Head coaching in the NFL is very difficult to evaluate. Only coaches, players and front office members really know what’s going on within each organization. As fans, we only get to see a fraction of what head coaches do on game day. Play-calling and managing football games is far from being all the job requires, though. Some believe that a quick glance at the win-loss record is enough to say if a coach is good or bad, but it isn’t.
In a recent article, Bleacher Report writer Gary Davenport, wrote an article ranking the league’s 32 head coaches. Dallas Cowboys HC Jason Garrett ranked 12th. An interesting spot for the leader of America’s Team, no doubt. And of course, a controversial one. Some may think of Garrett’s spot on the list as too high, while others might think he’s actually low.
As is likely the case with most coaches, there are some important things to consider about him, both positive and negative. Of course, the fact that he’s been the head coach since 2011 and only has two playoff wins to his name doesn’t speak great of him. Specially considering that both of those wins have come in the Wild Card round.
The team’s lack of serious playoff success since January, 1996 still has Cowboys Nation demanding a return to glory.
Then again, how fair is it to judge Garrett’s work since 2011? Things have drastically changed since he first got the job. Since 2016, no NFC team has more regular season wins than the Cowboys. Dak Prescott’s second season in the NFL didn’t go out as planned for many reasons, including an Ezekiel Elliott suspension and a Tyron Smith injury. However, twice in the last three years, Dallas has taken the NFC East division title. Going as far back as 2014, they’ve done it three times over the last five seasons (it’s worth mentioning how bad 2015 went because of Tony Romo’s injuries).
I’m not trying to make any excuses for Garrett, but it’s simply impossible to deny the story line changes when you look at what has happened in recent years instead of his entire tenure in Dallas. It also has to do with the much better job done by the front office recently. Will McClay and Stephen Jones have done a tremendous job getting talent through the NFL Draft.
Garrett’s spot on the list depends, obviously, with the rest of the coaches in the league. Don’t forget that in the 2019 season we will see six rookie head coaches: Freddie Kitchens (Browns), Kliff Kingsbury (Cardinals), Brian Flores (Dolphins), Vic Fangio (Broncos), Matt LaFleur (Packers), and Zac Taylor (Bengals).
All of these guys have no head coaching experience in the NFL and therefore, it seems fair to see them all below Garrett. At least one of them might turn out to be great (my money would be on Kitchens and Fangio to have good careers), but they haven’t even spend a season at the wheel of a football team in the pros.
Looking at the top 11 coaches, I can’t help but agree in where Garrett is ranked at. Or at least, the range he is in. An argument could be made on him being worthy of being ahead of #11 Frank Reich (Colts) and #10 Matt Nagy (Bears), two coaches with little time as head coaches. Even still, what they achieved last year was impressive.
As for the coaches ranked below Garrett, I believe both Dan Quinn (Falcons) and Mike Zimmer (Vikings) could be deserving of a higher position on the list.
It really is a complicated debate. I for one, thought 12th was a bit high for Garrett at first. Upon further review, though, it doesn’t sound outrageous at all. Once you take a closer look at the entire list, it actually makes sense.
I only hope Jason Garrett proves worthy of being a top 15 coach and leads the talented Cowboys’ roster to February. Garrett, who is on a one-year contract at the moment has the opportunity to flip the narrative on his career and earn another extension.