For those clamoring for Jason Garrett's dismissal, here's some bad news. Unless Sean Payton offers to do pro bono work for Jerry Jones, Garrett will return in 2013 as the Dallas Cowboys head coach.
Someone will be thrown overboard (defensive coordinator Rob Ryan?), but Garrett would have to lose the next five games in order for Jerry to make a coaching change. Despite Dallas' stunning lack of firepower (unless trailing by three scores) and breakdowns on defense, I don't see the Cowboys losing six consecutive games not with Andy Reid's 3-8 Eagles coming to town.
When it's announced that Garrett is indeed returning, he should thank his lucky stars for all the injuries. For a delusional owner grasping for excuses, the loss of Sean Lee, DeMarco Murray and now Bruce Carter will be the rallying cry heading into the offseason. Other teams may be able to overcome injuries to numerous key players, but the Cowboys aren't built for that type of thing.
Perhaps a healthy Lee and Murray would've had the Cowboys in better position after 11 games, but that's not a certainty. Are we supposed to believe the presence of Lee would have kept Washington's Robert Griffin III from hanging 28 points on the Cowboys in the first half on Thanksgiving?
If anything, the absence of Lee actually seemed to turn Carter into a better player. He took on more responsibility while playing at an elite level. Unfortunately, he'll now miss the rest of the season with an elbow injury. ... And the only man who will profit from that injury is, once again, Garrett.
Jerry loathes the idea of starting over with a new head coach while having to continue paying Garrett. Just because Jerry loves being pals with Payton doesn't mean the owner started respecting the position of head coach.
The last thing Jerry wants to do is fire Garrett and then basically hire 64-year-old Mike Holmgren on an interim basis. Holmgren's had a long and distinguished NFL career, but I don't get the sense he's dying to be on the sideline again. Like Bill Parcells before him, Holmgren could end up walking away at any moment.
So, Jerry will stick with Garrett, while telling everyone who will listen how good the Cowboys could've been if only Murray, Lee, Carter, Phil Costa, Miles Austin, Barry Church ... could've remained healthy. Jerry will also convince himself and his army of sycophants how close the Cowboys came to beating teams such as the Ravens, Falcons and the Giants in their second matchup.
This is where Jerry's background as an oilman undermines the whole process. He's able to look past the results of the past 16 seasons and believe that a gusher's right around the corner. He almost seems to be emboldened by failure, which is an admirable trait unless you own the most valuable franchise in American sports.
Even Jerry's heir apparent, Stephen Jones, is starting to sound more like his father. Once believed to be the voice of reason, the younger Jones told reporters at Valley Ranch on Monday the Cowboys "have just as good a chance as anybody else" to make the playoffs.
As long as Jerry and Son keep saying things like that, Garrett is in pretty good shape for 2013. I thought Jerry had been rattled by the spectacular performance of RG3 on Thanksgiving, but if the Cowboys can beat the downtrodden Eagles on Sunday, Jerry will return to his optimistic self.
It has to kill Jerry that Garrett has been such a disappointment as head coach. This was a player who had been part of the organization during its glory years and was widely regarded as one of the brightest minds in coaching.
Now, it seems, the Ravens and Falcons were fortunate that Garrett turned them down. They hired emotional coaches who inspire players and fans alike.
I'll never forget one high-ranking member of the Ravens saying that Garrett was so impressive in the interview process that he could easily be elected President of the United States. Garrett was probably much better suited for politics since he rarely provides any answers of substance.
But he'll survive this mess of a season because the Cowboys continue to lose talented players on a weekly basis. Maybe it would behoove Jerry to think back to how badly Garrett wanted Felix Jones in the first round of the 2008 draft.
Garrett, then the team's offensive coordinator, thought Jones would be the perfect complement to Marion Barber. Now it appears Felix's career in Dallas is coming to a close. He reported to training camp out of shape and he provides little punch in the "running game."
The Cowboys spent second-round picks on Lee and Carter and a third-round pick on Murray because they believed those players to have first-round talent. While each of the three have shown that to be true, none of them will likely be on the field on Sunday. That could be an extreme case of bad luck for the Cowboys, or it could be other teams wisely deciding not to base their futures on players with significant injury histories.
Either way, all these injuries will keep Jason Garrett employed for at least another season. It's just one of the perks of working for such a benevolent man.