Originally posted on Fox Sports Southwest  |  Last updated 11/5/12
The day started off poorly for Cowboys coach Jason Garrett and ended even worse. Garrett was greeted with the news Sunday morning that the contract extension signed by New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton was voided by the NFL. That means Payton can sign with any team after the season. Payton is a former Cowboys assistant. Payton and his family still live in the Dallas area. Payton has a Super Bowl ring. You get the picture. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones denied any interest in Payton before Sunday nights game in Atlanta. Then the Cowboys went out and played a typical game under Jason Garrett. They showed flashes. They made a lot of mistakes. They played just well enough to lose and did, 19-13. The Cowboys are now 3-5 and the stench of another 8-8 (or worse) season is starting to circulate around the team. The loss makes Garrett 16-16 overall as a head coach. The Cowboys are 4-9 since last December. The best the Cowboys have ever looked under Garrett was the four games in 2011 just prior to the current 4-9 stretch. That was when they faced a pillowy soft quartet of Seahawks, Bills, Redskins, Dolphins. Two of the Cowboys last four wins have come against the Tampa Bay Bucs. Another was against Carolina. The Cowboys did knock off the Super Bowl champion Giants to open the season, but with each week that looks more and more like a fluke. And through it all, Garrett has been a broken record of saying the team is making progress, working on all three phases and how its all a process. What you never hear is Garrett publicly criticize a player. In most instances, its smart to keep those things in-house, but at this point the players might even welcome some public flogging. There certainly arent any outspoken leaders in the locker room. Tony Romo has been known to bark at teammates on the sideline, but in front of the media he prefers to be seen as just one of the guys. He insists on conducting his mass interviews in front of his locker, just like everyone else. DeMarcus Ware has the respect of his teammates but is too soft spoken. Jason Witten is also an acknowledged warrior, but hes more boy scout than bully. The Cowboys need a strong persona at head coach to make things work, to point out the sloppiness and suppress the aura that comes with the star on the helmet. Thats hard to do when Jones personality dominates the organization, but Jimmy Johnson and Bill Parcells left no doubt who was in charge. Jones may be the mayor of Cowboyville, but Johnson and Parcells were the sheriffs. Garrett has tried to assume that role and alter the culture at Valley Ranch. Hes demanded players be on time and dressed for success. But when the games start, penalties and mistakes continue to plague his team even when they win. Its not too late for things to change under Garrett, but those of us who have watched the Jones-era Cowboys know when things are starting to take a turn. Or rather a downward spiral. Things could look better immediately because of the schedule: Philadelphia, Cleveland, Washington, Philly again and Cincinnati. Thats the kind of stretch a playoff drive can be built upon, but heres betting most of those will be a struggle for the Cowboys. Bad NFL teams make every game a struggle. The Cowboys couldnt have been expected to win at undefeated Atlanta on Sunday night, but the game was winnable. And they found a way to lose it. A Cowboys defense that had played well all night suddenly couldnt get the Falcons off the field when they needed to the most. The Dallas offense only looked crisp on its one drive in hurry-up mode, when Garrett has the least influence on the play-calling. For now, its far-fetched to think Jones would go after Sean Payton, or that Payton would entertain a Cowboys offer. But its not too soon to ponder whether were at the beginning of the end of the Garrett era. This may not be a Super Bowl team, as Jones says every year, but it is a talented one. So far, that talent is not being maximized. Follow Keith Whitmire on Twitter: @Keith_Whitmire
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Baylor approves new measures to deal with sexual assault

Joe Mauer: Concussions blurred vision, affected hitting

LeBron James says Kevin Love-Celtics trade rumor is false

Michael Jordan gifts Kobe Bryant full set of Air Jordans

Bethune-Cookman football player killed at party

Former UFC heavyweight Kevin Randleman dead at 44


WATCH: Chelsea scores three goals in less than 20 minutes

Broncos safety Shiloh Keo arrested for DUI

Mountain West admits error, says Boise St. shot was good

WATCH: John Calipari loses his mind, gets ejected

Former Clemson star Tajh Boyd to speak at John Kasich rally

Peyton Manning's alleged not-so-wholesome image

Michael Jordan gives Kobe Bryant complete set of Air Jordans

Drake has Kentucky edition of custom ‘OVO’ Air Jordan 8s

QUIZ: Name every NBA All-Star Game MVP

Watch rare footage of Stephen Curry from 2001-02 emerges

Check out this custom camouflage Oregon helmet

Ejected John Calipari tweets “they don’t need me and I love it”

Popovich would 'buy ticket' to watch Warriors play

Jamal Murray destroyed South Carolina defender with dunk

WATCH: Lon Kruger gets Oklahoma hoops squad hype for Kansas test

Texas signee glad he didn’t pick Texas A&M after alleged racism

Dallas Stars have passed the early tests in February

Could Matt Forte become the revival for Patriots run game?

Are the Celtics legimate contenders in the East?

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Ranking the ten best free agent pitcher signings

Who had the best NBA All-Star Game of the last 40 years?

The winners and losers of the 2016 MLB offseason

On Kobe Bryant and taking greatness for granted

Bucks need to choose between wins, development

Fantasy booking WrestleMania 32

Unrestricted free agents each team must consider re-signing

QUIZ: Name the winners of the NBA Slam Dunk Contest

Thank you Daniel Bryan

The timeless greatness of Jaromir Jagr

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker