IRVING, Texas -- An offseason isn’t complete without some kind of rankings. You see them for teams, quarterbacks and coaches.
Last week USA Today offered up its rankings of the NFL head coaches and Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett checked in at No. 21 overall. Last October, USA Today had Garrett at No. 15. The Cowboys were 2-3 at the time and would win only one game without Tony Romo as the starting quarterback to finish 4-12. So his reputation took quite a hit, especially after the 12-4 finish in 2015.
If you include Garrett’s 5-3 run as the interim head coach in 2010, he has a 45-43 record. He should be close to the middle of the pack.
The newest coaches in the division checked in at No. 30 (Doug Pederson of the Philadelphia Eagles) and No. 29 (Ben McAdoo of the New York Giants). Because they have never coached a game, their rankings should be relatively low.
Washington’s Jay Gruden was the highest-ranked NFC East coach at No. 17. Gruden gets the benefit of the doubt for the Redskins’ division title last year.
Garrett apparently gets no benefit of the doubt for having Romo for four games, Dez Bryant for nine games and Orlando Scandrick for no games.
Let’s just say this isn’t the same division when Tom Landry, Bill Parcells and Joe Gibbs were running the shows. (Quick aside: Don’t know how Chip Kelly comes in at No. 11 even if you excuse his ill-conceived roster.)
But Garrett has a chance to boost his stock this year, provided Romo, Bryant and Scandrick stay healthy. The Cowboys don’t view themselves as the typical 4-12 team, which can help Garrett and hurt him at the same time. Coming off a down year, teams generally don’t have such high expectations entering the following the season.
Normally the roster needs an overhaul, there isn’t a top-flight quarterback or there is a young quarterback growing into the position.
But that’s not the Cowboys. They view themselves as contenders, at least in the division, which technically makes them contenders in the playoffs.
If we are to believe these rankings, then there’s another reason Garrett can move up the list.
In the most-recent ESPN Power Rankings posted after the draft, the Cowboys checked in at No. 11. Washington was No. 16, followed by the Giants (No. 18) and Eagles (No. 22).