Okay, you are being given a fair warning, this thread is about Jason Garrett and why some of you are dead wrong about him, and about to learn why this season.
I get that some people only see results. Nothing really wrong with that. Success is measured by wins and losses. The part that I do not understand about the carping that goes on here is why there is no appreciation for growth.
Forgive me for a second while I go backwards in time to before we hired Jason Garrett. I have said many times that as early as 1994 I hoped he would one day be our Head Coach. I do not deny my agenda, I embrace it.
Do you respect these football guys? Jim Mora Sr., Jimmy Johnson, Norv Turner? Ernie Zampese? Nick Saban? Cam Cameron? Dom Capers? Ozzie Newsome? Rich McKay?
Dating back to 1993 when Jason Garrett made the Cowboys after stints with the Saints, the San Antonio Riders of the WLAF, and the Ottowa Rough Riders of the CFL. His Dad, Jim, was a Scout for the Cowboys and when Jason was coming out of the Ivy League into the NFL his analysis of his own son was that he could be a solid NFL backup. Well, that is exactly what he was.
In 1989 Jim Mora Sr. was Head Coach in New Orleans and he gave Garrett his first opportunity in the NFL. Clearly he saw something he wanted to try and mine.
In 1993 he played for Jimmy and Norv. There is a great story about how Norv wanted to break him of the habit of patting the ball before he threw it. When Norv left for the Redskins Head Coaching job (and by the way, I have never forgiven Jerry for us not having Norv over Barry) in pregame warmups he would always come over to Jason and tell him not to pat the ball. Why do you suppose a man who was his OC for all of one season in the NFL would develop that kind of rapport with a backup QB?
Jimmy Johnson is probably the best critic of the Cowboys in the world. At least he is in my opinion. I rarely disagree with him. One thing I absolutely agree with him on is that Garrett is the right man for the job. Let's not forget that before he ever went into Coaching Garrett went to Miami and picked Jimmy's brain for 3 days and drove him nuts.
He is a student of the game. Honestly is there a better quality? That happens when someone is the son of a an obvious football man. Jim Garrett was an NFL Assistant Coach for many years. He moved on to the College ranks. When he left Columbia University he then Scouted for the Cowboys from 1987 to 2004 when he retired. Think about what your Dad does for a living. Don't you have a pretty fair knowledge of his profession by virtue of being his son or daughter?
Jim Garrett and his wife, Jane, had 8 children. 4 boys and 4 girls. All 10 of them have names that start with the letter J. I tell you that more for trivia than any other reason. All 4 of their sons are involved in football, 3 with the Cowboys as you know. The other as a HS Head Coach. All 3 of those boys played in the NFL as well as college. Those 3 are the youngest of the 8 kids. Jason was number 7. Judd is the youngest.
This is a direct quote form Jason about his father's passion for the game.
"My Dad was always such a positive influence on that (love of the game). A lot of times when you grow up with your Dad being a football coach, the complaint is, he's never around. He works long hours. My response to that would always be, when he's around it's really special. We get to do really special things. And he always was such a great example for us in terms of with how much passion he had for it. It was a great example for me of when you have someone in your life who loves what they do, it really pervaded the entire house and the entire family in such a positive way. It was a great example for us. You want to be passionate about what you are doing in your life and we had that example."
Doesn't it stand to reason that Norv Turner, his OC for only one year, saw this student of the game in Jason? Name me one other player who can tell you stories of their relationship with Norv and his willingness to continue teaching him after only one year. And that isn't even mentioning again that he was a backup.
The Triplets all revere Norv. So does Garrett. It is understandable why three Hall of Fame players would revere the man who honed their skills, but isn't it rare that a career backup would also have that reverence? I tell you it is very rare. Remember, is was Norv who let Jason know he was going to be releasing Laurent Robinson. One season together folks, and Jason was a backup player.
Norv left, and Ernie Zampese came on board. His first year as our OC he made the remark that Jason Garrett was Troy Aikman's personal QB Coach. That is when I was sold. If a player of his stature could capture the attention of a future Hall of Fame Quarterback, I needed to pay attention.
Some are going to hate this. So be it. It made me think of Tom Landry immediately. Tom was the Giants Defensive Coordinator while he still was a player for them. It is a rare gift to be able to coach as a player. Not all are good at it. Apparently Jason Garrett was.
Michael Irvin was known as the hardest worker on the Dallas Cowboys. We all know that. One reason he supports Jason Garrett is that he said it was Garrett who stayed late after practices to throw him more balls.
In 2000 when his contract with the Cowboys was coming to an end Jerry Jones tried to hire Jason to the Coaching Staff. Jason wanted to continue his playing career. While on the Giants he gained the respect of the WR Coach on the Giants, Jimmy Robinson. Robinson left the Super Bowl Champions to come coach with a guy he did not even coach while on the Giants. He saw in Jason Garrett something he wanted to be around. This should speak volumes to the fans here. It really should.
In 2005 and 2006 Nick Saban was the Head Coach of the Miami Dolphins. He gave Jason Garrett his first job as the QB Coach for the Dolphins. In 2007 when he left for the University of Alabama he wanted to take Jason Garrett with him as his OC. Now on this forum we had fans screaming that he was not ready for that kind of job when he was hired here. Nick Saban did not agree.
Saban's OC with the Dolphins was Cam Cameron. He took over as the Head Coach when Saban exited stage left. In 2008 when Jason Garrett was interviewed by Ozzie Newsome to be the Head Coach in Baltimore his plan was to hire Cam Cameron as his OC and Dom Capers as his DC. He had coached with them in Miami, Cameron as his direct boss. Now Cameron was willing to be under Jason. It should speak volumes to you.
Don't forget, it was Dom Capers who almost came here to Dallas as a Defensive Adviser. It should speak volumes.
Ozzie Newsome was blown away by Jason Garrett. He said of him that he was aiming too low in being a Head Coach in the NFL, he should run for President of the United States. Rich McKay was similarly impressed.
It became obvious to everyone in the NFL that Jason was going to be loyal to the Dallas Cowboys. He got a couple more interviews but those were cursory as much as anything else.
Someone asked me if I thought Ozzie regretted his choice of John Harbaugh. I really don't know what that has to do with anything. Harbaugh did hire Cam Cameron as his OC. You have to wonder if Ozzie Newsome was part of that. I think he was. Harbaugh's success is his own and it has been great to this point. Of course Ozzie doesn't regret the choice. That isn't the point and really shouldn't even weigh in anyone's thinking. The weight should be given to what Ozzie and McKay saw in Jason Garrett. Pity that it often isn't.
Fast forward to Jason's arrival as Head Coach. Prior to his arrival we had the softest Training Camp in our History. No hitting. No pads. Walk throughs. Look at the results of Camp Cupcake. I hated that term, now I use it. Shows you how wrong I was.
One day I was listening to Talking Cowboys and a caller talked about how undisciplined Wade and Jason were. Mickey Spagnola and I think Derek Eagleton corrected that caller and said Jason should not be included in that discussion. That if it were up to him there would be a lot more intensity.
Once he arrived was there? Of course there was. Wednesdays became days in pads with hitting. A dress code was enforced. Discipline became a behind closed doors affair. Intensity was picked up. Wins started happening. A culture of change was in place.
As soon as accountability was enacted every Cowboys fan in the world should have been giddy. I get it, wins and losses are all that matter. Let me ask you this question, and please be honest. How do you think wins and losses happen without a change in the direction of the team? It is obvious to these eyes that there has been a change in direction. This should thrill you.
Anyone who expects immediate results without true sustained growth is delusional. It takes time to grow into something that is going to be a culture change. If you are not excited by the obvious culture change happening at Valley Ranch then I suggest your expectations are unreasonable.
No matter who was going to be the Head Coach to come in here and restore order it was going to be by implementing the things this Head Coach is. Injuries are not excuse. Backups need to be ready to take advantage of their opportunities. Guys are showing up and working. Players are on board across the spectrum of this team. So should we as fans be.
Have there been growing pains? Of course. If you didn't expect them then you are a fool. I can't speak for everybody but personally, I am glad we have gone through them. I don't believe a team actually grows without overcoming adversity. I believe when things come easy they get taken for granted.
Jason Garrett says it all the time, it is a process. He is not wrong. If you aren't giddy about what is being built here, you are. Yes, again I do have a Pro-Jason Garrett agenda. I do not deny this, I embrace it. I embrace it for the simple fact that he is doing what every Head Coach does who becomes great. He is building the team into his vision of what they are.
We are three months and two days from kickoff of the 2012 season. If you aren't already on the Jason Garrett bandwagon consider yourself left behind and choking on the exhaust fumes. Jumping on it after we begin to succeed is nothing more than fair weather fandom. If that's what you want, so be it. I've never admired a straggler. I wouldn't wear that with a gun to my head.
There are plenty of evidences in front of us to see what could happen here. If you take nothing from this beyond the slew of football guys who believe in this guy, not counting his current team, at least take note of who they are and what they represent in the History of the NFL. At least that can be a start.
Once again, I get it, wins and losses are all you care about. Believing they happen without a culture change like we are seeing is folly. In the History of the NFL there has never been a Head Coach with long term success who didn't build the way Jason Garrett is building. We are literally seeing the same process that Jimmy Johnson brought here. Yeah, I went there. Jimmy approached it differently, but he was focused on details. Just like Bill Parcells, who also approached it differently. The biggest difference is that Garrett does not appear to be a 4 or 5 year guy for the job. He's invested long term. Just like Tom Landry, who by the way, was details focused.
No stragglers allowed.