The most important statistic in the NFL, other than points, is turnovers. Jason Garrett has stressed that constantly since taking over as the Cowboys’ head coach.
It’s logical to believe that the ability to create turnovers will be heavily considered in Garrett’s search for a defensive coordinator.
That search so far includes three known coaches with experience as NFL defensive coordinators. Vic Fangio, Greg Manusky and Paul Pasqualoni all have mixed results in the turnover department.
Fangio’s Carolina defense ranked fifth in the league in turnovers each of his first two seasons as a coordinator, creating a combined 75 takeaways in 1995 and 1996. But his defenses ranked in the top 10 in turnovers only once in his other nine seasons as a coordinator, which included stints in Carolina through 1998, in Indianapolis from 1999 to 2001 and in Houston for the Texans’ first four seasons from 2002 to 2005. Those defenses ranked in the NFL’s bottom third in turnovers seven times, including dead last during Fangio and Dom Capers’ last season in Houston.
Manusky’s defenses ranked in the bottom five in turnovers in three of his four seasons as San Francisco’s coordinator. The 49ers had a turnover spike in 2009, when they forced 33, tied for the fifth most in the league.
Pasqualoni has the least NFL defensive coordinator experience of the trio with two and a half seasons. The Dolphins tied for fifth in the league with 30 turnovers forced in 2008 then dropped all the way down to tied for 27th with 21 the next season. Pasqualoni couldn’t fix many of the flaws with the Cowboys defense he took over in midseason, but he did figure out a way to force 20 turnovers in eight games, a rate that would have led the league.