What a catch-22 for newly minted Cowboys head coach (interim) Jason Garrett: If he does his job really well and delivers the tangible success Jerry Jones is asking for, he might actually cost the Cowboys a top draft pick.
The power ranking consensus this week gives the Cowboys the third pick in the 2011 draft. If Garrett were to exceed expectations, that pick could conceivably drop out of the the top ten. Not likely, but not unheard of either.
So what's your choice: Restore some dignity to this franchise by playing hard and winning a couple of the remaining games or hope for a high pick in the draft?
[Note: 20 of 20 power rankings that we regularly are now in.]
1. Major Media Networks & Affiliates
CBSSports.com: 29th (n.c.). "The move to Jason Garrett won't change their fate. It will be interesting to see if they at least try harder now."
National Football Post: 29th (-1). "Firing Wade Phillips is one way to hide the embarrassment of the Cowboys 2010 season."
NFL.com's Brain Trust of Experts: 30th (-1). Three cheers for Bucky Brooks, who is the only NFL.com panelist who found it in his heart to award the Cowboys the number one draft pick.
ESPN: 30th (-1). "This wasn't the way Jason Garrett envisioned becoming a head coach, taking over an underachieving team at midseason. (Clayton)"
Fox Sports: 30th (n.c.). "Pulling the plug on head coach Wade Phillips won't solve anything. Jason Garrett, who was named interim head coach, is part of the problem. His refusal to commit to the running game is one of the big reasons why the offense underachieved this season."
USAToday.com: 31th (-2).
[updated] SI.com: 32nd (n.c.). "Nothing like getting your dream job, huh, Jason Garrett? I'm guessing this isn't necessarily the way he envisioned the big promotion unfolding. No pressure or anything, but your entire future as a head coach in the NFL likely hinges on how Jon Kitna and the rest of the characters who quit on Wade Phillips respond to the final eight games of the season."
2. Blogs & Other Media
Weii.com: 30th (n.c.). "Many across the NFL say that firing a head coach mid-season is the wrong decision to make. However, in this given situation, it was totally necessary. It was obvious the Cowboys players had given up hope under ex-head coach Wade Phillips and a change had to be made. Dallas was playing with no energy, maybe Jason Garrett can get something going in Arlington."
ColdHardFootballFacts.com: 30th (-2). "Any particular reason secondary coach Dave Campo didn’t lose his job along with Wade Phillips? The Cowboys are dead last in Defensive Passer Rating at 109.1, which puts them on pace for the worst pass defense in NFL history. When Campo took over for the 2008 season, the Cowboys were coming off a No. 5 performance (75.1 DPR); they then slipped to 20th in 2008 (86.2), and 16th in 2009 (83.5) despite a devastating front seven."
SB Nation.com: 31st (-1). "Wow. Just wow. The Cowboys are the biggest surprise of the year. You don't fire your coach without earning your way to the second to last ranking."
ProFootballTalk.com: 32nd (-1). "Jerry Jones' decision to fire a head coach during the season proves once again that, whenever someone in the media points to the fact that something has never happened as conclusive proof that it never will, ignore them."
Fanhouse.com: 32nd (n.c.). "Wade Phillips is out, Jason Garrett is in, and the Cowboys are done being relevant until at least the 2011 NFL Draft. It'll be interesting to see how Dallas responds to the coaching change, but it's about all that's worth watching here."
3. Statistics, Computer & Vegas rankings
[updated] AdvancedNFLstats: 21st (-5). Offense ranked No. 9 (n.c.), Defense ranked No. 26 (+2). This ranking model includes offensive and defensive passing and running efficiency, offensive turnover rates, defensive interception rates, and team penalty rates.
FootballOutsiders.com: 27th (n.c.). Offense ranked No. 22 (-4), Defense No. 28 (n.c.), Special Teams No. 21 (-5).
Jeff Sagarin's NFL rankings: 30th (-1). These are rankings based on W/L record, points differential and schedule strength.
Covers.com: 30th (-1). "Dallas hit a new low after getting embarrassed on national television at Green Bay. Head coach Wade Philips was finally fired and now the players are playing for their own jobs."
WhatIFsports: 30th (-5). These guys simulate every possible match-up in the NFL 100 times, and use the winning percentages from those nearly 50,000 games to evaluate every team, with updated rosters and depth charts.
Betus.com: 31st (-1). "I know Wade Phillips was the head coach and all, but doesn’t some of the blame reside with Tony Romo as well? What has he proven in his career aside from blowing playoff games? Next Game: Dallas vs. New York Giants -13.5"
It's all divisional games this week in the East. The Cowboys face the Giants on Sunday, while the the Eagles and Redskins go at it on Monday. Here's how the NFC East fared, plus what draft pick the rankings translate to for the Cowboys: