ware never missed an NFL game in his career before missing three games due to a strained quad in the middle of the season. When healthy, Ware continued to be a dominant force, especially early in the season. Ware opened the season with an interception on the first play of the game and had six quarterback pressures in the season-opener against the New York Giants. It seemed Ware was on the way to a Pro Bowl-type season. But Ware disappeared too many times, and when you have a bad elbow, combined with a neck stinger, it's hard for you to push off and get pressure on the quarterback. The Cowboys have to evaluate whether Ware's health is the reason for a down year or he's just getting old. He's not taking a pay cut, so in the best interest of everyone involved, the Cowboys need to bring him back for one more season to redeem himself.

Todd Archer: I struggle with this one. The salary-cap guy in me says yes. Ware is set to count $16.003 million against the cap and make $12.25 million. That’s a lot of coin for a guy who played in 55 percent of the snaps last season and has been banged-up the past two seasons. Perhaps the Cowboys can get him to re-work his deal, although that seems unlikely. Perhaps the Cowboys bite the bullet and restructure his deal again, but that only delays what could be inevitable. The football guy in me says to give Ware another year. The Cowboys do not have somebody who can roll out of bed and get six sacks, like he did in 13 games in 2013, let alone 11.5, like he did in 2012. Ware was so good in training camp last summer that I just can’t believe he lost it over a couple of months. He will be motivated to have a return-to-form season because this is really the first time he has been questioned. Do the Cowboys want to see if they can get that type of season from Ware or see another team sign him as a free agent and get it out of him? It will not be an easy decision for Jerry Jones, who has not been known to make these types of decisions in the past.

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