It doesn’t matter if it is Wade Phillips, Jason Garrett, or Vince Lombardi coaching the Dallas Cowboys.
You can’t fix stupid, and that is exactly what has been plaguing the Dallas Cowboys for the 2010 season. Simple tasks such as snapping the ball, punting the ball, and protecting the ball with two arms while trying to ice the game seemed to go over the heads of Dallas players. Let me be clear when I say this is NOT an example of poor coaching. I fully trust and believe in Jason Garrett as head coach of the Dallas Cowboys now and into the future.
While you have to give Dallas credit for battling back from an 17-0 deficit and nearly defeating the defending Super Bowl Champions without their starting quarterback, the fact is they lost the game due to stupid mistakes — the same type of mistakes that got Wade Phillips fired.
Again, the game is NOT a reflection of Jason Garrett. The level of play from his team been up since taking over as head coach, and the mistakes have went down. At some point you have to lay blame at the feet of the players.
Like Andre Gurode seemingly STILL not knowing the snap count. Even Troy Aikman said he has never seen a center in the National Football League have the mental lapses Gurode has playing center. How many times have we seen a poor or mis-timed snap from Gurode? This time he didn’t have Romo to bail him out.
Or Pro Bowl punter Mat McBriar who bobbled a clean snap and botched a punt on 4th down from the New Orleans 35 yard line. Rather than attempt a 53 yard field goal, Garrett decided to punt the ball and pin New Orleans deep. Poor execution foiled this strategy.
Or Terrence Newman sitting on Robert Meachem and watching him blow right by him for a 55-yard gain on 3rd down with under two minutes remaining.
Or best yet, Roy Williams for not securing the ball with two hands after catching a 3rd and 6 pass at midfield and racing down the field, splitting two defenders to his left and right. With Dallas up by four points, rather than securing the ball and going down, Williams got greedy and tried to score a touchdown. The Saints cornerback Malcom Jenkins stripped the ball out of Williams left hand, and New Orleans recovered on the Dallas 10 yard line with just over three minutes remaining, down by four.
A little over a minute and five plays later, and the Saints re-took the lead, 30-27.
The change of culture is underway in Dallas. Garrett has done more in three weeks than Phillips did in eight in Dallas in 2010. But the amount of stupid plays and penalties in Dallas is on the players, not the coaches.
However, the sliver lining in this, is Garrett is a coach who will hold his players accountable. As long as the mistakes do not continue, things will be fine. After all, it’s not like a 3-7 Dallas was going to do anything this year anyway. If the same players keep making the same mistakes, they will not be in Dallas anymore.
While stupid plays were ultimately Dallas’ undoing, progress is being made, as long as the same stupid mistakes are not made again.
There is a change of culture underway in Dallas, but no matter how much is changed, you can’t fix stupid. The Cowboys just have to hope the players take things upon themselves and find ways to do simple football tasks such as snapping a ball, covering a receiver, or protecting the ball with two hands.