Dallas Cowboys

Are fourth down myths about Garrett, Pederson true? The answer could decide NFC East

Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett and Philadelphia Eagles head coach Doug Pederson meet after the game as the Eagles beat the Cowboys 37 to 9 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX, Sunday, Nov. 19, 2017.
Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett and Philadelphia Eagles head coach Doug Pederson meet after the game as the Eagles beat the Cowboys 37 to 9 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX, Sunday, Nov. 19, 2017. mfaulkner@star-telegram.com

Jason Garrett and Doug Pederson both lead teams in the NFC East.

But the two head coaches carry different labels when it comes to ‘going for it’ on fourth down.

Many believe that Garrett is too conservative in those situations.

Pederson’s boldness in those spots earned the Eagles a Super Bowl title last February, so he’s often considered an ‘aggressive’ coach.

And the numbers really do solidify those respective reputations.

Pederson and Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter have gone for it on fourth down over 60 percent of the time.

Conversely, Garrett has gone for it the fifth-fewest among active NFL coaches dating back to 2008. Here’s an excellent chart from the Twitter account of NFL Football Operations that illustrates the entire league over that time period.

According to profootballreference.com, Garrett’s teams have converted 60 percent of their attempts on fourth down during his tenure as the head coach in Dallas.

During his time in Philadelphia, Pederson’s teams have slightly lower conversion rate (55 percent).

But as, the chart indicates those percentages, at least on the surface, are a little bit misleading.

In eight years as the team’s head coach, Garrett’s teams have converted 54 out of 90 attempts on fourth down.

In just three years as head coach of the Eagles, Pederson’s teams have converted 38 out of 69 attempts on fourth down.

Over that exact same span, Garrett’s teams have converted a respectable 24 out of 41 attempts. But the volume of attempts isn’t nearly the same.

And those figures could be a key factor when the two teams meet at AT&T Stadium this coming Sunday.

The game has major implications for the NFC East standings and the conference’s playoff picture overall.

Right now, vegasinsider.com lists the Cowboys as a three-point favorite.



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