By HCR Staff | Aug. 20, 2018
Between now and the start of the 2018 season, Head Coach Ranking will provide a scouting report on all 32 NFL head coaches. Today, we’ll take a look at Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett.
In some respects, Jason Garrett has the toughest head coaching job in the NFL. Not only are the Cowboys one of the league’s most visible franchises, Garrett’s owner is Jerry Jones and his GM also is Jerry Jones.
Meaning Garrett has to spend time coaching his team and time managing the most hands-on owner in the league. Cowboys fans may feel Garrett has underachieved, but hopefully they understand that Garrett has to deal with issues that no other head coach could even imagine.
Consider this: Jones talks to the media frequently, meaning he is making headlines frequently. And oftentimes, Garrett must spend time and energy with the media simply to address any confusion Jones might have caused.
That’s a lot of time and energy Garrett is spending away from his team.
Garrett’s teams typically play hard, but consistency has been an issue. The effort always is there — the players seem to like playing for Garrett — but there are times where the players seem to lack discipline.
Again, Garrett sometimes is dealt a tough hand by his GM/owner. There are players Jones is fond of, but many of these players also may require a higher degree of maintenance, and this problem gets dropped in Garrett’s lap. Contrast this with Bill Belichick’s situation — he gets to handpick every player on his roster. The opposite is true for Garrett.
Last season, our research showed that Garrett and his staff put the Cowboys into position to win often; a new statistical metric we will soon introduce ranks the Cowboys alongside most 2017 playoff teams.
But the Cowboys didn’t win quite often enough to make the playoffs themselves. And that’s the knock on Garrett: is he really a guy who can get you to a Super Bowl?
We feel he can, but he must be more mindful of some of his in-game judgments. Garrett can improve his clock management, for example. The end-of-game scenario in last season’s critical Packers game was difficult to watch — we felt Garrett could have run some more time off the clock in an effort to close out the crucial late-season game.
Garrett and his staff deserve much credit for bringing along young players such as Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott, Zack Martin and L’ael Collins. Garrett and DC Rod Marinelli also are improving the defense; we expect the 2018 Cowboys defense to be very effective (as long as LB Sean Lee stays healthy).
While Garrett has done a nice job in spurts, it’s only in spurts. Having said that, perhaps no coach could expect to win on a sustained basis in Dallas. The environment really does bring extra distractions that simply don’t exist elsewhere.
The Cowboys have many star players coming into their primes. Winning and winning big is expected. Garrett is capable, his recent Coach of the Year award is testament to that. But doubt exists about him. We’ll see if 2018 is the year Garrett firmly establishes himself as a winning head coach.
Previous HC Previews:
Pete Carroll, Seattle Seahawks
Sean McVay, Los Angeles Rams
Kyle Shanahan, San Francisco 49ers
Steve Wilks, Arizona Cardinals
Mike McCarthy, Green Bay Packers
Mike Zimmer, Minnesota Vikings
Matt Patricia, Detroit Lions
Matt Nagy, Chicago Bears
Dirk Koetter, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Sean Payton, New Orleans Saints
Dan Quinn, Atlanta Falcons
Ron Rivera, Carolina Panthers
Jay Gruden, Washington Redskins