If you tried out for the football team in high school, you’re probably painfully aware of how charmed Jason Garrett’s life is. His staggering talent was apparent even in high school when he dominated three different sports, earning honors and letters along the way.
Since his teenage years he’s broken records, won two superbowls, retired as a player and moved his way up the ranks to become the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys. He simply never lost momentum.
So how has this unreckonable force worked out for the Cowboys so far?
When you compare Garrett with former coach Wade Phillips, the first noticeable difference is the elasticity of the team. Because there is none. The offense is tighter than we’ve seen in a while and every player out on the field is on the same page. With Garrett’s shiny new leadership, however temporary it may be, the Cowboys could be a different team by the 2011 preseason. I’m not saying that Garrett conducts them like a symphony or runs a well-oiled machine yet but he does run a tight ship.
Any time there’s a new sheriff in town, one guy has to test his mettle and see how much slack he can get. Marion Barber was that guy, dissing his new coach’s mandate that all players ‘suit up’ in slacks and collared shirts on game days. Even though his game play was unsurprisingly limited for the dress code violation, Barber’s new calf injury has ensured his rightful place as bench warmer. Even though the playoffs aren’t in the picture this season, the injuries sustained by the Cowboys up to this point show how much fight we put in to each game, yard after yard. Wide-receiver Dez Bryant is now MIA with a fractured ankle and Tony Romo’s collarbone is taking its sweet time to heal.
However, if traffic resurgence on sports gambling sites can tell us anything, it’s that Cowboys fans are regaining confidence. Sites like GameBookers.com are coming to life again on game day as if the fans are slowly, unashamedly peeking out of their foxholes. Season ticket-holders’ seats are filling again. There, there. It’s not an easy step to take after the 45-7 shellacking delivered by Green Bay in November. The newfound freshness and pep that the Cowboys have shown so late in the season is part of an attitude change that fans have adopted in solidarity.
Is it ironic that Wade Phillips was replaced after a loss to the Packers… by Garrett, whose career pinnacle was 311 glorious yards and two glorious Thanksgiving Day touchdowns as a back-up… against Green Bay? It’s the NFL’s own brand of poetic justice. Now, if only we could get Jerry Jones to take a hard look at his assistant coaches…