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Jason Garrett dropped on NFL.com’s power rankings of head coaches

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Where does Red Ball fall within the NFL in your opinion?

NFL: Combine Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

A year ago at this time the Dallas Cowboys were coming off of an impressive campaign led by head coach Jason Garrett.

This campaign was, in fact, so impressive, that he took home the league’s annual Coach of the Year honors for the first time in his career (his sixth full season with the team). When it came time for NFL.com to power rank their head coaches last year, it made little impact. You’ll recall:

I’m not going to sit here and say that Jason Garrett is the greatest coach ever or anything because that simply isn’t true; however, saying he’s the 13th best head coach in the game does seem a little farfetched.

That’s right, Jason Garrett came in 13th on last year’s power rankings. It wasn’t this specific ranking that was so wild, it was the coaches in front of him. For example coming in right ahead of Jason Garrett was (at the time) Chicago’s John Fox.

Now to be totally fair here, eight of the 12 coaches power-ranked ahead of Jason Garrett made the playoffs:

Save John Fox the only coaches ranked ahead of Garrett last year were Bruce Arians (who I’ve always felt was overrated personally, but he retired this offseason), John Harbaugh (many have said it’s time for Baltimore to move on), and Pete Carroll (the Seahawks narrowly missed the playoffs, but they beat Dallas in what was effectively a playoff game).

Winning 2016’s COTY has been used as a pillar in Garrett’s defense, but of course awards don’t tell the whole story and they certainly don’t predict the future. Dallas experienced a tumultuous up-and-down season in 2017 and sputtered to a 9-7 record that left them at home come playoff time.

The 2018 version of NFL.com’s power rankings reflect the Cowboys missteps last season, although Jason Garrett didn’t fall too far. He comes in at 15th this year, with a similar list in front of him. From 15th through 1st:

  • Jason Garrett, Dallas Cowboys (15th)
  • Doug Marrone, Jacksonville Jaguars (14th)
  • Sean McVay, Los Angeles Rams (13th)
  • Ron Rivera, Carolina Panthers (12th)
  • Dan Quinn, Atlanta Falcons (11th)
  • Mike Zimmer, Minnesota Vikings (10th)
  • Jon Gruden, Oakland Raiders (9th)
  • Doug Pederson, Philadelphia Eagles (8th)
  • Andy Reid, Kansas City Chiefs (7th)
  • Mike McCarthy, Green Bay Packers (6th)
  • John Harbaugh, Baltimore Ravens (5th)
  • Mike Tomlin, Pittsburgh Steelers (4th)
  • Pete Carroll, Seattle Seahawks (3rd)
  • Sean Payton, New Orleans Saints (2nd)
  • Bill Belichick, New England Patriots (1st)

A few things stick out. First of all you’ll quickly notice that Sean McVay, who won COTY in 2017, followed in Garrett’s footsteps from a year ago and found himself in that #13 slot as a result. That’s interesting.

Doug Pederson showed what a brilliant mind he has by defeating the top-ranked coach in Super Bowl LII. Those are some big names in front of him, save for maybe Mike McCarthy, but it’s still jarring to see the reigning champion so low.

Speaking of Mike McCarthy, he only fell three spots (third to sixth) despite showing a complete inability to win football games without Aaron Rodgers. Fans everywhere chastised Jason Garrett (rightfully so) when the Cowboys were, what’s the word, lethargic without Tony Romo... Mike McCarthy should have to answer for his team’s stagnation.

Finally, Jon Gruden comes back into coaching after a ten-year absence, makes a bunch of questionable offseason moves, and is ranked 9th? 9th?! I don’t get it.

These two years are interesting sample sizes in proving that Jason Garrett is sort of right in the middle of the pack when it comes to head coaches. Hopefully he climbs the ladder a bit more this season.