Please understand that this edition came out just prior to the Head Coaching announcement .
Garrett needs to take control as Dallas Cowboys’ coach
It’s probably safe to assume Jason Garrett will be the next head coach of the Dallas Cowboys.
But if he wants to keep the job for more than the three-year average during Jerry Jones’ 21-year reign as owner, Garrett must run the team his way.
He must demand the authority to hire and fire assistant coaches. He must demand the authority to dole out fines and determine playing time.
The players must know Garrett is the man who decides the players’ fate – not the owner. It’s the only way this marriage will work.
It’s the only way it has ever worked with any degree of success under Jerry. Think about it, Jimmy Johnson and Bill Parcells are the coaches who’ve had the most success under Jerry.
Garrett has done everything you’d want an interim coach to do in the nine weeks that he’s been in charge.
The Cowboys have played with passion and enthusiasm under him, compiling a 5-3 record. They’ve shown a propensity to play through adversity, and they play as hard in the fourth quarter as the first quarter no matter the score.
Garrett is off to a good start, but he must demand certain things from Jerry to ensure his success.
Q: Will the next permanent head coach have the privilege of hiring his own assistant coaches?
TAYLOR: You would like to think so. We won’t know for sure until we talk to Garrett after the announcement, but it’s hard to believe he would want the job without that type of authority. After all, he’s seen how it has handicapped other men who have coached the Cowboys. He needs to hire his own guys so they can be loyal to him and to show the players that he’s running the team – not Jerry.
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Q: Shouldn’t we at least start talking about who is the best candidate to turn around our defense?
Paul Pasqualoni got us more takeaways, be we still gave up close to 30 points a game (not including Philly game).
Phillip Rudolph, New Orleans
TAYLOR: Personally, I’m a big fan of Mike Zimmer because he can coach the 4-3 and the 3-4 and he’s a master technician. He’s all about technique and accountability. He demands toughness, and he would help this team maximize its potential in addition to being familiar with the NFC East. Of course, he’s under contract to Cincinnati for another year, but they might be willing to let him go since his daughters still live in Texas, and as a family they’re apparently still having a difficult time dealing with the tragic death of his wife about a year ago as you might expect.
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Q: Can you please tell me why Jerry waited so long into the season to bring Jason Garrett to the helm when the previous seasons had been so bad? They might have made it into the playoffs if they had even just let [Wade] Phillips go last season and started anew with Jason. I just don’t get it.
TAYLOR: It was a poor decision, but understandable because Jerry had never fired a coach in the middle of the season. More important, he didn’t believe an interim coach would work, so he really didn’t want to do it – and he wouldn’t have if the players hadn’t quit so badly on Wade. That performance against Green Bay left him no choice. There’s a chance it would’ve played out differently if Garrett had come on board earlier, but it’s really hard to say.
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Q: It appears to me that the Cowboys are fat, including Miles Austin, and out of shape. They are done in the fourth quarter.
TAYLOR: I’m not really sure why you would say that about Miles Austin, who’s probably the fittest player on the Cowboys. He’s in such good shape that was a cover boy for Muscle & Fitness just a couple of months ago. The Cowboys’ fourth-quarter woes have much more to do with making dumb mistakes and failing to make plays than being out of shape.
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Q: Instead of cutting Marc Colombo, what about moving him to right guard and cutting Leonard Davis? Colombo has slowed down, but he appears to play hard and has lots of heart.
TAYLOR: Colombo has never played guard, and it’s difficult for tall players such as Davis and Colombo to get low enough and play with enough leverage to be an effective blocker. Davis could do it because he was such a good athlete. Relatively speaking, Colombo has never been that type of athlete. He has succeeded with guile and toughness for more than a year. But it’s time for him to go because injuries and age have robbed him of much of his effectiveness.
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Q: I really hope in the draft Jerry picks players who played big-time football and stops looking for diamonds in the rough. Thoughts?
TAYLOR: So you wouldn’t want Tony Romo (Eastern Illinois), Miles Austin (Monmouth), Stephen Bowen (Hofstra), Jon Kitna (Central Washington), Doug Free (Northern Illinois) and DeMarcus Ware (Troy)? It’s not about where guys come from, it’s about whether they can play. The Cowboys need to do a better job finding guys who can play no matter where they went to college. That’s their task.
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Q: With respect to Miles Austin, I think he’s a good guy and I like him a lot. I feel some of his issues with concentration this season had to do with his personal life. Miles went a little “Hollywood” on us if you will. I do not think relationships with high-profile women such as Kim Kardashian , Jessica Simpson et al. are good for people who are already high profile themselves and need to concentrate on a very difficult job.
I believe we’ll see Miles Austin, circa 2009, next season. The kid has all the ability in the world, he just needs to realize that he is now considered a team leader not just some feel-good story.
Emil Calomino, Kingston, Pa.
TAYLOR: I couldn’t disagree more strongly. His girlfriend didn’t have anything to do with his performance any more than Jessica Simpson affected Romo. Rich guys hang out with rich women. The only players who don’t are usually the guys who marry their college sweethearts or women they became involved with before they signed big-money deals. Miles revealed his biggest problem last week when he talked about not being able to put bad plays him, which led to concentration lapses. I think he also struggled because he drew the full attention of defenses and defensive coordinators this season, something that didn’t happen last season.
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Q: How come we don’t see the cornerbacks jamming at the line of scrimmage? Even when they are up tight it’s a free release. They’re making it too easy for opposing QBs to get into a rhythm.
TAYLOR: Mike Jenkins spent the first eight weeks playing bump-and-run. He hasn’t done it much lately because the Cowboys have been playing so much zone. Terence Newman doesn’t like bump-and-run, so he didn’t play much of it. You can’t play bump, if your guys don’t have the confidence to play it. The problem with much of the Cowboys’ defense this season is that they didn’t play with any confidence.
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Q: Why are people hating on DeMarcus Ware this season? I mean, he had a league-high 15 1/2 sacks in a season when he was consistently getting double- and triple-teamed because there was no threat of a rush coming from the other side?
TAYLOR: I think it’s a combination of the team’s awful 1-7 start and the fact that he wasn’t dominant during that stretch. Ware has established a high standard for himself, and we – media and fans – hold him to that standard, which is fair. He’s one of the highest-paid players in the league, and he’s expected to perform like that on a weekly basis. Ware would tell you he holds himself to a high standard. When he doesn’t play to that standard, then it’s normal for folks to wonder why it’s not happening.