I had a chance to talk to one our favorite football coaches again this morning. Jimmy Johnson was promoting the Crown Royal Jimmy Bowl, a contest where you can win a chance to be coached up by the coach at Cowboys Stadium. It includes an all-expense paid trip to Dallas and you can bring four friends along. Sounds pretty good (more details at the bottom of the post).
Since I was talking to a legendary coach, Part I of our interview focused squarely on the coaching change in Dallas, and Jason Garrett's future. Later today, I'll post Part II which talks more about the team and players, and contains what Jimmy would do when faced with the inevitable question of whether to insert Tony Romo into the lineup later this year. You don't want to miss that.
But for now, let's concentrate on Jason Garrett and the coaching change.
Blogging The Boys: Since we last talked Coach, we have a little different Dallas Cowboys team?
Jimmy Johnson: Jason Garrett has done a nice job. He's jumped in there and established a little bit of discipline. It's kind of funny, because he said he's going to make sure they're on time, make sure they're hustling in practice and not sitting on coolers. It just goes to show you, what had they been doing prior to this? I think that team really got soft, got soft physically and got soft mentally, so Jason understands what they need to do there in Dallas and he's taken charge.
BTB: What do you think happened to this team under Wade Phillips?
JJ: When you get into a losing streak like they did, I think a lot of individuals starting pointing fingers and saying here's the problem, and no one pointed the finger back at themselves. No one took the responsibility to get things corrected themselves, rather than sitting around and saying we need this and we need that, you know, it's poor me, poor me. They had a little bit of a pity party for a while.
BTB: How do you go about getting your team out of a losing streak like they were on? Is there anything different Wade Phillips could have done?
JJ: There's only one way to correct the problem and that's hard work. The more problems you had, the harder you need to work. It's a very simple solution.
BTB: You know Jason Garrett. What kind of coach is he going to be?
JJ: Jason is highly organized, very intelligent. He understands what he needs to do. The thing I like about Jason, you know he came to the house here a couple of years ago, and spent time talking about what he needed to do to improve, to become a head coach in the NFL. So he has prepared himself for this opportunity. That's the thing I like about him.
BTB: What's your guess, will Jason Garrett be the Cowboys coach in 2011? (assuming there's labor peace).
JJ: I think Jerry Jones really wants him to be the head coach, so he's 100% in his corner. So he's going to be given every opportunity to be the head coach. I think that if he can continue with the progress he's already shown in the first couple of games, I think there's a very good chance he could be the coach.
BTB: When Jerry brought Jason on, he talked about tangible results. Do you think Jason has to win a certain amount of games, or can he just show progress and still lose some, given the Cowboys tough schedule coming up?
JJ: Obviously wins are a big part of it. You can't get around that, but he's already got a couple of wins. If he continues to make improvement, and he shows improvement on the field, and the discipline on the field, plus a couple more wins I think he can get the job.
BTB: What will be the challenge for Garrett in dealing with the team when they finally lose a game?
JJ: As long as you stay the course, as long as you keep the discipline, as long as you continue working on correcting mistakes, it doesn't make a difference if you win or lose the game, you're going to get better. As long as the team gets better it will be evident on the field.
BTB: If you had to pick someone other than Jason Garrett who you think could be the Cowboys coach in 2011, who would it be?
JJ: I wouldn't even speculate on that. I think right now Jason Garrett's the guy, if it ever comes to the point where Jason is not the guy, then we would go from there, but I wouldn't speculate at this time.
BTB: Without talking about specific candidates, do you think Jerry is more likely to go with a veteran NFL coach, or would he take a chance on some young assistant or hot college coach?
JJ: (Laughs) I think the only person who knows that is Jerry Jones, so who knows?
Crown Royal, with the help of Jimmy Johnson, will be on a search for fans with a sheer determination and passion for winning and celebrating responsibly. The two lucky winners will each bring four of their friends on an all-expenses-paid trip to Dallas. Each team will receive a VIP tour of the stadium, meet the world-renowned cheerleaders, enjoy a celebratory meal and watch footage of their game on the Jumbotron.
Entries will be accepted through Nov. 30, 2010. For official contest rules and regulations, adult consumers can visit CrownRoyal.com/Football.