Barring an unforeseen change of heart, prepare yourself for another year of The Clap.
Dallas Cowboys coaches firmly believe head coach Jason Garrett, he of the renowned ability to hypnotically clap his hands in the face of wind, rain, cold and humiliating defeat, will return in 2018. But next year will be his final warning.
There are, however, expected to be major staff changes, starting with offensive coordinator Scott Linehan.
Receiver Dez Bryant calling out the offensive scheme for his lack of production this season is quite amusing, but when you don’t run Zeke Elliott from the 2-yard line, twice, all sorts of stupid are in play - and valid.
When Black Monday comes on New Year’s Day, and other jobs around the NFL are available, expect some swapping of lower rung position coaches at The Star. Our favorite ginger coach is thought to be safe.
The Cowboys can blame Roger Goodell for his over-reach on punishing Zeke, but they have no one to blame but themselves for missing the playoffs. This was the single most disappointing season for the Cowboys since 2008.
The sad reality is JG hasn’t turned out to be that much of an upgrade over his predecessor, Hall of Famer Uncle Wade Phillips*.
The only difference is the players never quit on Garrett whereas they had no problem laying down for Wade.
Jerry has found his fall guys for 2017: Linehan and Goodell.
Check out the list of excuses under Garrett:
2011: 8-8. Cowboys start 7-4 and crash under the weight of injuries to miss the playoffs with a loss in the final week of the regular season.
2012: 8-8. Cowboys start 3-5 before rallying to play a regular season finale with the playoffs on the line. The team was ripped apart by injury, and lost a close game in the finale in Washington.
2013: 8-8. The Cowboys hovered around .500 and quarterback Tony Romo suffered a broken back to force him to miss the regular season finale against the Eagles. For the third consecutive year, the Cowboys needed to win the final game against a division opponent to make the playoffs. They lost.
2014: 12-4. Jason Garrett’s first season when all is well. Romo had a brilliant season with running back DeMarco Murray, and they carried a mediocre defense with no pass rush to a close loss in the divisional round at Green Bay.
2015: 4-12. Romo suffered an injury in Week 2, and the season was trash.
2016: 13-3. Dak Prescott. Zeke Elliott. Jason Garrett is the NFL’s Coach of the Year.
2017: 8-7. The Cowboys were 3-3 without Zeke during his suspension, but their passing game was an embarrassment throughout.
Note that the two seasons the Cowboys thrived under Garrett — ’14 and ’16 — the team had the benefit of playing against a softer schedule.
“You need a coach when things aren’t going perfectly. Last year, he had two guys come in that no one thought were going to do what they did. No one thought that was going to happen to Dak Prescott. No one thought Ezekiel Elliott would lead the league in rushing,” Davis told me. “(In 2014), he got a career year from DeMarco Murray. That’s not Jason Garrett. He’s been carried by his talent.”
In this day and age of the easy divorce and immediate gratification, Jerry’s old-school commitment to his head coach despite these results is refreshingly stubborn and now slightly pathetic.
Garrett has been the head coach of America’s Team for seven full seasons and has been to the playoffs twice. Please defend this. I’ll hang up and listen.
Jerry has grown quite soft in his advancing years, and no one has benefited more than Coach Process.
Under Garrett, the Cowboys have had two good seasons, but they have not become a good team.
Good teams string together consecutive playoff appearances. Good teams win a few playoff games.
Whatever the reasons, at some point all of this mediocrity is a reflection of the head coach. God knows there is enough body of work to support that case.
The last coach to lead the Cowboys to consecutive playoff appearances was Chan Gailey in 1998 and ’99.
There is no magic coach out in the great beyond to save the Cowboys. Jerry knows it, too.
And every single year there is just enough for Jerry to keep his Chosen One around for one more year.
From Linehan to Goodell, Jerry has found his fall guys, so prepare for one more year of The Clap.
Mac Engel: @macengelprof