Choosing and hiring assistant coaches: B
This is an area where Garrett really does seem to have improved, especially with the hiring of receivers coach Sanjay Lal, offensive line coach, Marc Colombo and secondary coach/passing game coordinator Kris Richard.
In each of these cases, an improvement was made by bringing in a coach that seems to have strengthened the team. The most dramatic example is probably bringing in Richard as defensive backs coach and passing game coordinator last year, who immediately moved Byron Jones from safety to cornerback, and turned the fourth-year player into a Pro Bowler for the first time in his career.
Garrett did stick with offensive coordinator Scott Linehan for too long, but that’s been remedied. His hiring of Kellen Moore is the next big test. Moore is being hailed as the next big offensive genius. That judgment is a little premature if you ask me, but I guess we’ll find out either way. It appears Garrett is betting his job on this choice.
Overall strategy for both offense and defense: C
Garrett’s strategic prowess is a little hard to judge because a lot of this has to do with the quality of the team’s players and assistant coaches. But I think we can all agree that Garrett has never been known as either an offensive or defensive genius. Sure, the defense got a lot better last year with the addition of Richard, but Garrett had little to do with that, other than hiring the man. Beyond that change, defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli has run the show.
As for the offense, Garrett started out as the Cowboys’ signal-caller, and he really did run the offense until Linehan was hired. For all that time, although the Cowboys offense has been pretty good, it was never exactly award-winning. And for the last few years, the offense has been bland as day. I think giving Garrett a C for strategy is pretty charitable. He’s average at best.