After being named NFL Coach of the Year last season, one NFL analyst believes Dallas Cowboys’ Jason Garrett is not a good coach.
Since being promoted as the Dallas Cowboys interim head coach midway through the 2010 NFL regular season, Jason Garrett has experienced several ups and downs while at the helm of America’s Team. Now, going into his seventh season, one question still remains: Is Garrett actually a good NFL head coach?
It’s a valid question. And it’s one that loomed much larger when Garrett was initially promoted from offensive coordinator to head coach nearly eight years ago. At the time, the longtime NFL back up quarterback never once held the position of head coach on any level of football.
And it appeared we had an answer to that question when Garrett led the Cowboys to three 8-8 seasons without a playoff appearances during his first full three years as Dallas’ head coach. But by all accounts, the Cowboys 12-4 season in 2014 saved the young coach’s job. After that successful season and his first playoff victory as a head coach, Garrett landed a five-year, $30 million contract extension.
Finally getting that big payday and some job security, Garrett promptly led the Cowboys to a 4-12 record in 2015 mainly due to two separate collarbone injuries suffered by then starting quarterback Tony Romo. Once again, questions about Jason’s coaching abilities arose.
Following the selection of a stunning draft class that included Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott and Mississippi State quarterback Dak Prescott, Garrett helmed a Cowboys team that went 13-3 through the regular season last year. He was even named 2016 NFL Coach of the Year.
Despite the success and accolades, the Cowboys fell flat in the divisional round of the playoffs, losing a heartbreaker to the Green Bay Packers 34-31.
Garrett’s inconsistent history and lack of playoff victories once again have the media debating whether the 51-year old has what it takes the be a good head coach. The latest to do so is former Super Bowl champion and San Francisco 49ers cornerback turned NFL analyst Eric Davis.
"“You need your coach to help you win a couple of games every year,” Davis said during an interview on FS1’s Speak for Yourself this week. “Jason Garrett is not a great coach. He went 12-4. He lost his quarterback, they went 4-12…When he got to the playoffs, when it comes down to coaching and X’s and O’s, what happened? They went out again. Jason Garrett is not a good coach.”"
I have to admit, during Garrett’s early years as the Cowboys head coach, it often felt like on-the-job training. But with over seven years now invested in his development, I’m not sure how you could give up on Jason anytime soon. In the last three seasons, the biggest bone of contention most seem to have with Garrett is that 4-12 season in 2015.
But many also give Garrett a pass for that flop due to Romo only being able to play four games that year, the Cowboys front office electing to bring in Matt Cassel, the misguided belief in Brandon Weeden and the fact Dallas refused to pay running back DeMarco Murray to stay in Big D that previous offseason.
Obviously, the lack of playoff wins is an issue. But that was a problem long before Garrett step foot in Dallas as a coach. By all accounts, Jason has been an excellent leader who preaches a consistent message. And that message has transformed the culture of this football team.
According to the numbers, Garrett has a career win/loss record of 58-46 (.558%) in the regular season as a head coach. That’s better than legendary Cowboys’ coach Jimmy Johnson (.556%).
Unfortunately for Jason Garrett, success in Dallas is measured by Super Bowl wins. Until he secures one or more of those, it’s likely Garrett will continue to face questions about his coaching abilities…or lack thereof.