Today was the kickoff of the 2011 Scouting Combine, and head coaches around the league took time out to speak to the media. Jason Garrett, our newly-minted coach of the Dallas Cowboys, was no exception. But as is usual with Garrett, specifics were hard to come by.
Garrett likes to speak about process, and goals, and getting better, etc., but he's not too keen on getting into anything that might be newsworthy, or that could be picked up as controversial or interesting by the press. Good. I like his style of speaking to the media, he answers the question, but in the way he wants to answer it, not in the way the press would like him to, or the way we would like if we wanted a juicy read.
For instance, he was asked about Jay Ratliff. Was he in agreement with Rob Ryan that he'd like to keep him at nose tackle instead of moving to defensive end? Typical Garrett response (via the mothership):
"We haven’t gotten into those discussions yet. He’s an awfully good football player. He’s going to play somewhere. He’s an awfully good nose tackle."
'Awfully good' is one of Garrett's verbal tics. Get used to hearing it a lot. But very non-committal on Ratliff's status, and that's as it should be. Until you know what players will be on your roster come training camp (yes, pray for a regular training camp in 2011), you never know exactly how things will shake out.
Another subject that was still a little fuzzy was what happened with Dave Campo and the courtship of Steelers coach Ray Horton to take his job? Garrett makes it plain, if they could have gotten Horton, he would have been the new secondary coach. (From the mothership):
"Really the thought process was about Ray Horton," Garrett told reporters Thursday in Indianapolis, "and just like we did with (new assistant head coach/wide receivers) Jimmy Robinson, we felt like Ray Horton was the kind of guy we wanted to talk to, to see if we could fit him into our organization some way. And they kept winning, so that conversation got delayed, but I played with Ray with the Cowboys here in the ‘90s. He’s been an outstanding coach with Pittsburgh the last seven or eight years and been a big part of what they have done defensively.
"So I was very clear with Camps. I said, ‘You’re going to be here. We want you here. I’m not positive what your role’s going to be right now.’ And then I had a chance to visit with Ray after their season ended, and he had the opportunity to go to Arizona and he took it. We decided we just wanted to be exactly like we were on the back end.
"I have great faith in Dave Campo. He’s been an outstanding coach in this league for a long time and he’s a great person."
New hire Mike Woicik has become an instant folk-hero to us here at BTB. A guy with six rings? That's impressive. And then earlier today OCC posted about his being voted the 2010 Strength Coach of the Year in the NFL.
As you might expect, Jason Garrett is a big fan, too. (Mothership link):
"He's great at what he does," Garrett said. "He's great at helping individual players get better and he's great at structuring an offseason and in-season conditioning program that benefits your football team. He's at the top of his field. He's certainly a winner - six Super Bowl rings in two different organizations. He's an awfully good football coach and I think he's going to help us individually and collectively."
I can't remember a strength coach getting so much ink.
And as for Garrett's overall experience at the combine as head coach versus an offensive coordinator?
"I think more than anything else you are dealing with the whole team now as head coach," Garrett said. "My responsibilities were probably fairly similar in terms of the evaluation. I was involved in all of the offensive meetings when we interviewed the 30 offensive players that we did and now I will be involved with the defensive guys as well.
"It's a very important process," Garrett said. "Spending time at the Senior Bowl, coming up here to Indianapolis. We talked earlier about picking people as coaches, picking people as players is really important. So we try to embrace this process. My scope will be a little wider as the head coach."