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Has Rest of NFL Caught Up With Jason Garrett? Does It Matter?

Dec 18, 2008 – 6:00 PM
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Ryan Wilson

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Eleven months ago, the Ravens were looking for somebody to replace Brian Billick, and were very interested in Cowboys offensive coordinator Jason Garrett. The feeling wasn't mutual. Garrett would leave his Baltimore interview without signing a contract, and eventually, Jerry Jones would pay him as much to handle the offense as he was paying Wade Phillips to coach the team.

As a neutral observer, it was hard to fault Garrett; the Ravens were coming off a five-win season and the inmates were definitely running the asylum. And there was a good chance he'd be running things in Dallas in 2009.

Now, though, Garrett looks like he may have been too smart for his own good. John Harbaugh is in the running for Coach of the Year, having led the Ravens to a 9-5 record with two weeks to go, and Garrett has coordinated up an offense that has looked one-dimensional and ineffective, and that's discounting the forgettable month of Brad and Brooks.

During a Wednesday conference call in preparation for, as fate would have it, the Ravens-Cowboys game, NFL Network's Marshall Faulk pointed out that the Dallas media has been too soft on Garrett and too tough on defensive coordinator Brian Stewart.

As to the former, the Dallas Morning News' Tim MacMahon wonders if the NFL has caught up to Garrett.
"It happened in Washington with Gregg Williams," ... Faulk said, referring to the former Redskins head coach-in-waiting who didn't get the job when it came open. "[Garrett] has to be careful it doesn't happen to him. When you sit behind a coach and wait for the perfect opportunity instead of taking the one available, it can come back to haunt you."

Faulk said he couldn't blame Garrett for passing up the Baltimore opening for the "dream job" of eventually coaching the Cowboys, but he wondered whether the league has caught up to Garrett during his second season as a play-caller.
Faulk's co-worker, the unfailingly objective Deion Sanders, was, well, not very objective: "Last year at this time, he was one of the hottest tickets in the NFL ... Everybody wanted a piece of him. Everybody wanted to talk to him. I don't hear that now. I hear, 'What's been going on with the Cowboys' offense?'"

But unlike, say, Gregg Williams, Garrett will have a job in a few weeks. And there's a good chance he'll be a head coach in a few months.
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