Dallas Cowboys: Jason Garrett, Coach of the Year

Dec 11, 2016; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett during warm ups prior to the game against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 11, 2016; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett during warm ups prior to the game against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports /

The Dallas Cowboys are 13-2, NFC East Champs, have home field advantage, and have two rookies fighting for MVP honors. One more award should be coming,  Jason Garrett as COY.

If you read my articles on a regular basis, you know I’m not the biggest Jason Garrett fan. I have repeatedly questioned his coaching acumen, especially last season.

Garrett made me so mad last season with his coaching decisions and lack of in game adjustments, that my blood pressure rose to all-time high levels. For Garrett not to muster more than four wins was beyond pathetic.

But that was last year. And if I’m going to rip Garrett for a lousy record, then I need to credit him for a winning record, too.

That’s why Jason Garrett deserves to be the NFL Coach of the Year. Period. End of discussion. There is no coach more deserving of this award than Garrett.

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick can’t win this award, not because his teams constantly win 12 or more games a year with Tom Brady at the helm.

Here are two reasons why Garrett deserves to be COY.

Rookie quarterback

Before the season started, the Cowboys witnessed the outstanding play of rookie signal caller Dak Prescott. The rookie performed beyond expectations and secured himself as the Cowboys’ primary backup quarterback to incumbent Tony Romo.

Because of disastrous  backup quarterback play in 2015, Dallas saw Dak as a blessing if Romo were to fall victim to injury. True to form, Romo broke his lower vertebra in a preseason game against the Seattle Seahawks.

Romo was expected to miss anywhere from to 8-10 weeks of action because of his injury, his third in less than a year.

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Forced to start a rookie QB to begin the season, the Cowboys were expected to finish last in the NFC East and basically repeat their record from the previous season. All of the critics saw Dak as a preseason superstar, not a regular season Pro Bowler.

It’s safe to say most felt that way, including Cowboys Nation.

The only people who believed in Dak were Garrett and offensive coordinator Scott Linehan.

From the very beginning, Garrett and Linehan played to Dak’s strengths, and called plays that expounded on that. Whether is was a read option or throwing short passes, Garrett made sure Dak utilized it.

Further, they trusted Dak to use his high quarterback IQ to make smart plays.

Although the Cowboys lost their first game of the season 20-19 to their division rival, the New York Giants, Dak proved he could play.

Each and every game, Garrett had to play with a rookie who was facing legit defenses, not the vanilla types he played against in preseason.

Not only was Garrett playing with a rookie signal caller, the head coach was playing with a mediocre defense that was missing two of their top pass rushers in DeMarcus Lawrence and Randy Gregory (Both of them were serving suspensions).

So not only did Garrett have to lean on rookie as his field general, he had to make sure the defense didn’t give up a bunch of points. If the defense gave up tons of points, then Dak would be forced to throw the ball 45-50 times a game and risk interceptions.

Imagine what Garrett had to deal with on a weekly basis: wondering if Dak would perform like a rookie and if the defense would go asunder. Those are two nightmarish things for any coach to deal with.

But Garrett found a way to make it work with Dak.  And with every game, you saw Dak get better and better. From Dak’s pocket awareness to his pre-snap reads, the talented QB played more like a veteran.

Dak even broke Brady’s record of most passes attempted without throwing an interception to start a career (176). Although Dak deserves the bulk of credit for that record, Garrett deserves credit for putting Dak in the best situations possible.

I’m very aware that Linehan played a role in this, too, but Garrett definitely had a hand in this process.

The critics can point to Dallas’ running game as another benefit to this team’s success. However, with a rookie signal caller at the helm, its hard to win in this NFL. Garrett oversaw Dallas win 11 consecutive games, a franchise record.

Not even the great legendary head coach Tom Landry won 11 straight games in a single season.

Garrett has coached this team with a rookie, but he had to do it with some drama, too.

Jerry Jones and the drama he creates

 Another reason Garrett deserves COY is because of the controversy that loomed over this team like a never-ending tornado. With every bad pass, snap, interception or bad game by Dak, the talk of Romo coming back as the starter was constant news.

The main culprit behind this thunderstorm of controversy was Jerry Jones, the hype-machine personified owner. Yes, the media played a part, but Jones was the maestro directing the media.

Jones has said the Cowboys could replace Dak and go back to Romo. That ludicrous statement was made before the Tampa Bay game.

Mr. Jerrah says ” he feeds the quarterback controversy on the team because it creates a dramatic storyline, even if it may distract some of the players”.

Not only has Garrett had to stand up and constantly say Dak was the starter, but he had to keep this team focused from Jones’ nonsense of drama.

What if Dak had a mental melt down because of the threat of Romo taking his place? Or how about the team taking sides for their preferred quarterback?

This is what Garrett has had to deal with all season long, despite coaching the Cowboys to 13 victories. In fact, Garrett will join a short list of head coaches to lead a team to a 10- game turn around from the previous season.

It’s no secret that Jones loves himself some Romo — seen sitting beside Tony at his grandson’s state championship football game.

With a meddlesome owner always creating drama, that’s a feat in itself.

Next: Dallas Cowboys: Why It Would It Be Crazy to Play Tony Romo in Week 17

So Garrett had to deal with a rookie QB, a mediocre defense, a drama queen owner, and being the head coach of America’s Team to start the season.

He deserves a lot of recognition for climbing that troublesome mountain.

Like being named NFL Coach of the Year.