Peter King’s exclusive video of Jason Garrett’s opening address to the Dallas Cowboys at the onset of training camp shows the third-year head coach absolutely dominating a room packed with large, muscular men who enjoy hitting things. A press corps accustomed to Garrett’s calculated podium approach saw genuine passion and toughness behind the oft-cited process. They saw a leader in his element – inspiring, demanding, motivating, and in full control. Expert reaction: Who the heck is that guy?
That’s the guy who interviewed for, won, and ultimately turned down head coaching jobs with the Baltimore Ravens and Atlanta Falcons. That’s the guy who calmly put out a 1-7 dumpster fire back in 2010, improbably rescuing a franchise that had collapsed under the weight of its own hubris following the 2009 playoff win. That’s the guy who for the past two years has kept a team focused and competitive through extensive rebuilding, freakishly high injury numbers, and the tragic loss of a teammate.
Reacting to King’s video, the TV genius class seems vaguely surprised that there’s more to Redball than what they see at the press podium. Expert conventional wisdom asserts Garrett is the neutered puppet of Cowboys owner Jerry Jones. That dovetails nicely with expert conventional wisdom on Jerry, which is that he’s a meddling puppet master. No matter what actually happens, the story writes itself.
King’s peek behind the curtain rattled some expert cages and confirmed three things that folks who know Garrett have often commented on: Jason Garrett is Princeton smart, he’s a dynamic presence that fills the room, and this guy absolutely loves the game of football.
This is a blog, right? To hell with it – here’s some reckless speculation Garrett will never confirm, and the geniuses will never think to ask about:
Jason Garrett always wanted to be a walk-around head coach.
Garrett never wanted to call the plays on game day. That’s a Jerry thing. Jerry got fond of that arrangement following the 44-6 season-ending loss to Philadelphia in 2008. He made Wade Phillips take on dual head coaching and coordinator duties, then won the division and a playoff game the next year. Jerry maybe thought he’d stumbled onto something…
So Garrett got saddled with the same arrangement when he took over midseason 2010, and the team went 5-3 with a backup quarterback… If you recall, they were just 10 points away from going 8-0.