Two days have passed since seven NFL head coaches lost their jobs, and Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones could have made it eight.
The Cowboys missed the playoffs for the third straight season after their Sunday night loss to the Washington Redskins, and many thought head coach Jason Garrett’s job was in jeopardy, as well.
But Garrett has survived Jones's swinging axe, but was it the right decision? If history tells us anything, it's that Garrett enters next season on the hot seat.
In two-plus seasons with Dallas, Garrett has a record of 21-19, including three consecutive third place finishes in the NFC East. According to critics of Garrett, his tenure in Dallas has included several embarrassing losses, poor clock management, and an inability to create any sort of running game.
Hailed as an offensive genius before he was named to the top spot, Garrett and the Cowboys were averaging 18.75 points per game through the first nine weeks of the season with a 3-5 record.
During that same stretch, Garrett was panned for his clock management in the Cowboys 31-29 loss to the Baltimore Ravens. Dallas played with no sense of urgency and at times looked confused running their two-minute drill with the clock winding down.
Another struggle for the Cowboys was their running game, which finished second to last. Dallas put up just 79.1 rushing yards per contest, with running back DeMarco Murray needing just 10 games to lead the squad with 663 yards.
Murray’s sprained foot and six game stint on the sidelines, along with injuries to the offensive line, were huge factors in the Cowboys poor running game. But rather than try new ways to run the ball, Garrett and his staff put more pressure on quarterback Tony Romo.
Romo threw a career high 648 times, 98 more attempts than his previous mark of 550 in 2009, including two games of 62 drop backs, and six games with at least 40. Discounting games where Dallas was behind, Romo essentially carried the Cowboys offense the entire season.
Through all those miscues, Jones is apparently showing more patience these days, but that likely won’t last for long. Since he bought the team in 1989, no coach has lasted longer than four seasons, and two of them won Super Bowls.
Next season almost certainly will decide whether Garrett breaks that trend.