Mac Engel

The Process is working: Garrett deserves extension with Cowboys’ 6-1 start

He was supposed to be the first NFL coach fired in 2014, but instead he will be the first to be handed an extension. Coach Process, take a bow.

Jason Garrett took his stay-of-execution season and has turned it into a career-maker.

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Good for him. That is a job well done.

The man believed in what he was doing, in his “process,” and, through some decent drafts and finally some luck, he is having the kind of success that Jerry Jones envisioned when Jones hired him away from the Miami Dolphins in 2007.

“I don’t know that anybody has had a better, brighter vision of Jason’s future than I do,” Jerry said after the Cowboys’ 31-21 win against the New York Giants on Sunday. “I’ve always thought he had the potential to be a serious consistent winning coach in the NFL and still think that.”

This is true. Jerry also thought Wade Phillips was a good hire.

Barring a catastrophic run of injuries, the Cowboys are reaching 10 wins, at least, and are going to make the playoffs. After that, all bets are off.

Jerry doesn’t like to talk about contract extensions, but he might as well slap Coach Process in the face with a deal right now.

In the nine times the Cowboys have started 6-1, they have made the playoffs.

Unlike the last time the Cowboys began the season 6-1, in 2007, this is a 6-1 you can trust.

This Cowboys team is much stronger, sturdier and better than the one seven years ago, partly because of the head coach.

Back in 2007, that team had the talent to be 6-1 but unfortunately was led by a coach who simply did not have it in him to keep it together.

Phillips was not in his element in that position, and the team eventually believed in its own greatness and came apart at the wrong time.

“You go through so many seasons I probably wouldn’t tell you what I felt like after Week 7 back then,” quarterback Tony Romo said. “It’s a new team. It’s different. I think we are playing the game a little bit different. I think I’m a little different, a little better — an understatement. I think we are just a different team but the record is obviously the same.”

This 2014 team is not as talented as that bunch, but it does have a man in charge better equipped to prepare his team for the grind, and for it to be professional in a world full of children.

You get the sense around this team that this is about work, which starts with its head coach.

The game against the New York Giants had all of the elements for an upset. The Cowboys were coming off an upset win in Seattle the previous week, and upsets routinely happen in the NFL.

This game was close, but at no point did it feel like the Cowboys were going to lose. Unlike some of Garrett’s other teams, this one never looks like it is on the edge of blowing a lead.

What is going on with the Cowboys happens every year in the NFL — a team no one saw coming makes the playoffs with a gaudy record that no one quite trusts. Last year it was the Panthers at 12-4. Two years ago, it was the Redskins.

The Cowboys own the best winning percentage in the NFL, and it is not the result of a weak schedule, a collection of fluky bounces or a turnover ratio that is unsustainable over 16 games.

This is a 6-1 you can trust.

“I’ve never been 6-1, so it feels amazing to me,” Cowboys safety Barry Church said. “For six straight games, it’s been enough. We are going to keep putting our heart into the game and hopefully our fans will trust that.”

The Jason Garrett plan might be the single longest play Jerry has ever had in his tenure as this team’s owner/GM/president. He did not want to see this one fail.

Had the Cowboys not made the playoffs this season, Jerry’s hands were going to be tied and he was going to be forced to find someone else.

After a 6-1 start, which should lead to the playoffs, it’s clear that the Process works. And it’s not going anywhere for a while.

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This story was originally published October 20, 2014 7:58 PM.

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