For as much as the talking heads try to simplify the decisions of a head coach, the job is never easy. There are an unfathomable amount of decisions that have to be made each game; so many that finding something to scrutinize is always easy. Just the same, there has been a lot of second guessing the last few days about Jason Garrett’s time management skills at the end of Dallas’ loss to the Arizona Cardinals. He has been charged with costing his team the game by our fictional court system, thus causing a plethora of fictional reporters to gather outside the fictional courthouse.
Ben Van Iten will be handling the prosecution, while Nate Raby heads up the defense.
After reviewing his notes one last time, Ben stands up from his chair and makes his standard methodical walk over to the jury. He pauses in front of them and puts a finger to his chin, as if in deep thought.
Ben: I believe it was Confucius who once said, “4th quarter clock management is pretty key, man”.
Nate rolls his eyes.
Ben: I can be a reasonable person. Unlike a lot of people, I don’t have any problem with the timeout he took. If that assistant coach had told him of a potential problem with the game winning kick and he allowed the ball to be snapped anyway? And the kicker missed it? The Dallas media would be calling for his head as we speak. I get that.
But that’s not where my issue lies.
With close to 30 seconds left in the game, and two timeouts, Jason Garrett decided that settling for a 49 yard field goal by a rookie kicker was in the team’s best interest. Here’s an analogy; let’s say you are dropping your child off at school. You are going to drive them up close to the door, yeah? You aren’t going to leave them four blocks away just because you have faith that they can make it on their own. What if they wander into traffic or are introduced to drugs along the way? What a relevant analogy!
One confused juror shakes their head slightly.
Anyway, we all know Bailey has the leg to make that kick, but in his rookie season…why make things harder on him than they need to be? Now look, I understand that Romo has made a lot of timely mistakes the last few seasons, but this team is going to have to live or die with him eventually. Might as well start with the baby step of, I don’t know…HAVING HIM THROW A FIVE YARD PASS AGAINST SOFT COVERAGE FOR CHRIST SAKE.
Ben takes a deep breath.
You can also run the ball with DeMarco Murray, cause he’s awesome. None of these things guarantee that Dallas wins the game, but they would sure help increase the odds and as a coach that is all you can do. The prosecution rests, and will immediately shower for defending Romo in even a half assed fashion. Ugh.
Nate waits for Ben to pass him, then hands him a loofa he has procured from his sports coat.
Nate: That stink never goes away, in case you’re wondering.
You know what? I love that analogy. Let’s keep going with it!
You’re right, Ben. You can’t just drop them off four blocks away. But let’s face it, sometimes even dropping them off at the door isn’t enough. What if a kid brought drugs to school? What if someone shoves the kid’s head in a toilet? My God, Ben, what if the cafeteria menu has no pizza?
The jurors gasp.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that sometimes it doesn’t matter what you do as a parent. You could do everything wrong, drop them off four blocks from school, and they could get there fine and have an uneventful day at school. Or you could do everything right, and something bad still happens. Parenting is imprecise, and as you’re quick to admit, so is coaching.
At some point you have to place blame on the kids if they do drugs, and at some point you have to place blame on the players if they lose the game. The crime that my client is charged with is costing his team the game. And maybe he didn’t put his team in the best position to win, but he still had them in position. And at some point, the blame has to shift from him to the players playing the game.
I’m not just talking about Bailey, although we’ll start there. Dan Bailey is the luckiest kicker in the world right now. Because of Garrett’s actions, no one is talking about the issue that people usually talk about in situations like this. How could he miss that kick? Yes, it was 49 yards. But he proved completely capable of making longer kicks before – his long is 51. He had made a 50 yarder in that game already. He proved completely capable of making the kick right before the time out. But he missed the one that counted. And is that Jason Garrett’s fault? No, it isn’t. Do you know why, jurors?
Because icing the kicker is a stupid thing that never ever works.
How many times have you seen icing the kicker actually work? It’s very rare. More often than not, the kicker will miss the first field goal before the time out, and make it after. The idea of icing the kicker is a lot stronger than the actual action itself. So instead of jumping on Garrett for making that timeout, we should be engaging in the usually common practice of jumping down Dan Bailey’s throat.
And even if we don’t do that, let’s just be real. This shouldn’t fall on Garrett because the team was playing the Cardinals. The Cardinals! I guarantee you that the coach’s gameplan was exactly the same as it was when facing other teams, teams they beat in close games. So if you’re playing a shit team, and you usually beat shit teams close, there must have been something individually wrong with the game. In this case, it was Dan Bailey. And Tony Romo not realizing HE WAS PLAYING THE FUCKING CARDINALS. So sure, maybe Jason Garrett doesn’t deserve a parade for the way he coached this game. But it’s not like he’s the only person to blame, and he certainly wasn’t the only person to cost the Cowboys this game.
The jury may now deliberate in the comments section.