The LA Chargers sent in an interview request for Giants offensive coordinator Jason Garrett. What’s the deal here?
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) January 5, 2021
Garrett is a weird name, to say the least. There was very little head coaching buzz on him prior to the coaching cycle kicking off. After many years as the Cowboys’ head coach, Garrett was the offensive coordinator of the Giants this season.
How did he do as the coordinator of the Giants? Not well. New York ranked 31st in points per game and 31st in yards per game. The only team below the Giants in these two categories was the Jets. In 2019, the Giants ranked 19th in points per game and 23rd in yards per game. That’s a pretty steep statistical drop-off.
In fairness to Garrett, it wasn’t an easy year for the Giants from an injury standpoint. Daniel Jones missed a few games while playing through injury for most of the season. The biggest loss was star running back Saquon Barkley, who tore his ACL in Week 2 against Chicago.
That being said, there weren’t any other major injuries on the offensive side of the ball. Plus, Barkley wasn’t even being used efficiently prior to getting hurt. In the first game against the Steelers, Barkley racked up six yards on 15 carries. On a total of 19 carries, he would finish with 1.8 yards per rush.
The Giants will likely keep him and give him another year to develop the offense. It’s hard to say Garrett is a bad coordinator based on one season, but this certainly wasn’t a season that should’ve driven coaching buzz for him.
So, what gives? Why are the Chargers interviewing a failed head coach who hasn’t even done well in his coordinator rehabilitation? The Athletic’s Daniel Popper has an idea:
Since I'm getting a lot of questions/comments about this: I'm guessing the only reason the #Chargers requested to interview Jason Garrett is because they play the Giants next year and this is a legal way to glean pertinent information off an opponent.
— Daniel Popper (@danielrpopper) January 5, 2021
Some may scoff at the idea of interviewing a coordinator just to get information on future opponents, but it could be smart. The Chargers have a tough schedule next year and absolutely have to win the winnable NFC East games.
Garrett was also the coach of the Cowboys, who aren’t all that different from when he was there. Kellen Moore is still the offensive coordinator on Mike McCarthy’s staff while the key players of the Dak/Zeke era are also present.
Some in the media will point to Garrett’s coaching record with Dallas as evidence of him being a good coach. While he never truly bottomed out in terms of his record, there was a lot of underachieving in Dallas.
Going 8-8 with some loaded teams that had the potential to go 11-5 or 12-4 is part of the problem here. This is especially true for the Dak/Zeke years with great offensive line play. The team peaked in their first season as 13-3 and then never surpassed 10-6. The NFC East wasn’t as bad as it was now, but it was not a terribly hard gauntlet to run either.
Personally, I doubt that Garrett is a realistic coaching hire. The Chargers have been rumored to want a big name like Brian Daboll or Urban Meyer. Garrett is basically just another version of Anthony Lynn.
He is a decent game manager that’s well-liked enough, but he’s not going to be the difference between winning and losing football games. If the LA Chargers really wanted a guy like Garrett, my intuition says they would’ve stuck with Lynn for another year.