NFL Coach of the Year race: Jason Garrett leads, Bill Belichick looms

In his six-plus seasons as head coach of the Dallas Cowboys, Jason Garrett has been called a lot of things. Overmatched. Unqualified. A Jerry Jones “puppet.”

But the way this Cowboys season is going, Garrett should have a new label when it’s all said and done: NFL Coach of the Year.

The Cowboys have played 100 games of the Jason Garrett era. While it hasn’t always been easy, Dallas is currently as good as it has been in decades.

The pass rush in Dallas and New England. The run defense in Oakland and Washington. A new injury in Seattle. The NFL’s likely playoff field is full of holes.
If the season ended today, Garrett should win the award in a walk. He lost his starting quarterback and his backup quarterback (that’s right — remember Kellen Moore?) in training camp and opened the season with a fourth-round rookie under center. A Cowboys team that went 4-12 last season rebounded from that August body blow to go 11-1 so far and clinch a playoff spot on the first weekend in December.

“It’s going to be like the old days in this game. It’s great to see this coming back after so many years. It seems like everybody the last couple of weeks has been talking about the Raiders and Chiefs game. That’s the way it should be because those games were something special. It seems like Denver has been the Chiefs’ rival for a long time. But that’s not the way it always was.”

McCoy was with the Panthers from 2000 to 2008, the final two years spent as the passing coordinator and quarterbacks coach. In 2001, he was the wide receivers coach during Steve Smith’s rookie season.

In 2003, he helped Carolina reach the Super Bowl for the first time. He still vacations with former Panthers quarterback Jake Delhomme.

“A lot of the things I do today, I learned in Carolina,’’ McCoy said.

While this is a business trip for McCoy, his wife Kellie and two children (Olivia and Luke) are making the trip with the team so they can visit old friends.

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