Reporting Mike Fisher
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IRVING (105.3 THE FAN) – A Jason Garrett press-conference quote will never be featured in a TV beer commercial.
Remember Jim Mora? “Playoffs? Don’t talk about playoffs? You kiddin’ me?’’
Remember Mike Dikta? “Living in the past is for cowards.’’
Remember Herm Edwards? “You play to win the game!’’
Remember Denny Green? “They are who we thought they were!’’
This week, after a 34-18 drubbing at the hands of the visiting Bears, the professorial Garrett is refusing to submit to Dallas Cowboys followers who believe that his team might benefit from a public rant, a raving tantrum, or, as I put it in my question to him, a press conference in which he “throws something, yells a cussword and punches something.’’
“I think different coaches have different personalities,” Garrett responded. “One of the things I’ve learned a long time ago, really in life, as a player and certainly as a coach, is you have to be who you are. A lot of different coaches get it done in a lot of different ways. A lot of great coaches in all sports, you see a variety of personalities.
“You see guys who are really quiet, guys who are cerebral, you see guys who are ranting and raving all the time and throwing stuff at officials. There’s a whole gamut of guys and people have won a lot of different ways. The one thing I would say is that I can’t imagine any of those guys won trying to be somebody else and someone that they’re not.”
Garrett doesn’t have a dishonest or disingenuous bone in his body. He’s been mentored by none other than Jimmy Johnson, so he understands and respects fiery and even theatrical styles … if they are genuine.
Now, the offense he’s in charge of running is as poor as there is in the NFL, and is the reason Dallas isn’t better than 2-2. If “RedBall’’ is an X-and-O’s guy – and he is – then somebody at Valley Ranch is having a problem with their alphabet.
And in private, Garrett – who I believe can motivate and inspire and lead with cool sincerity, Ivy League intellect and quiet strength — says he is fully capable of expressing his dissatisfaction by any means necessary.
“I think anybody who knows me, coaches and players on our football team, knows the passion and intensity I have for this game, and for coaching and teaching, trying to get this team right,” Garrett said. “If you’re around these walls, in these meetings, around these practice fields and together in an intimate setting on this football team, I think they understand my intensity. Jumping up and down on the sidelines is not really my personality, but certainly intensity and passion for the game is and for trying to get this team right.”
I do know Jason Garrett. I do know that his genuineness is a power and that his passion is tangible – as snooze-worthy as some think his press conferences to be. I know his intelligence and authority at Valley Ranch causes players to “fear’’ him, even though he is a kind and thoughtful person with an open-door policy.
If you want to hear him detail factually the play-by-play of a game, he can recall it all in savant fashion. As it relates to the loss to Chicago, for example, he will frankly explain Dez Bryant’s bad read that caused an interception, or Mo Claiborne’s defensive misunderstanding that allowed a touchdown, or the simplification of O-line calls that eliminated the false-start bugaboo.
Is that boring? Sorry. But that’s football. It’s X’s. It’s O’s. It’s strategy and teaching. It’s performance and execution. It’s about physicality, too. But that’s for the athletes. Physicality of coaches toward microphones and media members isn’t entirely necessary.
“They’re not radical things,” Garrett said of what he preaches and teaches. “It’s not like, ‘Hey guys, we got this new idea. We have this silver bullet.’’
Wait. Did he say “silver bullet’’?
There may be a Jason Garrett beer commercial here yet.
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