Could Tom Coughlin do better than Jason Garrett in Dallas?
Coughlin has what it takes
There's no doubt he'd get the Cowboys in the Super Bowl before Jason Garrett could.
That's because Coughlin learned the formula from Bill Parcells when he was the wide receivers coach for the Giants -- and he's successfully implemented it everywhere he's gone.
While Garrett has been an NFL coach at a handful of levels for just eight seasons, Coughlin has seven seasons with 10 wins or more as a head coach.
He does it by demanding discipline -- you're considered late if you're five minutes early -- and toughness from his players. He believes in building strong offensive and defensive lines, and he doesn't mind personal confrontation or public accountability.
Coughlin took Jacksonville, an expansion team, and guided the Jaguars to an 11-5 record in their third season. In their fifth season, the Jaguars went 14-2.
And when New York hired him, Coughlin needed just two seasons to reach 11 wins with the Giants, who typically play their best football late in the season.
Coughlin would get the players on this Dallas team to maximize their talent, in part because he demands a disciplined approach. Parcells taught him about situational football, and he's adept at making sure his team plays with the proper disposition each week.
In the past, his message had grown stale because he's so demanding of the players. But when his players talk about him now, they mention how he's softened just a little.
He maintains his edge, but he's not always so critical. He allows them a little less than perfection on occasion. You don't win two Super Bowls by accident, and you don't last 17 years in the NFL as a head coach without doing a terrific job.
Garrett is learning how to be a good head coach; Coughlin has been one for more than a decade.
Cowboys' front office is problem
Sometimes it's not about the coach. It's about the players.
I just think the team Tom Coughlin has in the New York Giants is mentally tougher than Jason Garrett's Dallas Cowboys. The Giants' players don't get caught up in what the media or the fans say. They just play. They have the talent to perform, too, so that helps.
The problem with this Cowboys team -- and previous ones -- is the inability of the front office to acquire talent capable of pushing the team into the playoffs on a consistent basis. When you don't have the players, it doesn't matter who is coaching.
The Cowboys' selections in the 2008 NFL draft serve as an example. Mike Jenkins and Felix Jones were first-round picks that year, and you can bet that neither will be back with the Cowboys in 2013. Jones is a backup player and hasn't proved on a consistent basis that he can start for a full 16-game season. Jenkins is a good player who should start in this league, but he's been replaced by Morris Claiborne and Brandon Carr.
The Cowboys make too many mistakes on draft day. We're not saying the Giants don't, but if you look at the personnel moves of Jerry Reese and compare them to Jerry Jones' decisions over the past few years, you have more confidence Reese knows what he's doing.
Meanwhile, the Cowboys' questionable decisions on draft day hamper the ability of the coach to get things moving in the right direction.
And how many Cowboys players would be able to deal with Coughlin's in-your-face style? I couldn't see that happening. Coughlin wears his emotions on his sleeve, and you saw that during the blowup with Ahmad Bradshaw last week. Think that goes over well in Dallas? Doubtful.
Coughlin has won two Super Bowls. He should get credit for that, but it's the players who win those games. He couldn't do that here.
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