The Dallas Cowboys Star brings with it some lofty expectations. Just ask the recently retired Tony Romo. The man literally broke his back in the name of America's Team, and some people remain unsatisfied. The latest act of disrespect concerning a Dallas Cowboys quarterback is a former one, who serves as the team's Head Coach. Jason Garrett is being disrespected by the national media, and it's not even being done intelligently.
Pete Prisco of CBS is a fantastic NFL analyst. He's been in the game for a long time and has accomplished a lot throughout his career. On Wednesday Mr. Prisco decided to rank every Head Coach across the National Football League, and where he slotted Jason Garrett is questionable at best.
Before I reveal what can only be logically explained as an accident, let me remind you that Jason Garrett won Coach of the Year. This is literally an award that is given to what the voters, educated folks presumably, believe is the best coach in football for that particular season.
The Apparent Top Half Of Coaches In The NFL
Here's how Pete Prisco thinks the top half of NFL coaches shakes out:
- Bill Belichick, New England Patriots.
- Mike McCarthy, Green Bay Packers.
- Andy Reid, Kansas City Chiefs.
- Pete Carroll, Seattle Seahawks.
- Mike Tomlin, Pittsburgh Steelers.
- Sean Payton, New Orleans Saints.
- John Harbaugh, Baltimore Ravens.
- Adam Gase, Miami Dolphins.
- Bruce Arians, Arizona Cardinals.
- Bill O'Brien, Houston Texans.
- Chuck Pagano, Indianapolis Colts.
- Dan Quinn, Atlanta Falcons.
- Mike Zimmer, Minnesota Vikings.
- John Fox, Chicago Bears.
- Marvin Lewis, Cincinnati Bengals.
- Ron Rivera, Carolina Panthers.
You'll notice, you of high perception, that this is the Top 16 coaches in the NFL (through the eyes of CBS' Pete Prisco). 16 out of 32 is half, for those of you keeping score at home. You'll also notice that Jason Garrett - 2016 NFL Coach of the Year - is absent from this list. Yes, seriously.
What... on... earth... how... is... this... possible???
I'm not going to sit here and tell you that Jason Garrett is better than Bill Belichick, because I'm not insanely stupid (leaving Jason Garrett out of the top half is this same type of stupidity, though). I'm also not going to sit here and tell you that he's better than Mike McCarthy, Andy Reid, Pete Carroll, Mike Tomlin, Sean Payton (it's closer than people think, though), or John Harbaugh.
Jason Garrett is not the best coach in the NFL. He's not even a top seven coach in the NFL by our own admission here. But if you're going to sit here and tell me that Adam Gase, current day John Fox, almost-fired Chuck Pagano, and Mike Zimmer are better than Jason Garrett than I'm going to think that you wrote this with your feet.
Jason Garrett's Last Three Years Are Unparalleled
In 2014 Jason Garrett led the Dallas Cowboys to a 12-4 record with a quarterback (Tony Romo) who challenged for the league's Most Valuable Player Award and a running back (DeMarco Murray) that led the league in rushing.
In 2016 Jason Garrett led the Dallas Cowboys to a 13-3 record with a quarterback (you know, a rookie named Dak Prescott) who challenged for the league's Most Valuable Player Award and a running back (Ezekiel Elliott... also a rookie, no big deal) that led the league in rushing.
Jason Garrett did that in a span of three seasons! That's unreal! ADAM GASE?! SERIOUSLY?
This doesn't need to turn into a slight against other Head Coaches, because I like Adam Gase and Chuck Pagano. But I also have a brain, and it cannot comprehend the notion that anyone could possibly read Jason Garrett's resume and put him below either one of them or a handful of others.
Where Should Jason Garrett Rank Among NFL Head Coaches?
Jason Garrett has, through six seasons, only finished with a below .500 record once. Once! One is also the same amount of seasons that Adam Gase has been a Head Coach!
An argument can be made for Atlanta's Dan Quinn, Arizona's Bruce Arians, Carolina's Ron Rivera, and perhaps Cincinnati's Marvin Lewis to rightfully (and more importantly, logically) be ahead of Jason Garrett. This means that Jason Garrett is hovering right around the Top 10 mark across NFL Head Coaches, and he's certainly without a doubt part of the top half.
Apparently going 13-3 after losing your starting quarterback, left tackle, left guard, wide receiver, middle linebacker, cornerback, and a whole lot of other obstacles isn't enough to warrant top half consideration among your peers. Maybe if you do it with rookies you can... oh wait. This isn't even disrespect towards Jason Garrett, this is a flat out inability to measure things objectively against one another. Adam Gase!
LB Justin Phillips Making a Case to Become a Roster Lock With Cowboys
In Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch, the Dallas Cowboys arguably have the best linebacker duo in the entire NFL. They also have some pretty solid backups in Sean Lee and Joe Thomas, but the depth behind those four is completely up in the air. That is excellent news for an undrafted LB like Justin Phillips.
The former Oklahoma State Cowboy LB signed with the Dallas Cowboys as an undrafted free agent after the completion of the 2019 NFL Draft. To go from being an Oklahoma State Cowboy to a Dallas Cowboy must've been a dream come true, especially for a kid from Pearland, Texas who rooted for America's Team growing up. The dream probably won't be complete though unless a roster spot comes with it.
Surprisingly, Justin Phillips has put himself into contention to earn one of those coveted roster spots. The way he has played in the first two preseason games has caught the attention of quite a few people, which should make it extremely difficult for the Cowboys coaching staff when it comes to making roster cut decisions. Dallas Cowboys Staff Writer and former Scout Bryan Broaddus agrees…
"Justin Phillips is going to make it hard on this staff to put him on the street. Not only is his finish impressive, but the awareness he plays with in pass coverage is impressive. There is no way I thought he had a chance for that interception, especially with this initial step into the line, but his ability to turn and run to a spot saved him."
Here is the play/interception Broaddus is referring to:
The Dallas Cowboys have typically only carried six linebackers on their 53-man roster these past few years. With four spots already spoken for, Justin Phillips is doing his damnedest to lock down one of those final two up for grabs. That, of course, is easier said than done.
Phillips is likely competing with Justin March-Lillard, who led the team in tackles against the Los Angeles Rams last week and fellow undrafted rookie LB Luke Gifford. Gifford, of course, missed the game against the Rams with an ankle injury he sustained in Week 1 of the preseason against the 49ers. It was actually that injury that resulted in more playing time for Justin Phillips.
If you're doing the math here, that's three linebackers competing for two roster spots. March-Lillard probably has the upper hand right now over the two rookies, but I wouldn't say he's secured a job just yet. That leaves the door open for No. 44 (Phillips) and No. 57 (Gifford).
As much as I like Luke Gifford, and I do, I think the stars could be aligning for Justin Phillips to make it through roster cuts. He's playing really well right now, while all Gifford can do is watch from the sideline until he can get back on the field. Regardless though, it's a position battle worth keeping an eye on.
Do you think LB Justin Phillips has done enough to secure a roster spot?
How Kris Richard May Help CB Michael Jackson Make Cowboys Roster
Cornerback Michael Jackson, one of the Dallas Cowboys' 5th-round picks in the 2019 NFL Draft, has not been standing out so far in training camp or preseason. But despite the slow start, the influence of Defensive Backs Coach Kris Richard could help keep Jackson on the 53-man roster this year.
While no team likes parting with their drafted rookies, it certainly happens. That's especially true for Day 3 players, even 5th rounders, and particularly when a team is as deep with talent right now as the 2019 Cowboys.
The cornerback position is one of Dallas' most loaded. They go four-deep with starting talent in Byron Jones, Chidobe Awuzie, Anthony Brown, and Jourdan Lewis, which leaves just one or two roster spots for the remaining prospects.
Michael Jackson is in competition with veteran C.J. Goodwin and the intriguing Donovan Olumba. Both were with the team last year; Goodwin was a special teams contributor and Olumba was a valuable developmental asset on the practice squad.
So far this preseason, we've seen Goodwin shining on special teams and Olumba making plays at cornerback. Jackson hasn't stood out, unless you count jokes about thin he looks on the field.
In contrast, fellow 5th-round rookie Joe Jackson has been showing up at defensive end. Even if there were no suspension concerns with Robert Quinn and Randy Gregory, Joe Jackson has made himself very difficult to cut.
But despite not having that same momentum or energy around him yet, Michael Jackson may still find his way onto the 53-man roster. And that may have something to do with his position coach.
Since arriving in Dallas during the 2018 offseason, Kris Richard has quickly gained prominence beyond just his official role as the Defensive Backs Coach. He was working as the defensive play-caller last year and is expected to take over fully in 2020, assuming Rod Marinelli retires and Richard doesn't leave for a head coaching opportunity.
When Dallas selected Michael Jackson in the last draft, Jackson became the first cornerback or safety drafted by the Cowboys since Richard arrived. Given that it happened this year, with Richard's influence clearly high on the defense, one would assume that Kris had a big say in the decision to draft Jackson.
No, Richard certainly can't veto any decision made by the Joneses, Will McClay, Jason Garrett, or even Marinelli when it comes to roster management. But if he has any bias towards Jackson as his first draft pick in Dallas, Kris may fight for the rookie more than someone else.
We're all human; agendas come into play. Kris Richard may be more passionate about seeing Michael Jackson succeeding for a variety of reasons. He may pound the table for the team to keep Jackson louder than anyone else in the room.
That doesn't necessarily mean keeping Jackson over some other cornerback, either. The argument could be to go long at CB at the expense of another position; maybe only keeing two quarterbacks or eight offensive linemen to free up a roster spot.
This is purely speculative, of course. For all we know, Richard could be the first one who loses faith and votes to let Jackson go.
But given the situation and all factors involved, it's more likely that Kris Richard will be invested in seeing Michael Jackson succeed and sticking with the Cowboys in 2019. Hopefully, it's in the best interest of the team overall.
DL Kerry Hyder Impressive In Cowboys Week 2 Preseason Win
Kerry Hyder joined the Cowboys this offseason on a one year deal, and while the four-year NFL veteran has put up some solid tape in his time around the league, it was hard to project just what he could bring to the Cowboys defense.
Listed at 6'2" 270 pounds, Hyder is a bit of a tweener on the defensive line. Though the answer to "will he play tackle or end" seems to be "both" to this point in the preseason.
As he fights for his life on this deep defensive line, Kerry Hyder had himself a day in the Cowboys 14-10 victory over the Rams last weekend.
Hyder made an excellent play defending a screen pass in the first quarter, reading the play perfectly and reacting quickly to running back Darrell Henderson coming out of the backfield. Hyder also created some pressure on the quarterback, and finished with 3 combined tackles in very limited playing time.
Hyder's versatility is working well for him as he looks to make the final roster. Like a Tyrone Crawford type player, Hyder will be able to move inside and out depending on the situation. This allows the Cowboys to be flexible in how they structure their depth chart on defense, and in how they decide to rush the passer on third down.
A pass rushing package involving Robert Quinn and DeMarcus Lawrence on the edge with the combination of Hyder and Maliek Collins on the inside could turn out to be a very dangerous one for opposing offenses to deal with.
Rod Marinelli spoke to this versatility a couple of months ago, showing just how much he values what Kerry Hyder can bring to this team.
"Maybe you adjust him sometime, once in a while – in a one-on-one pass rush situation, stick him over a guard and start to get a feel for it.” - Rod Marinelli
Earlier this offseason, I wrote that Kerry Hyder could end up being Rod Marinelli's next great under-the-radar find on the defensive line. And if he continues to play with the hustle and awareness that he had on Saturday, he's going to make Rod look very smart in his evaluation.
Kerry Hyder is making it very difficult for the front office to let him go. And, at the end of the preseason, I do expect Kerry Hyder to find himself on the Cowboys' active roster. Especially considering how Mike White is playing at quarterback, and how his release could open up an extra spot at a different position group.
Dallas Cowboys1 week ago
Zeke Holdout: Remember, Owners Agreed to Renegotiating Contracts
Dallas Cowboys3 days ago
Michael Gallup Showing WR1 Talent in Amari Cooper’s Absence
Dallas Cowboys1 week ago
5 Dallas Cowboys Backups Who Have Earned More Playing Time
Dallas Cowboys7 days ago
Dallas Cowboys Defensive Line Looking Absolutely Stacked
Game Notes1 week ago
3 Studs and Duds From Dallas Cowboys Preseason Week 1 Matchup
Dallas Cowboys1 week ago
Dallas Cowboys 2019 Roster Projection: Preseason Week 2
Dallas Cowboys2 weeks ago
Cowboys DT Christian Covington is a Player to Keep an Eye On
Game Notes2 weeks ago
Cowboys WR Jon’Vea Johnson’s Stock Drops After Preseason Opener